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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Soap operas prompt India divorce

Couple arguing
The couple had daily fights, the court heard

An Indian woman was granted a divorce on the grounds that her husband was cruel to stop her watching soap operas.

The judge ruled that "not allowing the spouse to watch TV serials amounted to cruelty" and was grounds for divorce. The husband has lodged an appeal.

The couple had been married for eight years and have a daughter. They began fighting in 2005, the court heard.

Among other complaints, the woman said her husband had insulted her, refused to have sex with her and spat at her.

The couple's divorce came through in August, but details only emerged when the husband's appeal was heard in the Mumbai (Bombay) High Court on Monday.

'Flimsy'

The original family court order was issued in the western city of Pune.

"From February 2005, the husband started picking up quarrels with the wife almost every day on the ground that she was seeing Hindi serials on TV channels," Judge MG Kulkarni said.

"The husband was not allowing the wife to see programmes on TV as per her choice."

The woman, an accountant, was granted custody of the couple's six-year-old daughter. Her husband, a software engineer, was granted access of two hours a week.

The husband's legal team argued there was no evidence for his wife's allegations.

His lawyer, Amit Karkhane, told the BBC the family court order was "preposterous".

"It's given on very flimsy grounds," he said. "Such an order is detrimental to society. It's not good for the larger interest of society."

On Monday, two high court judges in Mumbai told the couple to seek conciliation. The judges said an agreement to divorce by mutual consent would be in the best interests of everyone, including their daughter.

The next hearing is due on 23 November, the Daily News and Analysis newspaper said.



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