Our courts not only excel in their interpretation of the law but also in their knowledge of the scriptures. Often the two coalesce into one. During a recent hearing, the Bombay high court implored a woman whose husband's divorce plea had been dismissed that she should put her computer training on hold and join him in Port Blair where he is posted. "When Sita could join Ram in vanvas, then why can't you go?" asked the learned court.
We wonder if this was the right method of persuasion. What if the poor woman complies, goes off to Port Blair only to find that she has to undergo some sort of agni-pariksha for her initial defiance. This is the judicial version of the great Indian adjustment mantra. A survey some time ago found that many judges in the lower courts felt it was perfectly justified for a man to administer a few slaps to his wife if, say, she does not cook his dinner properly. Perhaps, this is in keeping with the Biblical injunction of turning the other cheek. When it comes to property disputes between spouses, perhaps the courts might keep in mind yet another Biblical saying, "The meek shall inherit the earth." We know nothing of the sort happens in real life and the meek will be lucky to get away with their lives if they try to assert their rights over the earth.
We look forward to the day when the courts will exhort men to adjust to their wives. For many women, this would mean that men would not be able to come home from work and slump in front of the television and expect a hot meal. It could mean that the man will stay at home and look after the children while the woman goes out for a night on the town. That he would tell his mother that owing to a sudden outbreak of termites, she cannot park herself in his home for the next few years. Are we getting ahead of ourselves here? Sorry, like Sita we will try and make ourselves as inconspicuous as possible lest the wrath of the courts fall on us.