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Denis Farrell/AP

Indian court: Insisting on using a condom is not grounds for divorce

Nor is an ability to cook or fold clothes…

THE HIGH COURT in the Indian city of Mumbai has told a 30-year-old man that his wife’s insistence that he use a condom is not viable grounds for divorce.

The man had appealed to the High Court after a lower family court dismissed his application for divorce, on the grounds that he did not wish to follow his wife’s demands that he wear a condom.

The husband, named by the Indian-based Financial Express as Ramesh Shenoy, said he had been subjected to cruelty by his wife after she had refused to consummate their marriage while on honeymoon unless they used contraception.

Shenoy had also sought to divorce after claiming his wife had exhibited “cruelty” by not being religious, by not knowing how to cook, or how to fold clothes. The court rejected each of his claims.

“A wife is not a slave,” one judge remarked. “She is considered as Ardhangini [a man's 'better half']. Her right of freedom of speech cannot be taken away.

“If we construe these as cruelty, then no marriage will be safe.”

Another said the wife’s insistence on using contraception was entirely her own prerogative, saying she had simply wanted to ensure that the couple’s children not be born before they had enough money to provide for it.

“It is a mutual decision and a husband can not insist,” the judge commented.

The court did remark that perhaps Preeti should not have married Ramesh, but conceded that she may have felt pressured due to Indian family customs where younger children are generally forbidden from marrying until older siblings have already been wed.

Ramesh and Preeti had moved in together within four months of their marriage in February 2007, the BBC said, adding that their relationship was already strained by the time they began sharing a home.

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