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NEW GROUND FOR DIVORCE FOR WOMEN IN INDIA

BANGALORE: If you’re sentenced to life imprisonment, it’s possible you can’t remain married. Karnataka high court has rejected the miscellaneous first appeal (MFA) filed by a husband serving a life sentence in a murder case.

“When the appellant is convicted for life, even the grounds of desertion have to be taken into account legally because he cannot live with the wife and give her conjugal happiness. For the rest of her life, for no fault of hers, she cannot be made to suffer if the marriage is allowed even though the husband is convicted for life,” the division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath observed last week while rejecting the appeal filed by Ganesha, a resident of Malladihalli in Chitradurga and currently lodged in Central Prison, Bellary.

He had challenged the July 18, 2011 order of the family court in Shimoga in allowing the petition filed by his wife, Vijaya, seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.

Ganesha, an instructor at a government college in Chitradurga’s BG Kere, married Vijaya on May 28, 1999 in Shimoga. They lived for six months at Malladihalli. Then, she came to know her husband was facing murder and assault charges in a Chitradurga court. She informed her parents about it. Ganesha’s family members claimed he was innocent, and the case had been foisted on him and he’d be acquitted.

In the meantime, the couple had a child. Ganesha started allegedly ill-treating his wife. Ganesh was convicted by the sessions court in the murder case in November 2000. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. The state appealed and the sentence was enhanced to life imprisonment. During the bail period when the trial was going on, Ganesha would allegedly assault his wife. The Supreme Court confirmed the life term.

Vijaya moved family court seeking a divorce. The family court upheld her claim on the grounds of cruelty, although the desertion charge was rejected.

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