Voices Monday, June 16, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | June 16, 2014 | 6.09 pm IST Courts worldwide are widely respected as institutions that impart justice. Over the last few years, several landmark judgments have been made in India, including the recognition of the third gender and the Supreme Court’s rejection of a patent plea by Swiss drug-maker Novartis AG, for cancer drug Glivec, which would make cancer drugs more affordable. However, amidst these crucial judgments on important issues, courts from across the country have also come up with verdicts on lesser-talked-of-issues that are nothing short of surprising. Here is a list of some judgments and court opinions made in some cases that might leave you speechless. You get to rank them in order! Denial of sex amounts to cruelty According to a Delhi High Court ruling in 2012, if either of the spouses wilfully declines to have sex, it amounts to cruelty and can be grounds for divorce. This judgment was passed in favour of a husband bound in a “sex-starved marriage”, whose wife refused to have sex with him on the very night of their marriage and also in the following five months. “Sex is the foundation of marriage and marriage without sex is anathema”, ruled Justice Gambhir. Read more: Denial of sex after marriage amounts to cruelty Customary payments and gifts do not amount to dowry In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that demanding money or gifts from a married woman’s parents for ceremonies such as the birth of her child does not amount to dowry. And dowry under the Indian law is a punishable offence. Customary payments, however, do not make the cut. So now all those tales of post-marriage torture of women asked to bring more from their 'maikaa' should be just those women exaggerating. Grow up, ladies! Read more: Customary payments, gifts not dowry: SC Son of a wh**e is not obscene This case would make you think that abusing just got easier, and sort of legal. The Kerala High Court recently ruled in favour of one Latheef from Palakkad who had called a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation employee “pulayadi mone“ or `son of a wh**e in public. According to Section 294 of Indian Penal Code, anyone who acts obscenely in public can be fined or imprisoned for up to three months or both. In this particular case, the court said that the abuse did not meet the level of obscenity needed for punishment. However, Latheef was sent to 15 days of rigorous imprisonment initially by a magistrate court. Interestingly, the incident occurred in June 1998, and the High Court judgment was passed in June 2014. Read more: HC says `Son of a wh**e' not obscene Forced sex in marriage not rape Under Indian law, a husband having forcible sexual intercourse with his wife does not amount to rape. This judgment was passed twice in the last two months by Delhi courts. In both the cases, the accused were acquitted. A report in Business Standard records as one of the courts saying "The prosecutrix and the accused were legally wedded husband and wife from July 20, 2012 and the physical relations between the two thereafter, even if against the consent of the prosecutrix, do not tantamount to offence of rape." Read more: Court: Forced sex in marriage not rape Read more: Forced sex between married couple not rape: Court Most hospitals have become shops When Marol's Seven Hills Hospital refused to release a patient because his bills hadn't been cleared, the Bombay High court said that most hospitals had become shops. The court was hearing a petition by a man whose brother was denied permission to be discharged, when it was learned that the patient could not pay the medical bills.Hearing the petition, Justice Kanade said: “Most hospitals have become shops. Find out whether hospitals and dispensaries have any legal right to detain patients who fail to pay their dues.” Saying this, the court directed the state government to find out whether hospitals could lawfully detain patients who were unable to pay their bills. Read more here: â€˜Most hospitals in city, state run like shops’