May 24, 2007

Law To The Rescue ! Live In Relationships Gain Recognition.

Kaveeta Kaul

In what can be termed as a momentous decision by an Indian Court a woman has been granted compensation for the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her live in partner who used her on the promise of marriage and then dumped her unceremoniously , threatening her with his ‘high connections’ if she so much as uttered a word in protest.

Sheeba Chowdhry the lady in question and her partner Amitava Mukherjee decided to live together in Bangkok after the latter even went so far as meeting up with her father and promising marriage.

As is wont to occur, an abortion and several years later( in an interview she mentioned the abortion to have taken place three years ago) the man recants from his obligations, spouting one excuse after another in an effort to keep the relationship going but avoiding the issue of marriage. It is later brought to the notice of Sheeba that this ‘ gentleman’ was already married !

Accusations, counter accusations and threats followed with Sheeba now wanting to bring to book her abuser. The police dily dallied on taking in a complaint, as Mukherjee was in a senior position ( diplomatic?).The matter was taken to the courts where a landmark judgement pronounced that Mukherjee had emotionally violated Sheeba and he had to pay her Rs 1.5 lakhs in compensation.

The amount is not the point of focus here.. its painfully paltry a sum.

What is pertinent here is the path breaking stance by the courts where the connotation and denotation of ‘violence’ has transcended that what is ordinarily viewed as. ‘Emotional abuse ‘ is now going to come within the ambit of violence. Do scars of physical violence alone spell the torture a woman may have been subjected to? Emotionally abusing, as in this case, betraying the trust, dishonoring a commitment and manipulating emotions can be disastrous to the health and well being of any ‘individual’…and that is ‘violence’ as well.

Reflecting the altered scenario as we witness today, the courts have responded by taking due cognisance of a live in an alternative to marriage. Now the ramifications of this can be far reaching. Will this invite the populace to adopting it in in greater numbers?

On another level, marriage is a bond which has been granted a locus standi for reasons too obvious to deserve enumeration. Therefore a couple who decides to optionally live together is unwittingly or morally doing so with a similar purpose as that of two who wed, albeit without a social announcement. Do rules then really have to be different?

Disloyalty, abuse, torture, adultery apply to a relationship imho, not a piece of paper.

This does not in any way reflect on my views on the sanctity of marriage. It is a contract which has to be respected and essayed only after serious deliberations . But for those adults who wish to instead involve themselves in a live in arrangement, then manipulations, lies, deceit, harassment and torture cannot be overlooked/logicalised/rationalised/dissed only because ‘its not a marriage.. so I dont owe her anything…not even a shred of decency”.

Of course going by the present situation, being in a marriage is no guarantee either.. so where is the difference?

Or should we holler ” Marriage is dead…Long Live Holy Matrimony”!!

Video clipping of interview with Sheeba ChowdhryΒ 


  1. I too saw her interview. But the thing is that she seemed a mature woman how could she fall for his lies? And so many years? its not clear whether he confessed to her that he was married or not..and she also said things about receiving threats from his wife. Such a dirty affair. But frankly I am not against live in arrangement.. if they can dump us we can dump them too. But divorce is such a jhanjhat. i know.. kids and all that.. but slowly that wont be a bother I think . One parent families will be all over the place as in the west.

    Comment by Neha — May 24, 2007 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  2. The war of the genders continues. Males are in BIG trouble..

    Comment by Jatin Lall — May 24, 2007 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  3. Say no to ‘infidelity’

    Comment by Aneesh — May 25, 2007 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  4. Marriage is meant to be the destination..ideally, not a beginning. If u ask me I’d like to live in with my partner get to acclimatise (!) and then see if it can work out. But what this dude did was criminal by any dont dupe your discuss and reason out.

    Comment by double barrel — May 25, 2007 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  5. kahaani puri filmy hai…..Honestly i thought these things happened only in movies and balaji serials!!!!
    Just what was this guy thinking …that he can actually get away with this. Maybe he was becoz women generally dont take such drastic steps to save embarasment and all that so he felt that this is a live in so she cant go around telling the world. Im glad she did.. good for her.

    Comment by puja — May 25, 2007 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  6. I am single. I don’t know either of the subjects in this thread. I believe in working towards making the world less war hungry. Perhaps I should say nothing on this issue.

    Should I ? Should I not ? Well, the thing is that I have five minutes πŸ™‚ hence here is my two cents.

    A lot of Gals & Guys have commitment phobias. Maybe he intended to marry but then along the way his fears took over. Maybe living with her made him realize that she was not the “one”.

    Why is it that we look for the obvious answer. Why is it that we always grab for the low lying fruits and never reach higher ?

    There exists a possibility that the guy in this thread “ran” away from his first wife, thanking the good lord that he came out of it alive. Some marriages are a torture for men too. Women blaber, women cry, men just suffer in silence, because society does not allow us to talk of our pains. Maybe if he had consulted someone (like women always do) he would found a better approach.

    I subscribe to the theory that we all have dark shadows. Men and women both have dark shadows. Everyone regardless of nationalities and religions have dark shadows. On a daily basis we struggle to minimize that shadow. Hence one size, one judgment does not fit all and in all circumstances. We have to look at things on a case by case basis, examine all the facts (real and imaginary). Perhaps the guy in this thread is a scum bag, but I cannot judge that easily. I want to know what lies beyond the superficial headlines.

    Take Care.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 25, 2007 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  7. S.K you have not read the details.

    ‘Commitment phobia”!! The guy was married earlier and was into his second relationship after having a closed door ceremony with Sheeba. Marriage is not caramel custard that you decide whether or not you relish it and after having a taste of it decide ‘its not for me’.Yours was a typical male response.He is over 6o yrs of age as reported on the news channels. Dont you think its high time he grew up and shouldered his responsibilities?

    Comment by Neha — May 25, 2007 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

  8. Shaan Khan …Hypothetical analysis =a two way street. Whats good for the goose is nectar for the gander buddy! Reverse situations actively πŸ™‚

    Comment by double barrel — May 25, 2007 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  9. I agree that it blatantly appears that this man is a very bad apple. I also agree that generally one should shoulder one’s responsibilities. We have no disagreement on this. Perhaps where we differ is such news/stories make me ask myself what happened here. I try to construct all possible scenarios. To a stranger I will more or less give him seventy benefits of the doubt. I rather see 9 crooks go free rather than see one innocent person penalized. All of this does not mean that I think this guy is innocent (please read my post again).

    Regarding marriage, for a while I was pretty sure that live in relationship is a sane way forward (toward marriage). But Jhumapa Lahiri’s “Namesake” (and other such news/stories)has made me question that. I am not that sure anymore.

    So let me ask you, where do we draw the line. I guess once married, one is committed. But before that, where do we draw the line ? How far can one safely travel in pursuit of testing compatibility. Can one kick the tires ? Take a test drive ? where do you think we are (with all out knowledge and experience) on on this issue ?

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 25, 2007 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  10. DB

    Please understand, I think aloud. I provoke. I am asking.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 25, 2007 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  11. Hey guys.. I see this spiralling into another level..

    And its not about guys n gals.. there is jatin, Aneesh and double barrel as well as opposed to our nay sayer Shaan.

    One can go on endlessly trying to convey a point Shaan. But I will try to make it this help me God!

    a) I do not believe in knee jerk reactions to screaming headlines. There has to be an alternate source of information. In this case it was a rather protracted interview with one of the partners in question, namely the woman. yes, the statement of the man is pending, but in view of the fact that the courts , who rarely rule in favour of women have done so, speaks a billion words on how he might have tried to turn the tide in his favour, but lost. Having said that I will welcome his point of view for a 360 degree perspective, if he chances on this blog.

    b) It is not about a broken relationship. A marriage/relationship going awry is as common as the common cold..excuse the pedantics.. It kinda sets me rolling. This is about deceit and disloyalty. Nobody ought to find excuses to excuse that..and especially not with ‘ men suffer in silence’. He was not in a mood to suffer at all.

    c) I hear you. What you are trying to extrapolate is on the fact that often there is more than meets the eye, underlying causes, etc. That is not the contention here. Like d.b. said hypothesis can catapult into various situations, depending on the perspective.

    d) In fact this example was needed to prove the adjunct.. that of the changing social scenario in India vis a vis courts and live in relationships.. which was the main thrust of my post…coupled with the new interpretation of ‘violence’..believe me it is a landmark judgement. Either way. As an Indian, not just an Indian woman, I felt the need to speak of it.

    And shaan perhaps you have no idea what you have done.. soon there will be a whole descent on this post I suspect from… I dare not mention.. for fear of attracting them just by mere thought.. but they are gonna love you Shaan..and you my friend will have to bear the onus of dealing with them πŸ™‚ I will be there cheering from the sidelines..Give it a few days till this post reaches the search engines..Boy arent we in for a ride! This seeming all too alien.. Patience..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 25, 2007 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  12. Shaan both your posts came in while I was typing.. So consider this a response to your first comment.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 25, 2007 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

  13. Kav

    Are you sure there was no “Nain Lad Gai Re Toh Munwa Ma Kassak Hoi..” going on also between the Girl and someone else which prompted the guy to take a step backwards.

    Guys when caught with their hand in the cookie jar always end up looking like deers caught in head lights. While Gals will always process their innocence to death

    Clearly I want to know more.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 25, 2007 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  14. Ha ha..Or maybe there was a ‘Cheeni kum’ clandestine happening with our Mr. Bond !

    We cant possibly be privy to these details I guess.. have to make do with what is offered. In fact I went tried to unearth some more on it even before I began to write the blog..nothing forthcoming..but like I said probably we will..soon!!

    BTW.. just for your ears… the first report on Cheeni Kum says Ab is delightful :)Movie does not work on the whole tho’ I ‘d rather comment on it post viewing.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 25, 2007 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  15. I just got an SMS from a bollywood bud (who is more into action movies these days) who said that SOAL was another wrong choice by you know who. Clout and political capital has to be used wisely. This is the “problem” that people also had with a certain Khan who briefly forgot that you don’t squander hard earned capital on artistic larks.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — May 25, 2007 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  16. Hmmm..anyways these are ‘must see’s ‘ ..but time is a major deterrent..mebe soon. There is no doubting the clout, political and ‘other’wise..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 25, 2007 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  17. …. forgive them lord.. for they know not why they sin.. sayeth jesus πŸ™‚
    now i aint much of a religious freak but then i pray for thee.. fro people who have just managed to size up marriage in the lite of 21st century IDEALS

    Comment by saptarshi — May 25, 2007 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  18. …. forgive them lord.. for they know not why they sin.. sayeth jesus πŸ™‚

    now i aint much of a religious freak but then i pray for thee.. for people who have just managed to size up marriage in the lite of 21st century ‘service manual’
    there is a warranty n guarantee period n then u have the repair n service sessions- even parts/full replacements!! man… its as simple as selling an automobile!!

    sachiniti… u say, marriage is a contract… though its a positive windvane.. still is it a contract? platonic? carnal? financial/social need driven set piece movement? is it a goal to be achieved in life? and then… to be bought out under the sunshine n moon shine with the ‘nuances’!! top it off with sum wig-headed law-monger weighing out a price, a sum for the ills!! tatz it huh?

    would it lead to more such pay n lay i dunno, wud it become a ticket to the emotional disneyland also i dunno… coz i believe its just an individualz aspect n we have just abt let the influences n pressures of social collective to hurt this soft spot.

    i din get the point.. the sarcasm.. would it do more evil than gud.. would it really give limelite or footage to emotional abuse.. as if we aint have enuf.. or is it that… lifez like that n turn-the-page to dayz of yore shud be avoided!???

    its bliss.. its love.. its understanding n there we have injected man/woman/independence/liberty/rights/limits… everything to make it a swiss-knife where… its multi-purpose πŸ™‚ therefore… its crude n sad that now even emotions have been quantified with a tag- now do they have discount schemes.. buy one get one free.. or even seasonal rates!!! jesus… man!! even u had wedlock/un-wedlock complicationz πŸ™‚ huh… cant blame his children now πŸ™‚

    Comment by saptarshi — May 25, 2007 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  19. Sachiniti sends fervent prayers for wisdom to descend into the hearts and minds of those who see but dont perceive, hear but dont listen read but dont assimilate…sigh. Carefully chosen words then blown to pieces and ripped into a million shreds to end up unintelligible, flung miles away on rocks of dense energy..mishapen from their original image.

    A relationship between two people is nothing but a memory of words, unspoken and spoken if not cocooned within the soul.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 25, 2007 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  20. Live in relationships are here to stay!! Hail Mary!!

    Those who wish to blinker themselves may shade themselves for eternity without as much as causing a pinhole difference in the scheme of things.Love rules the world..not marriage!!

    Comment by Jatin Lall — May 26, 2007 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  21. Was this meant to be a debate on marriage vs live in??!! Not what i understood of it. To me it looked like a thumbs up for emotional well being as a point of importance in ANY relationship..

    Saptarishi dude u flying off the handle on something that waassnt there..its like Bush looking for Osama in Iraq!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by double barrel — May 26, 2007 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  22. db that was funny. But Sapt wasnt flying off the handle , he perhaps skimmed thru and misunderstood the reference to marriage.. but he’s a great guy πŸ™‚

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 26, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  23. hey was up I love your site and I think its cool, it realy hows your personality. I just created a site If you would Like to check it out its at

    Comment by Celestine — May 26, 2007 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  24. Thanks Celestine..

    I will drop by..


    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 27, 2007 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  25. Sheeba Chowdhry and Amitava Mukherjee’s live-in break up case is indeed a historical landmark judgement in favour of women- I hate to call ‘weaker sex’ or the ‘fair sex’. With all due respect to the woman who claims to have been wronged by her colleague who is much senior to her in every respect. Now there are two angles to this whole affair.
    a) i feel as a matured and educated woman she should have used her mind. When matrimonial committments are not honoured what to say of live in promises. One should be mentally prepared for the worst. In a relationship within our outside marriage it’s the bond between two individuals. Yes if there has been physical abuse or someother kind of torture then one should protest, but i somehow dont see enough logic in protesting against emotional ‘abuse’ if i may say so. what role does the law play here? I find the whole thing quite a ‘dirty’ affair as Neha in the beginning has rightly called it.As educated women we have to be careful and if we are ready to take the risk of treading on untrodden paths then we must be prepared to tackle the jeopardy as well. Ultimately i’ll say that they were not children. Moreso Sheeba Chowdhry should have also felt that we are still Indians and women are always the ones who bear the brunt of disgrace. True, our support is with her but what of it? She has to live in this society itself for the rest of her life and in this orthodox and hypocrit setting nobody blames the man. We are the unfortunate ones who suffer finally. Therefore there is no point being vindictive and celebrating the triumph of justice being met out, it’s a lesson for the other women to be more cautious and expect bare minimum as dividents from relationships and invest your emotions prudently so that tomorrow if the whole thing crashes you have also not lost much…
    b) secondly a word of request for the so called self appointed moral custodians of indian society- wake up for times are a changing…let the hypocrites learn to appreciate the changing world order also. Instead of blaming women and casting aspersions on their character even if she is just involved in a simple friendship with a guy, they should know that there are worse things happening all around. There is no point criticizing endlessly- either accept or ignore!!!


    Comment by Virgo — June 6, 2007 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  26. Law To The Rescue ! Live In Relationships Gain Recognition.

    In what can be termed as a momentous decision by an Indian Court a woman has been granted compensation for the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her live in partner who used her on the promise of marriage and then dumped her unceremoniously …

    Trackback by Anonymous — June 7, 2007 @ 12:55 am | Reply

  27. Virgo i dont agree with you when you say that ’emotional abuse’ isnt worth fighting for. There are more suicides because of emotional torture. As women feelings play an important part..if a man is continuously making you feel inadequate or cheating on you, or failed to honor his promise it can ruin a woman. How can she survive in this atmosphere? Physical abuse scars can be seen but emotionally abusing a woman keeps her soul scarred for life and leads to various psychosomatic diseases. Its high time the courts realised that if you dont beat a woman does not mean its not torture!

    Comment by Neha — June 7, 2007 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  28. Neha I understand what you feel and have so beautifully expressed about protecting even the sentimental and emotional aspect of an affair so that nobody’s feelings are hurt or played with. I know you are upholding he cause of a woman only but I took the liberty of broadening the perspective and including even men as far as cheating on feelings are concerned. True, it’s criminal toying with a person’s loyalty and love but tell me can something as sensitive and delicate as love and committment be imposed on someone? But then if one is looking only for financial compensation for the emotional damage done then taking recourse to legal action is the answer.However I still continue to feel that whatever amount may be granted by law it is not and cannot be equivalent to the refined feelings of a person.These are two diametrically opposite things altogether- money and emotions. What I feel is a woman(Now I am talking of a woman only)can knock the doors of law only when she has responsibilities of children on her shoulders and she cannot afford to bear the financial load all by herself. Then ofcourse if the man is acting funny and refuses to compensate her for the pain he has inflicted on her, then he should be dragged to the court and he better pay a good amount to ensure that the children and the woman in case she is uneducated or umemployed do not suffer in the absence of his support.
    Having said this, all what I mean is that compensation from the man should depend on the merit of a case else it is futile. In this Sheeba Chowdhry and Amitava Mukherjee’s case if you see, this woman with due respect to her did not have any issues from him- i mean children. And then this woman of what I read more of her seems to be well educated and capable of looking after herself. Her only aim of taking legal action was revenge. As simple as that. It’s not worth it at the end of the day. She is lucky that the law has taken her side and we are happy for her too. Yet believe me friends, think about it cooly that’s not the way. All that i mentioned in the first para substantiates my stand that money is not so much a miracle medicine so as to soothe or assuage the agony of an emotional injury. Honestly Sheeba Chowdhry’s case will only work as a threat to men that they will have to pay some price in case they break a woman’s heart…Therefore men might become cautious thats all, but the threat of law will neither stop them from calling off a relationship nor compel them to endure a woman whom they have decided is not the one to be his life partner.So it’s all so meaningless punishing a
    man who has no feelings for you…as i said earlier if there is no encumbrance then part with dignity. That’s all. And yes, these are very personal reactions and feelings and in no way am I taking any side. If sheeba per chance stumbles into this, she should not feel offended. As far as the woman Sheeba is concerned life goes on… there are better avenues and all are not the same!

    Comment by Virgo — June 8, 2007 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  29. Virgo so what do you expect Sheeba to do? sit at home twiddling her thumbs while that man gets away with this kind of betrayal? Its not a question of money compensating her grief. Its more a matter of feeling vindicated over the wrong meted out to her. who is talking of monetary compensation as any compensation at all. But atleast she had the guts to fight for her rights. The judgement has paved the way for a million other women..and that is what is great! This precedent.

    Comment by Neha — June 8, 2007 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  30. hi first of all let me tell u that I had known sheeba for very long.She is a great person and is anything but revengful.Just imagine to the extent that she would have been tortured to take this step.its alright to have live in relationships but such blatent lies is not expected.
    this Amitava mukherjee is openly lieing that he is single,sheeba had to undergo an abortion..Dont you think this calls for punishment.nobody hs the right to scar someone like this.

    Im not in touch with sheeba anymore but I am trying to find her.Anybody who can give me her number or address,Ill be greatful.You can reach me on

    Comment by abhilasha — November 4, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  31. Let me update you. The entire Order of the Metropolitan Magistrate which has been the basis for all this debate has been set aside long ago because the court came to the conclusion without hearing or seeking any evidence from either of the parties.

    Comment by Manoj — March 27, 2009 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  32. Have you read the recent Supreme Court Judgment which says that live in relationship is not a cause for any compensation? It has laid down four conditions including the fact that the parties must be unmarried.

    Comment by Manoj — November 7, 2010 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  33. Hey Guys the latest is that on 17th March 2011, the Hon. Delhi High Court herd the petiton of Sheeba, to grant her the money without proof and evidence and trial. The Hon. High Court was about to reject the petition of Sheeba. Her counsel was then forced to withdraw the petition.

    Comment by Manoj — March 17, 2011 @ 8:58 am | Reply

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