Q: In May 2007 I had an arranged marriage with a man teaching at an American University. When I went to the US after my marriage, I found out that my husband was a bisexual and a member of a gay club. I was so shocked that I came home for two months. But when I made arrangements to return to him, he sent me an sms, saying that he had got my visa revoked by submitting a lawyer’s letter which stated that he was filing for a divorce. Since then, his family’s lawyer has been insisting on a divorce by mutual consent with little or no alimony. I would like to punish my husband and his family who are responsible for my situation but I don’t know how. Please guide me.
P. Basu, Calcutta
A: Though your husband’s behaviour towards you amounts to mental cruelty, filing a criminal case against him and his family for cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is neither possible nor feasible. This is because your husband resides in the US and all the incidents took place there. However, you can claim alimony from him under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code and/or file a civil suit for judicial separation, alleging acts of cruelty against him. You can also claim maintenance during the pendency of the suit and permanent alimony after the disposal of the suit.
Q: My wife is six months pregnant. She left my house two months back and now she wishes to stay at her parents’ place — maybe permanently. But I want to stay with my wife and child. How can I claim my legal right to stay with them?
A: You may file a civil suit against your wife for restitution of conjugal rights. In the same suit you could also file an application for custody or visitation rights to your baby.
Q: The new West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act says that a tenant who inherits a tenancy can be regarded as a tenant for five years from the death of the original tenant. Does it mean that the inheritor has to quit the premises at the end of the five-year period?
P. Mitra, Calcutta
A: The five years’ time limit is not applicable to the spouse of a deceased tenant who had been living with him till his death and who does not own any residential premises. But for other heirs, five years is the time limit as stated in Section 2 (g) of the said Act. After five years if the landlord files a suit for eviction, the status of the heirs as tenants shall stand terminated.
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