Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
Outlook.com

The Wives & Wherefores

TN is at home with his chinna veedu, but does Karunanidhi have any legal leg to stand on?

Behind the pulls and pressures of accommodating his kith, kin and partymen in the Union cabinet, there is another pull that DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi has to contend with—of his two companions of over four decades and more, Dayaluammal and Rajathiammal, known to the world as his wives. He is said to spend the morning with one, the evening with the other. Conservative Tamil Nadu apparently sees no problem with the arrangement, but what does the law say about having a second (or rather third) concurrent marriage (since Karunanidhi’s first wife is no more)?

Well, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, is clear that it recognises only one ongoing marriage between a couple. "It is an offence in the eyes of law to have more than one wife," says lawyer Kamini Jaiswal. "But till the Representation of People’s Act is amended, there is little that the Election Commission can do to make its model code of conduct really effective."

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