Monday, May 22, 2006

Acting CDO detained in polygamy case

The District Court Bajhang has ordered to detain Acting Chief District Office (CDO) of Bajhang, Devi Dutta Poudel in the case of polygamy.

Poudel, who had been appointed as acting CDO to the remote far-western district of Bajhang only four months ago, married Women’s Development Officer Ms. Pramila Shrestha on May 7 as per Hindu rituals. Poudel has one son from the first wife.

Reports quoted acting judge of the District Court Narayan Prasad Ojha as saying that the court ordered to detain Poudel and Shrestha for interrogation as per the marital chapter of the Civil Code.

Representatives of civil society and women rights activists organized sit-in protest programme at the premises of District Court demanding action against the culprit during the period of hearing.

As per the marital chapter of Civil Code, the CDO Poudel could be fined up to Rs 25,000 and may face up to three years of prison sentence in the case. Similar punishment would be implied to the woman a marrying man who already has a wife. However, if she was unaware that the man had married earlier, she would not be punished.

According to the code, a man is permitted to marry a second time only if his first wife was suffering from incurable sexually transmitted diseases, was mentally retarded, became physically disabled, became blind or lived separately receiving her share from her husband. Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed the provision that a man would be permitted to marry if he could not have children because of wife's infertility.

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