By Justice Markandey Katju-
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)
The story of Jyoti Maurya, a lady officer in the PCS (UP Provincial Civil Service ), presently posted as the General Manager of a sugar factory in Bareilly, has gripped public attention, thanks to our media which is always on the lookout for some ‘mirch masala’ ( sensationalism).
I was deeply disappointed at the way our media and so-called ‘educated’ people painted and castigated Jyoti as a devil, a heartless conniver, a calculating self-seeker, an adultress, a corrupt person, and whatnot. It is said she used her husband as a ladder to success, then kicked the ladder away. All this reveals the inanity and backward mindsets of such people.
It is alleged that as a result of this incident, many husbands have stopped their wives’ education.
Many songs have gone viral on this story.
To me the whole affair seems a trivial matter, a divorce case which has been blown out of proportion.
What wrong has Jyoti done? Surely she has a right to seek divorce. How is it anyone’s business? And the allegations of her husband Alok that she indulged in corruption, that she wanted to kill him, etc sound like a cock and bull story of an estranged and vindictive husband.
Even if her husband had helped prepare her for PCS 12 years ago, that does not make her his lifelong slave. Moreover, he could have only financed her, but surely Jyoti studied hard on her own to qualify. So all this talk that ”Alok ne use padhaaya likhaaya” is nonsense.
To my mind this sordid episode reveals two things :
(1) The low level of our media, which does yellow journalism and media trials for improving its TRP rating or circulation, indifferent to how much mental damage, and damage to character and reputation, such sensationalism does to the person depicted.
(2) The low intellectual level and backward, feudal mindsets of most of our people, who want wives to be ‘pativratas’ and Sati Savitris.
I do not encourage divorce, but neither do I regard it as something reprehensible. Sometimes it is inevitable or advisable, as in this case.
The best thing would be a divorce by mutual consent under section 13A of the Hindu Marriage Act, but I doubt Alok, who seems to be on the warpath, would agree.