Odisha: Man marries transgender woman with wife’s consent; law expert says marriage problematic
A man in his 30s has married a transwoman at a temple in Narla in the Kalahandi district of the eastern Indian state of Odisha and guess what? His current wife has given her consent and agreed to stay with the transwoman in the same house.
According to a report by India Today, the man, who has a two-year-old son, met the transwoman last year in Ambadola in Odisha’s Rayagada district, when she was begging on the streets. The man reportedly fell in love with her and took her mobile number and stayed in touch.
The matter did not remain hidden for long as the man’s wife suspected that he was into something and when she confronted him, he admitted to having his extra-marital affair with the transgender wife. He told her that he was serious about the relationship and she agreed to accept the transwoman in the family, the report added.
The husband then arranged for the marriage and married the transwoman at a small event in the presence of a few guests, including members of the transgender community, at the temple.
However, the marriage might be problematic in the eyes of law. Srinivas Mohanty, a senior lawyer at Orissa High Court, told India Today that a second marriage in a Hindu family, whether with a woman or a transgender, is not permissible under the Indian law.
“If a second marriage takes place, it is void and amenable to penal action as per Indian law,” he was quoted as saying.
The lawyer said if a man marries a second time while his first marriage is still functional, the Hindu law terms the first one as “subsistence” at the time of the second which means the man remains married to his first wife even if he marries for the second time.
Kamini, the president of the local transgender association who played a key role in organising the marriage said they went to the police station after it took place and the law-keepers said that they had little to do with the issue.
The inspector in-charge of Narla police station told media that they would make legal proceedings only if any aggrieved party files a complaint on the matter.
The newly wed couple were not perturbed. The man said his first wife was happy and they were not concerned about the law.