New Delhi: "Only my son and I know how we manage to live. There are loans after loans and inspite of a job, it's not an easy life what with my son's tuition fee and the expensive standards of living."
This is Poornima Kharga's lament. Poornima - a theatre artist - has been fighting for the last six years to get maintenance from her husband who walked out of their marriage leaving her and their 11-year-old son with no financial support.
Poornima was banking heavily on the Domestic Violence Act so that her husband would give her maintenance or face punishment under the law, but now even that ray of hope is fading, and her life's tragedies are now like the plays she acts in.
The new law gives as much right to her husband's live in partner as it does to her.
"The law has to find a solution. This way any man can start living with someone and not give any maintenance to the wife," says she.
Poornima works with the National School of Drama and it's her only source of income, but her contract ends next year and finances are a constant worry.
Says Supreme Court lawyer, Geeta Luthra, "The act provides that maintenance has to be given to both the live-in partner as well as the wife. It is obviously an attack on the rights of the wife."
For the first time, an act of law has made live in legal in India. According to UK laws, a live-in partner gets maintenance only after two years of living together, but the Domestic Violence Act makes no such distinction - a loophole, which lawyers say can be easily exploited.
The Domestic Violence Act promised the world to people like Poornima, but all in vain.
In fact they now feel that the Act has now masked the real problem by granting the same rights to the live-in partner.
Lawyers feel it's now up to the judges to interpret the law in such a way that the institution of marriage is saved from this apprehended attack.