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Vandana Shah

Lawyer and author

Vandana Shah is a practising lawyer in the Family Court and also living her dramatic dream of also being an author and writer.

Grab a copy of her new book Ex-Files: The Story of My Divorce by Penguin and Shobhaa De.

Felix Hug

Triple Talaq And The Dilemmas Of Salma, Shaheen And Sajjida

There’s been a lot of debate around the issue of triple talaq of late, especially since the Supreme Court started hearing a petition questioning its legal validity. Here, rather than going into the merits of the petition, I want to present the sociolegal aspects of triple talaq as experienced by three Muslim women -- Salma (28), Shaheen (45) and Sajjida (48) – who spoke to me in my capacity as a lawyer about the travails they are facing.
06/09/2016 12:16 PM IST

Church Divorces: Legal Or Not?

Although the Catholic Church does not permit divorce, it does have an internal legal process that allows believers to obtain a ruling that a marriage bond wasn't valid on the grounds of one or more defects. If such a finding is obtained, then a Catholic is able to remarry with the recognition of their church. A new Supreme Court ruling, however, forces Catholics to seek a secular divorce as well.
01/09/2016 1:09 PM IST
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Interim Maintenance During Divorce Is Not Always The Wife’s Legal Right

Interim maintenance is usually considered to be the right of a woman going through a divorce and rightly so because of the tough financial conditions she may face as the marriage is dismantled. But what happens if the woman is working and capable of providing for herself financially? Let me illustrate with an interesting case that I am handling.
11/08/2016 2:43 PM IST

Sexual Harassment At Work: The Law Is On Your Side

Recently, the much celebrated climate scientist Dr. RK Pachauri was in the news for all the wrong reasons. People were shocked, including myself: I had interacted with him in the past and found him to be charming and courteous. Yet, somewhere along the way, this accomplished man was accused, with plenty of evidence to back the allegations, of sexual harassment at the workplace. So, what are the laws protecting Indian women from sexual harassment?
25/07/2016 6:30 PM IST
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Kick Abuse Out Of Your Life

When the world's oldest woman credits her longevity to two raw eggs a day and walking out of a miserable marriage ("I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she explained), it's time to pause and think. Take or leave the raw eggs, but domestic abuse is something no one should tolerate.
25/05/2016 8:17 AM IST
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Who Can We Indians Really Turn To If Not The Judiciary?

Indians rely so heavily on the courts because all other methods seem to have failed. We can't turn to the police as we are scared of them and their tales of corruption are part of folklore. The politicians... what can I even say? Even if we were dropped on our heads as infants, we all know that no one can turn to a politician for help unless one is part of their "family" (which makes the mafia looks like kindergarten children singing nursery rhymes).
16/05/2016 8:24 AM IST
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Divorce Is Hard, But Must We Make It So Ugly?

As adults we want to discipline our children and set them on the right path so that they can be successful in life. We teach them values like honesty, forgiveness, tolerance and, above all, to do the right thing. However, in a marriage gone sour or in a divorce we seem to forget all that we taught the children. In fact we behave like extremely spoilt whiny brats who can't look beyond their own nose.
02/05/2016 8:07 AM IST
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Here' A Four-Letter Word To Avoid At Work: Babe

Indra Nooyi, the super-successful CEO of Pepsi, nailed what a lot of women feel when she recently said, "I hate being called sweetie or honey...All that has got to go. We have got to be treated as executives or people rather than honey, sweetie, babe." The stereotyping of women is still so prevalent in the 21st century that it makes me want to gag with disgust.
23/04/2016 8:26 AM IST
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How To Become An Instant Sex Kitten: Get A Divorce

"I saw her at the restaurant. Can you believe it, she was dressed to the nines, had on red lipstick, mascara, blusher. And just wait for this... she was with a guy, drinking wine and having an intimate conversation. It's pretty clear why her marriage ended." Now, even if this said divorcee was seen asking a McDonald's employee for extra ketchup, people would find a way to portray the scene as somehow indicative of her questionable character and loose morals.
17/04/2016 8:07 AM IST
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The Financial Nightmare Of Divorce

There's been a recent blitzkrieg of publicity around the Kapoor vs. Kapur case, which earlier had 'new' financial demands cropping up faster than you could say 'divorce granted'. Matters of the heart aside, divorce can be a financial nightmare. Women tend to tighten their financial seatbelt to keep themselves afloat, while men run to hide their bank statements and holdings deep in a desert or high up in the snow-capped mountains where you'd need the 'Revenant' to unearth the truth.
20/03/2016 12:00 AM IST
Vandana Shah

No, I Don't Need A 35% Discount On Cosmetic Surgery To Celebrate Women's Day

Recently, an exclusive 'country club' invited me as a speaker for their International Women's Day programme. They said that they wanted the women in the audience to be inspired by my story of triumphing over adversity and rebuilding my life despite starting with only ₹750 in my bank account. As I considered the speaking engagement, I asked them about the overall theme of the discussion. Their proud reply had me gobsmacked: <em>'Beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery'</em>. Is this what women's empowerment is about?
08/03/2016 3:19 PM IST

₹150 A Kilo... That's The Price Tag Of An Author

As I walked out of the park after my evening walk, a snazzy sign on a cheap billboard just opposite caught my eye. It boldly proclaimed "₹150 a Kilo". Since you can't even get a cup of decent coffee for that amount it piqued my curiosity and I walked towards it to see what exactly was selling so cheap. As I walked closer to read the sign, I wished I hadn't. My heart split in two...
06/03/2016 8:39 AM IST