Bombay High Court: Cannot grant divorce because wife sometimes removes mangalsutra and sindoor

Bombay High Court: Cannot grant divorce because wife sometimes removes mangalsutra and sindoor

In a show of entitlement, the court ruled that a woman has the right to remove mangalsutra and sindoor as she pleases and it cannot be grounds for divorce

In my four years of marriage, I have only worn my mangalsutra for a few days perhaps while visiting my in-laws. As for sindoor, I barely ever put it, not even during festivals; simply because I don't like it and the chemicals irritate my skin.

But just because I do not follow these age-old desi 'customs' doesn't mean I do not respect my marriage and neither has it changed my husband's opinion of me.

And I was pretty sure he is not the only husband who thinks this way. I knew that there are many men in India who consider wearing a mangalsutra or putting sindoor as just ornamental and purely choice-based.

But when I read this news, it shocked me!

Man wants divorce because...

An educated man in Nagpur asked the high court to grant him divorce just because his wife did not follow age-old traditions of wearing a mangalsutra and putting sindoor. Not to forget, he also stated that his wife did not place a pallu to cover her head.

This regressive thinking shocked even the judges who obviously, ruled against him.

The bench reportedly stated, "In 21st century, a man would not be entitled to seek a divorce solely on the ground that his wife doesn't cover head with the pallu of her sari and sometimes removes Mangalsutra and vermilion from her forehead. A woman can't be expected to cover her head with a pallu in this century. In any case, that can't be a ground for divorce. Merely because a woman sometimes removes her Mangalsutra and vermilion, a man can't seek the severance of matrimonial ties."

Not surprisingly, this was not the only 'complaint' by the husband, who married the said woman in June of 1995 and even had a daughter with her in 1996.

His bizarre complaints

During the hearing at the Bombay High Court he stated that his wife had ego problems and portrayed him in bad taste in front of their daughter.

This, after his wife left him in 2000 post their constant discord. He stated that despite his various efforts, his wife 'deserted' him and took off with their daughter.

Bombay High Court: Cannot grant divorce because wife sometimes removes mangalsutra and sindoor

Interestingly, he filed for a dissolution of the marriage in 2011. But it was dismissed because the court at the time said that his claim that his wife deserted him was wrong since she was compelled to leave him.

In addition to the fact that his previous requests for divorce had been dismissed, the Bombay High Court also observed that most of his papers had only one major problem listed- that his wife did not wear a sindoor and a mangalsutra and did not cover her head with a pallu.

The judges of course, did not take this lightly and gave it back to the man.

The courts tell the man off

"There is nothing else, either in the pleadings or evidence of husband or any of his family members or neighbours to show that wife treated him with cruelty. We find that the family court was justified in holding that wife neither treated husband with cruelty nor deserted him. Therefore, the husband wouldn't be entitled for divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion," the judges including justice Vasanti Naik and justice Vinay Deshpande ruled.

This ruling has highlighted the regressive attitude of some of the men in this country.

These men continue to think of their wives as their property, forcing them to follow age-old traditions and customs. But that's the only thing a woman faces when she gets married in India.

A daughter-in-law is also subjected to inferior treatment by her in-laws, as was the case in this story.

3 ill-treatments daughters-in-law still face

  • Still an outsider: The onus of caring for older parents is still on sons, mostly because many parents prefer it that way. This means that daughters-in-law are automatically expected to follow suit, irrespective of whether they have adjusted to their new home. And while it may not happen in many homes, it continues to be a reality for many.
  • Forced interactions: Apart from adjusting to a whole new family and fulfilling their desires and needs, sometimes out of love and sometimes because of responsibility, fact is that many DILs are not expected to express themselves. After all, you cannot possibly like all your new family members, but they have to fake it for the sake of their husbands. While this may not be a requirement for a son-in-law, who is allowed to say as he pleases and is considered an influencer in some homes.
  • Comparisons between children: Daughters-in-law are also meted differential treatment when a son or daughter is involved. They may be given more preference along with the son-in-law, in case the daughter is married.

Read: Supreme Court: Daughters-in-law should be treated as family and not as housemaids

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[All images courtesy: Pixabay, Instagram]

Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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