In a divorce case hearing, the Gauhati High Court observed that a wife’s refusal to wearing ‘Sakha and sindoor’ are indicative of her refusing to accept her marriage. In this case, the husband had filed an appeal against the order by a Family Court which dismissed his divorce plea, the High Court observed that for a lady, who has entered the marriage in accordance with the Hindu traditions, not wearing ‘Sakha and sindoor’ ()will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage, Live Law reported.
Additionally, the court also observed that asking his husband to stay in separate accommodation, away from his parents is an act of cruelty by the wife. The wife had filed a complaint against her husband and in-laws under section 498 A which was subsequently dismissed by the family court. To this, the court observed that the act of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband’s family members amounts to cruelty.
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The couple had got their marriage solemnized on 17 February 2012. Thereafter, the wife demanded to stay in a separate house, away from the husband’s family. Unable to accede to the demands, frequent quarrels started between the two. Moreover, the wife also claimed that the husband was not medically fit, which is why she couldn’t conceive a baby. Post this, around June 2013, the wife insisted on going to her parental home, discontinuing her marriage.
“A woman who has entered into marriage according to the Hindu rituals and customs, her refusal to wear ‘Sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage.”- Gauhati HC
Post this, she filed a complaint against her in-laws, under section 498 A of the IPC, citing that she was not provided with food and other medical treatment and that it was her brother who used to take care of the bare necessities of her life. She added that she has no income and has to totally depend on her brother, whereas her husband earns 50,000 INR at OIL, Digboi, along with additional benefits, Live Law reported. The husband had appealed for a divorce case, which was dismissed on 15 December 2018, by the court of District Judge, Dibrugarh.
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The High Court Judgment
Hearing the plea by husband against the family court order, the bench consisting of Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia observed that the couple’s marriage cannot be left to continue amidst such stressful circumstances. Hence, the bench passed a decree of divorce.
Additionally, the bench observed that the woman had written in her statement, “I am not wearing/putting sindoor right no because I do not consider him my husband.” To this, the bench observed that “A woman who has entered into marriage according to the Hindu rituals and customs, her refusal to wear ‘Sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage.”
The court hence observed that such a categorical stand of the woman points to her clear intention that she is not willing to continue her marriage. Moreover, forcing the husband to continue their marriage will be construed as an act of harassment by the wife on the husband and his family members.
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