The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has declared that rituals like not covering the head with a pallu and not wearing vermilion on the forehead or mangalsutra (black-beaded necklace) will not be considered as disrespect to the in-laws and husband of a woman under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Justices Vasanti Naik and VM Deshpande said, “In the 21st century, a man would not be entitled to seek a divorce solely on the ground that his wife does not cover her head with the pallu of her saree and sometimes removes the mangalsutra and vermilion from her forehead,” reported Live Law.

This decision came after a man filed a divorce petition against his wife that said that she did not cover her head with a pallu just to tease him. The petition also noted that the wife used to remove vermillion from her forehead and her mangalsutra in front of the husband. The court has dismissed the plea, saying that these reasons are not valid for divorcing a partner.

The HC has also supported the family court’s order of refusing to grant divorce on the grounds of desertion. “It is not possible that a married woman would simply leave the matrimonial home, never to return without any reason,” the court said.

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The cultural obligations on women must not come in the way of a marriage and hence both men and women need to be educated on it.

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