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The Gauhati High Court while allowing a Divorce plea which was rejected by Family Court has held that refusal to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ will project a woman to be unmarried and signify her refusal to accept the marriage with the husband.

The bench comprising of Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia has set aside the judgment passed by the District Judge and allowed the appeal filed by the husband and granted decree of divorce.

The Courts decision came on a divorce petition where it had been alleged that the wife had refused to wear ‘Sakha and sindoor’ because she did not consider the petitioner as her husband.

Under these circumstances the bench observed that “Under the custom of Hindu Marriage, a lady who has entered into marriage according to Hindu rituals and customs, and which has not been denied by the respondent in her evidence, her refusal to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage with the appellant. Such categorical stand of the respondent points to the clear intention of the respondent that she is unwilling to continue her conjugal life with the appellant.

The bench while granting divorce said that compelling the husband to continue to be in matrimony with the wife may be construed to be harassment inflicted by the wife upon the husband and his family members.

The bench further pointed out that the wife had filed a case under section 498-A of IPC alleging subjection of cruelty to the wife by the husband which was dismissed by the Court. The bench said that such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and the  husband’s family members amounts to cruelty as held by the Supreme Court in the case of Rani Narasimha Sastri vs. Rani Suneela Rani, 2019 SCC where the Supreme Court has held that filing of criminal cases like case under Sections 498(A) IPC etc. against the husband and the family members and which are subsequently dismissed/rejected by the Family Court, is sufficient to be construed as an act of cruelty by the wife.

The bench further observed that the Family Court had completely ignored the fact that the wife compelled and prevented the husband from performing his statutory duties towards his aged mother under the provisionsof the “Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007”.

The bench observed that “Such evidence is sufficient to be construed as an act of cruelty as the non-compliance/non-adherence to the provisions of the 2007 Act has criminal consequences leading to punishment or imprisonment as well as fine.”

Read the judgment here;

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-India Legal Bureau

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