Taking note of the situation where the wife is refusing to wear “sakha” and “sindoor” as per Hindu rituals, Gauhati High Court has granted divorce decree to the man in Assam considering it a sign of her unwillingness to accept the marriage.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia on June 19, set aside the family court’s order and gave the judgment after considering the wife’s statement that she did not wear “sakha” (conch shell bangle) and “sindoor” (vermillion) because she did not consider him her husband.
Bhaskar Das, a contractual labourer in eastern Assam’s Digboi town has filed a matrimonial appeal in the Gauhati High Court challenging the family court’s orders which rejected his petition on the ground that no cruelty was found on the part of his wife.
While setting aside the family court’s order, Gauhati HC stated, “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 (husband).”
The bench further added that under such circumstances, compelling the husband to continue to be in matrimony with the wife may be construed to be harassment.
The man and woman got married on February 17, 2012. But their relations started turning sour and the wife refused to stay with his family members. Renu Das, his wife left her matrimonial house a year later in 2013.
She lodged a complaint against Bhaskar Das and his family under Section 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code. Later, he and his family, were acquitted in the case after allegations of subjecting her to cruelty were not sustained.
“Such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband”s family members amounts to cruelty as held by the Supreme Court” stated the High Court bench. The court also said that the wife can pray for alimony, beyond Rs 3,000 sustenance.
Moreover, the judges observed that the family court has ignored the fact that the wife has compelled her husband not to perform his statutory duties towards his old aged mother under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and said, “Such evidence is sufficient to be construed as an act of cruelty”.