Allahabad High Court Schools Husband, Says “Not Cruelty/Desertion If Wife Visits Her Parents Without Taking Husband’s Consent”
In our patriarchal society, it’s not uncommon for a married woman to have to “take permission” from her husband and in-laws to meet her parents or be “allowed” by her in-laws to work or meet her family or anything along those lines. While all of us feminists have time and again shunned this culture of having to seek permission or being “allowed” for being derogatory, the practice still continues. But it looks like the law is on our side on this one. In a recent case, Allahabad High Court observed that if a wife visits her parent’s house frequently without take consent from her husband and the other family members, it cannot amount to cruelty or desertion. Guess, the court now has to start with the basics to educate the misogynists in our society. A two-judge bench of Justices Sunita Agarwal and Krishan Pahal made this observation while hearing an appeal filed by the wife challenging the judgement passed by the Additional Principal Judge, Family Court, Bareilly under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act granting divorce as sought by her husband.
The husband and wife got married in December 2013 and 4 years late in 2017, the husband filed for a divorce on the ground that his wife had left her matrimonial home in 2015 without any reason in his absence along with her family members. Further, in the petition, the husband stated that in 2017 too the wife had refused to accompany the husband to her matrimonial home. He also accused her of refusing to do the household chores and misbehaving with his family members. He went on to add that his wife would go to her paternal home or visit her relatives without informing him or his family and that she also filed a matrimonial case against him and his family.
The two-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court noted that the act and conduct of the parties cannot be considered as an act of desertion on the wife’s part with the intention to permanently end cohabitation by leaving her home in 2015 in the absence of her husband. The court observed that the wife was pregnant at the time and may have simply gone to her parent’s home, which was 400 meters away, for a little while. The Court went on to add that “the act of the appellant in visiting her parent’s house frequently without taking consent of her husband or other family members cannot constitute the offence of desertion on her part” as quoted by LiveLaw. The court further added that the act of the wife in visiting her parent’s home without the permission of the husband does not amount to cruelty. The court further noted that the cause of action was alleged to have been raised in 2015 and in lastly in 2017 but the period of 2 years of desertion was not proved from the evidence on record while setting aside the divorce decree granted by the trial court.
Also Read: Karnataka High Court Calls Bigamy A “Continuing Offence”, Says Consent Of Wife For Second Marriage Immaterial
In September 2017, the wife had filed an application under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act seeking maintenance which was allowed and an amount of Rs 5000 per month was awarded to her and Rs 2000 per month was awarded to the couple’s daughter as monthly maintenance. The Allahabad High Court observed that in this case, the husband had contested the same for various reasons and did not even pay interim maintenance for his daughter, let alone his wife. The court further noted that neither the husband nor his counsel participated in the proceedings which proves that he was not willing to take care of his wife and his minor daughter which goes to show that he deserted his wife and is running away from his responsibility towards his daughter. The Court also increased the maintenance awarded to the minor daughter from Rs 2000 to Rs 30,000.
Also Read: Couple Files 60 Cases Against Each Other In 41 Years Of Marriage, Supreme Court Says “Some People Like Fighting”
Well, it’s not very surprising that a court has to waste its precious time schooling a man on how his wife does not need his “permission” to go to meet her family. And it’s shameful that even in 2022 a woman is expected to seek permission from her husband and in-laws to go and meet her family.
Janvi uses her pen to smash the patriarchy. Geet one day and Wednesday Addams the next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!