Can a court grant divorce based on the women’s refusal to wear Sakha and Sindoor?
In India there is a custom of wearing Sakha, Sindoor, Mangalsutra, anklets and Bangles by a Hindu Woman who is married. The most important practise is the practise of wearing vermilion or sindoor by a married Hindu woman on her forehead. This is considered by most of women as a sign of well being of their husband, but now a days if a woman who is married but is not wearing Sindoor is look down upon by the society for not following the ancient Hindu practises and customs. These practises are norms and are considered as a thing which is enforced on the Hindu women rather that it being a choice.
The Recent Gauhati High Court’ Judgement in this Matter
There was a recent order given by the Gauhati High Court in the case of Sri Bhaskar Das vs.Smti Renu Das which was given on 19th June, 2020. In this case the appeal was filed by the appellant husband who was aggrieved by the order given by the Family court who dismissed the divorce petition. In the present case the wife denied to accept the marriage and also refused to wear Sakha and Sindoor and thus projected herself to be unmarried. This shows the unwillingness of the women to accept the marriage. This will result in harassment to the husband appellant and also to his family members. The act of not wearing Sakha and Sindoor also shows the intention of the respondent as to not continue her conjugal life with the appellant husband. Thus, the court rejected the order given by the trial court and allowed the husband to divorce his wife.
There were also various grounds on which the court gave the order to give divorce which are:
The respondent wife wanted to live separate from her in-laws
The marriage between the lady and her husband was solemnised in the year 2012 but only after one month of marriage the respondent wife wanted a separate accommodation and she denied to live in a joint family with her in laws. She even insisted on making a contract with her husband to provide a separate accommodation to which the husband denied .There were also frequent fights between them for this reason and she moreover blamed her husband for not being able to conceive in the marriage. She filed three cases against the appellant and his family members regarding dowry harassment, cheating case and breach of agreement case in which husband made a contract with her to rent the apartment and also breached the contract. The appellant was unable to bear the agony and stress and hence he filed a divorce case before the court.
It is mandatory for the children to look after their parents
The court also stated that according to Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 it is mandatory to look after the senior citizens and parents. They have to be provided with food, healthcare and other necessary amenities for senior citizens.
There are various judgements given by various courts who have stated that putting sindoor cannot be considered as a proof for marriage. It is mere a custom that is followed by most of the Indian Women. There is no such provision mentioned under the Hindu Marriage Act which talks about the provision of Sindoor under the Hindu Marriage Act and hence the courts refuse to consider divorce cases where not putting sindoor is the point of contention.
In the case of State versus Ajay Singh S/o Sh.Rameshwar the accused tied mangalsutra and also placed a Sindoor on her forehead and established sexual relations with her .The court refused to consider this marriage as a valid marriage and, held the accused liable to be convicted for the offence punishable under Section 376 IPC that is the offense of committing rape. The accused misrepresented the victim that he has married her by putting ‘Sindoor’ in her ‘Maang’ and tying ‘Mangalsutra’ around her neck.
In the case of State vs Aniraj @ Guddu in this case also the accused made sexual relations by filing her maang with Sindoor and tying Mangalsutra. But the court refused to consider this marriage as a valid marriage. But the sexual relations were made with the consent of the victim hence he cannot be convicted with the offense of rape and hence was acquitted.
A married Hindu woman is supposed to wear bangles, Mangalsutra, Sindoor and many more accessories defined by customs, traditions of the different community to mark in the society that the girl is married .But this should not be the case .These things rather being enforced should be considered as matter of choice. There are also no provisions mentioned under any law in India where wearing sindoor was considered as proof for marriage. When a judgement which says that it is in the custom of Hinduism to wear Sakhs and Sindoor and the one who does not follow this does not consider herself as a married women that it would be surely against the right of freedom of equality of a women and hence will be considered as an unfair decision.