Hearing a divorce plea of a couple, the Supreme Court has said that a wife constantly demanding that her husband live apart from his old parents would constitute cruelty, and could be a ground for divorce, reported the Hindu.
After the family court granted the couple a divorce, the high court struck it down saying that many of the grounds of cruelty cited by the man didn't amount to it. The Supreme Court said that one of the allegations of cruelty made by the man was that his wife wanted him to live away from his parents.
In its judgement the apex court bench of Justice AR Dave and Justice L. Nageshwara Rao observed that it wasn't a "common practice" or "desirable culture for a Hindu son in India" to live away from his parents especially if he's the only earning member of the family.
"A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family," the court said.
"In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason, she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her," it observed.
The court said that the woman had no reason for asking to live away from his parents other than monetary reasons.
"In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income," the court said.
It said that the woman's persistence to get her husband to move out would "be torturous" and amounted to an act of ‘cruelty’.
The man had also claimed that the woman had attempted suicide, something that the apex court bench also said amounted to cruelty . Saying that he had given her no reason to attempt suicide, the court observed:
"No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life.
"The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing," it observed.
The Supreme Court bench also said that the woman had constantly made allegations of the man having a extra-marital affair but hadn't been able to give any evidence of it, due to which it amounted to cruelty.
The apex court has granted a divorce to the couple, who have been separated for the last 20 years, and said that it saw no reason to bring the couple back together again.
The judgement has not surprisingly come in for some criticism for its observations about 'Hindu sons' and Indian society:
"Normally" women would like not to leave their homes and if they do, stay with her aged parents too. Let's revisit these "rules", shall we? https://t.co/sjkwycuK75— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) October 7, 2016
The Supreme Court just went all Baaghban on us. https://t.co/gkdhD5gWA1— Anti Rational (@sumit_roy_) October 7, 2016