A Hindu married woman refusing to wear Sakha (bangles made of conch-shell) and sindoor (vermillion), as per the marriage rituals and customs, signifies her refusal to accept her marriage to the husband while granting her husband’s plea for divorce.
This was observed by a two-member bench of the Gauhati High Court (GHC) comprising of Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia.
“A woman’s steadfast refusal to wear Sakha and sindoor denotes her unwillingness to be considered married to her husband,” the court said.
“Under such circumstances, compelling the husband to continue to be in matrimony with the wife may be construed to be harassment,” the bench further said in its June 19 order.
It may be mentioned here that a family court in Assam had earlier rejected a divorce plea by the husband on the grounds that the wife is not found to have inflicted any cruelty against the complainant.
The High Court, however, observed that the husband had alleged before the lower court that the wife refused to wear Sakha and sindoor, a contention that has not been disputed by her.
The marriage was solemnised in February 2012.
The wife, a month after the marriage, wanted a separate accommodation as she did not wish to live in a joint family.
The husband alleged that due to the wife’s such demands, their conjugal relationship worsened.
She left her husband’s home in 2013 and later she filed a case against her husband and his family under Section 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The husband, however, filed a separate divorce plea against the wife after he and his family members were acquitted by HC in the case filed by his wife.
Wife’s allegations that she was harassed by her in-laws and husband and that was denied food and medical treatment, were, however, overturned by the HC.
“The allegation of subjecting the wife to cruelty was not sustained,” the High Court’s order said.
“Such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband’s family members amounts to cruelty,” the order added.