Mumbai High Court: Divorce cannot be claimed on the ground of ‘not wearing mangalsutra'

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A divorce petition was filed by husband seeking divorce from his wife on the grounds that the wife failed to wear mangalsutra, sindor and did not cover her head with a pallu.  The bench rejected the petition of the man and observed that not wearing mangalsutra, sindor and not covering one’s head with a pallu cannot be claimed a divorce ground by a man. In the present case, an application for setting aside the order of the family court was filed by the husband in the high court. The marriage had taken place in 1995 but the couple had been living separately since 2000. In 2006 a divorce petition filed by the husband seeking divorce from his wife was dismissed by the family court on the reason that the wife had not deserted the husband and was compelled to leave the matrimonial home and reside elsewhere.

The court observed that women cannot be compelled to follow ritual and customs that are traditional in nature in the twenty first century and not following these cannot be claimed as a divorce ground. A husband cannot severe ties with his wife on these grounds i.e. removal of  mangalsutra and vermilion from  her forehead.
The contention raised by the husband in his divorce petition mainly centered on the two aspects, that his wife failed to cover her head with the pallu and did not wear her mangalsutra and vermilion all the time, thereby causing a lot of suffering and pain to him. The court dismissed the divorce application of the husband as these two aspects did not entitle him to seek divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.

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