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The Gauhati high court (HC) has observed that a Hindu married woman's refusal to wear bangles and sindoor as per the marriage rituals and customs, points at her refusal to accept her marriage to the husband.
While granting husband's plea for divorce, a two-member bench of the HC, comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia, said that the woman's refusal to wear sakha and sindoor shows her unwillingness to be considered married to her husband.
"Under such circumstances, compelling the husband to continue to be in matrimony with the wife may be construed to be harassment," the HC held in its June 19 order.
Earlier, a family court in Assam had rejected the husband's plea for divorce on the grounds that the wife is not found to have caused any cruelty against the complainant.
However, the HC observed that the husband had alleged before the lower court that the wife refused to wear sakha and sindoor.
The marriage between the couple was solemnised in February 2012.
However, a month after the marriage, the wife wanted a separate accommodation for the couple, as she did not wish to live with a joint family.
The husband alleged that their relationship worsened because of her demand to live like a nuclear family, which led to quarrels and also mentioned about his wife's failure to conceive a child.
She left her husband's home in 2013 and filed a case against him and his family under Section 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The husband and his relatives were however, acquitted in the case by HC. Later, he filed a separate divorce plea, citing cruelty by his wife.
Contesting the plea, the wife then alleged harassment by her husband and in-laws for dowry. She also said that she was denied food and medical treatment and it was left to her brother to take care of her basic necessities.
But, the HC overturned the family court's decision.
"The allegation of subjecting the wife to cruelty was not sustained. Such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband's family members amounts to cruelty," the HC order said.
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