The Gauhati HC while granting a plea for divorce, said that if a Hindu married woman refuses to wear sakha and sindoor (vermilion) as per the customs signifies her refusal to accept her marriage. The bench stated :’womens steadfast refusal to wear sakha and sindoor denotes her unwillingness to be considered married to her husband’. The court held that “Under such circumstances, compelling the husband to continue to be in matrimony with the wife may be construed to harassment”.

The family court rejected the plea stating that the wife was not found to have any cruelty against the complaint. The husband alleged in lower court that the wife refused to wear sakha & sindoor, a contention that has not been disputed by her. Their marriage was solemnised in Feb 2012. Later the wife wanted to separate, on the grounds that she did not want to live in a joint family. She left him in 2013 and filed a case against him and his family under sec 498A of IPC ( husband or his relative subjecting a married woman to cruelty).

 The husband filed a separate plea, citing cruelty by his wife. The High Court turned the decision and stated: “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”.

(By- Durga Bhatt)