SC verdict on divorce: In India, tradition beats freedom to choose

The SC recently ruled that if wife of a Hindu man forces him to separate from his aged parents and enjoys his income, then it is a valid ground for him to divorce his wife.

Written by Kanishka Singh | Updated: October 9, 2016 9:11 pm
Domestic Violence Act, Domestic Violence Act Supreme Court, Supreme Court Verdict, Domestic Violence Act Protection of Women, violence, Harassment, Supreme Court, SC, India news The judgment said that it is the pious duty of the son to take care of his parents and he can’t be expected to leave them.

In India, tradition rules supreme. It doesn’t matter even if a tradition is draconian or violates an individual’s right to choose. Tradition is supposed to be the ‘right thing’, no questions asked. All those who raise a different opinion are branded immoral or ‘western’. Indian society is by and large driven by a supremacist thought that our culture is the best in the world.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that if the wife of a Hindu man forces him to separate from his aged parents and live away so that his income is enjoyed entirely by her, then that is ground for him to divorce his wife. The judgment said it is the pious duty of the son to take care of his parents and he can’t be expected to leave them.

While it is noble to take care of one’s parents, why does the same cultured society forget that the girl’s parents are also left behind at the time of the marriage. That is fair in the eyes of our society.

While judiciary is not known to take decisions based on traditions and the apex court has taken commendable decisions on matters like live-in relationships and abortion rights, this incident is just another case of patriarchal culture given preference over individual liberty in a married relationship. While it is right to be proud of one’s culture and good traditions, it is the responsibility of every empowered individual to raise a question against traditions that we are forced to follow.

In some place women are not allowed to enter temples. Disbalanced right of inheritance, mistreatment between kin with regard to gender, parents taking the decisions for their children even after they attain adulthood. Taking away the freedom to think, act and choose reduces the person’s existence to only following decisions someone else is taking for them. Our tradition brands a host of things, acts, professions, relations, hobbies etc as inappropriate because the ancestors were not that clear headed to let these things exist in society.

Indeed, embracing one’s cultures protects the identity of a society. However, traditions also need to evolve with times. Instead of taking from other cultures, we should focus on rights being impinged by these traditions. If we just make sure that we don’t take away someone’s rights or don’t cause emotional anguish to anyone in the name of tradition, then the furtherance of traditions is more meaningful.

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    Sadanand Patwardhan
    Oct 10, 2016 at 4:42 am
    An Over the Top Reaction to Over The Top Judgment. A simple divorce case that needed a simple, straightforward judgment has fallen prey to Apex Court's penchant for giloquence and sweeping generalisations.lt;br/gt;Patriarchy and religion are the achille's heel of even our "venerated" supreme court.lt;br/gt;
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    1. S
      Sadanand Patwardhan
      Oct 10, 2016 at 4:42 am
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        Prakash
        Oct 9, 2016 at 10:11 pm
        In Christian church after church around the world, reports have come to light about children being molested by someone missionary padre priest bishop and nuns in the place where they should feel safest. The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from staggering financial judgments in lawsuits filed by molestation victims. Most of these cases have come into the spotlight many years after the secsxual molestations occurred.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;For decades, the Catholic Church quietly settled abuse cases out of court and shuffled peeadopile Chrisian priests to different parishes. Not until the early 1980s did the news media start digging into allegations that had surfaced in places such as New Orleans, Louisiana.1 In 1992, the Boston scandals began a nightmare of litigation for Roman Catholic diocese administrators in the United States. After more than a decade, the end of litigation is not yet in sight. This is just the start.
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          Hola
          Oct 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm
          Indian society is by and large driven by a "supremacist thought" that our culture is the best in the world.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;There is no name of the SC judge mentioned in this article. But I am very sure that the SCam judge is a brahmin bstrd.
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            FK.off.Supremacist.Judge
            Oct 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm
            "Jndian society is by and large driven by a "supremacist" thought that our culture is the best in the world.
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              FK.off.Supremacist.Judge
              Oct 9, 2016 at 2:34 pm
              What the FK is supremacist thought. Are the judges gone mad? I am sure the judge is a brahmin scoundrel. Only those scoundrels STILL cling on to SUPREMACIST THOUGHT! Misfits! Unfits!
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                Amar Akbarh
                Oct 9, 2016 at 9:51 pm
                There is something wrong with all these pressutes like Kanishka Singh. They have gone insane. No more logic in their writing except hate and spread of hatred against Hinduism and Hindus. Unfortunately the media is now controlled by Christian child molesters, Muslim jihadi and anti Hindu Commies.
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                  hitender
                  Oct 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm
                  Author of this news has taken liberty to dump his/her views on court decision. Should we read it as news or hollow thoughts of an individual?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In any case, no matter what you practice, it will become tradition and Indians are known across globe as 'close knit family system'. Court did not say that vice a versa situation is not legitimate case for divorce.
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                    Pratik
                    Oct 10, 2016 at 1:32 am
                    Good move by the court, every body else shut your mouth if you don't like it.
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                      Jay Dixit
                      Oct 10, 2016 at 7:14 am
                      Just because a decision has gone against women, it doesn't mean you will add your ma of liberal thoughts! If you are so wise, why don you be the judge and do a job. I get it that you paid to bark, but it doesn't mean that you have to be drunk to bark! Get back in your senses!
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                        kulbhushan goswami
                        Oct 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm
                        There is a solution to it. Make mandatory for each marriage to to be registered, even if solemnized through regleous beliefs and rites. the onus of registeration should equally fall on the priest responsible for the marriage in any other than direct registered marriage. Any marriage not registered shall not stand legitimacy and would affect the legitamacy on the children as well of the spouse and would deprive them of any previleges and rights vested under the law.. It would be natural that any registered marriage can be annulled only through order of the court. It would solve the problem
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                          Isha Singh
                          Oct 10, 2016 at 6:52 am
                          This article is extremely immature. To force a man to live separately from his parents is a huge blur on individual liberty. Marriage cannot constrain an individual's choices. The framing of this case as one of tradition being given preference is flawed. By granting the man divorce, the SC has recognized his freedom to choose living with his parents as opposed to with his wife. The SC's emphasis is on individual liberty. This article seems oblivious to this fact.
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                            Jayesh
                            Oct 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm
                            India should not want to follow the lead of the west in divorce cases.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In the west 70% of divorces are initiated by women and unfair divorce laws allow lazy women to steal 50% of ets from the man.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Women are illogical creatures, subject to their emotions (of which they have poor control of). Do not get married to them - you risk divorce and losing half your money.
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                              Jesus
                              Oct 9, 2016 at 2:08 pm
                              Imagine yourself being old parent who is not in a position to earn livelihood. Then it becomes son's responsibility to taken care of you. In girl case, she married with him with prior umption that she is leaving her parents behind after marriage. In-laws are expected to treat daughter inlaw as daughter. In case the girl is facing genuine issues with in-laws she may propose for seperaton provided she sends food, money, and arrange maid to take care of in laws. Please note you also get old age. In any case, they should live in the same city.
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                                Mahesh
                                Oct 10, 2016 at 4:13 am
                                The writer needs to clearly read and understand the judgment. When a girl marries a boy as Hindu rituals, it is presumed that she has given implicit agreement (in fact it is an express consent through marriage vows uttered in Sanskrit) to follow whatever is the boy's dharma. The son's dharma is to take care of his parents. So it is not just a traditional but an oral agreement valid under the Contract Act. If a girl doesn't follow the traditional agreement, she should not marry according to Hindu rituals and make her intention of not staying with boy's parents clear before marriage. Now coming to the individual's right. How can wife's fundamental right of freedom to choose be given precedence over the husband's fundamental right of freedom to choose. Because if husband wants to live with and take care of his parents, wife shouldn't be given right to deny his fundamental right. The Supreme Court judgment speaks against forcing husband from living his parents. If husband agreed with wife and leaves his parents, nobody is opposing it. Those who use m media should behave responsibly and shouldn't write non-sense. They need to understand that parents are have human rights and they need to be paid back for the care they took of their children.
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                                  Kanta
                                  Oct 9, 2016 at 6:03 pm
                                  how can u justify women seperating her husband frm his parents? i dont understand what wud be happened if women r nt allowed to some temples .u r indirectly supporting dat women can seperate her husband frm his parents .wat a freak r u
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                                    Srinivasan Nandakumar
                                    Oct 9, 2016 at 11:03 am
                                    The judgement is right and it forces ethical behavior.it definitely most appropriate for the times.the author might be referring to certain women lt;br/gt;Who are suffering.but in most cases the women who portray innocence and obedience,betray post marriage.lt;br/gt;Some even unethical life and splurging husband's money -denying even rightful basic treatment to their in laws the garb of Independence,you can't bar the emotional attachment,which is the fabric of life and love.the judgement is landmark one and matured in its outlookdia is divine in culture and parents are next to God.thr the married women while -denying,rightful place to their parents in law,give more than space for their parents,which is quote discriminatory.Jai Hind
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                                      Nagaraj
                                      Oct 13, 2016 at 12:24 am
                                      Supreme Court has to still fix so many things with the couples on emotional infedility which affects this entire generation, boy and girl date before marriage and they carry on the emotion feelings of the past to the newly married one and kill the fresh life which causes more divorce today
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                                        Avinash
                                        Oct 9, 2016 at 1:31 pm
                                        What was objectionable in my opinion? Display of pride in my culture! Weird
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                                          JoeKidd
                                          Oct 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm
                                          So didn't the girls'parents take care of their child? No payback for that?
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                                            SN
                                            Oct 9, 2016 at 11:12 pm
                                            It is wrong to frame those issues as cases of individual freedom vs tradition. In India we have a concept and framework of extended families and some structure in village community living etc. Individual freedom should be cherished but it must go with individual responsibilities. Individual freedom cannot exist without fulfilling responsibilities.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Unlike the Asian countries, the western governments ume the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the aged and children. One can debate the merits of the two different systems but that is not the issue here. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The Indian system fixes the responsibility on the (first) male child for protection of family elders., unmarried and widowed sisters, even helpless uncles and aunts etc. In the case of parents with no male child, the responsibility lies on the daughter and son-in-laws. Not taking care of them is a sin and the society will not accept it. Within this framework, people can exercise some freedom of choice but not by neglecting them as argued by the author of this article.
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