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Does Wearing Sindoor, Bangles, Manglasutra etc Constitute Our Hindu Marriage?

Refusal by wife to wear sakha and Sindoor signifies refusal to accept marriage: Guwahati HC [1]

I didn't change the title of this case commentary! Reason behind this is -how it is projected, so that people can co-relate in Indian society and can grab the story easily, may be implement that. This is how media and news serve masala of a case that is far more important than any other issues of society. I abridge myself using the title which will not harm one's feeling or opinion, it will only hit the right place– if u have that.

Some important facts of the case [2] that must be known first:
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 in a joint family.
  • The husband alleged that their conjugal relationship worsened because of her demand to live like a nuclear family, which led to frequent quarrels and his wife also failed to conceive a child.
     
  • She left her husband's home in 2013 and filed a case against him and his family members under Section 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
     
  • Though the husband and his relatives were acquitted in the case by HC, he filed a separate divorce plea, citing cruelty by his wife.
    Judgement: 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.

The Guwahati high court (HC) has observed that a Hindu married woman's refusal 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 [3].

A two-member of the HC, comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia, said the woman's steadfast refusal to wear sakha and Sindoor – the trappings of a Hindu bride – denotes 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.

Case Commentary:
There is nothing shocking or lambasting on such judgement as it gives decisions for the people, to the people and for the society. Greater good with the limited facts or evidence presented and I really appreciate the work of court for this. The judgement itself seem to be incomplete, uncleared and pragmatic steps to go with the flow of the society.

A married Hindu woman is supposed to wear bangles, Mangalsutra, Sindoor and many more accessories defined by customs, traditions of the different community to mark in the society that the girl is married now, in short depicting Sanskar. When the girl/woman defy to wear that then question arises, why sudden a change seen in the Sanskar? Various reasons are given by so-called philosophers living in society including both parental and in-laws house to which they belong.

The reason that top the list, is the girl- oh I should pronounce her as a woman now, just because she is married! is doing character assassination of being a Sanskari. She is hiding her marriage from the society in which the marriage ceremony took place. She is suggesting that she is unmarried and open to all, will look attractive as before marriage she was. Another presumption can be she is modern, educated and defy every traditions & customs of society to mark her ability of modernisation and independency-one-word feminist. There are number of presumptions for not wearing Sindoor, bangles, Mangalsutra etc and not possible currently to reflect each and every flaws of this patriarchy society.

My opinion on this issue is very empirical. Woman doesn't want to wear bangles, Mangalsutra and Sindoor etc after marriage because they have seen the partial behaviour in workplace, colleges, schools, other institutions within the ambit of society. Partiality in a way that married woman suddenly open to any kind of vulgar jokes that can be cracked by the colleagues, mostly discussion will be for how in-laws treated her or how romantic is her husband? , Advise will be requested to handle household activity and when she is going to deliver a child? Obvious question for society, relatives & friends but just want it to make clear not for the newly married girl!

She was not at all expecting that obvious question. At workplace employer will look at her future planning such as bearing child, settling with husband, working just for time pass or working with a distracted mind etc as if that is prevailing in current situation & she is unable to give good performance on workplace which is totally based on her skill and talent .Employer will develop a partial opinion towards married girl, its self-generating skill for employer.

Conclusion:
No one to be blamed for this, we live in a patriarchy society and it will take time to evolve. Till then girl /woman have to acquire patience, power so that they can execute the change bit-by-bit. Power by getting high position in workplace, Power by educating people, Power by eradicating social issues and Power by self-motivation to bring the change at low level.

When you have power, people will listen, society will act, traditions and customs will be respected and most importantly Girl's faith towards marriage will not be subjected to her Mangalsutra , bangles or Sindoor etc but it will be subjected to the upliftment of woman in the society to give her freedom of expression to live not to impress anybody but to express herself.

Marriage is solemnization of two souls nothing else and if there is difference of solemnizing of souls then that can't be marriage! Let the girl/woman decides to wear bangles, Mangalsutra or Sindoor as mark of being married or as a mark of her custom & traditions.
Let her decide!!!

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/refusal-by-wife-to-wear-sakha-and-Sindoor-signifies-refusal-to-accept-marriage-gauhati-hc/
  2. Published in Hindustan Times 29th Jun20
  3. Sri Bhaskar das v/s Smt. Renu das Guwahati HC 2020

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