A patriarchal judgment

It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from the parents upon getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family. In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason, she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her.

In a Hindu society, it is a pious obligation of the son to maintain the parents. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income.

Image credit -http://www.burnsinstitute.org

Image credit -http://www.burnsinstitute.org

The above two paragraphs are not taken from a sermon delivered at an ashram run by patriarchal Hindu babas. Unfortunate fact is it is part of a judgement delivered by the top most court in the world’s largest democracy. Yes this actually came from the Supreme Court of India while dealing with a divorce case. The two male judges of the bench concluded that insisting the husband should live separately from his parents is an act of cruelty on the part of wife.

The persistent effort of the Respondent wife to constrain the Appellant to be separated from the family would be torturous for the husband and in our opinion, the trial Court was right when it came to the conclusion that this constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’.

Strangely the learned Judges are not concerned about the wife being separated from her family after marriage under the Indian tradition. They do not consider such separation as cruelty on the part of the society. The Judges say a son who was brought up and educated by his parents have a moral and legal obligation to look after them. What about a daughter who was brought up and educated by her parents ? Does not she have a moral and legal obligation to look after her parents ? What if a family has only daughters ? Even if there are sons, what if the parents are wholly dependent financially on their daughter ? Why the Judges are not concerned about the parents of the wife ?

No wonder India has such a skewed sex ratio and female gendercide is so common. Even Supreme Court judges do not care about the rights and aspirations of women.



  1. Manoj says

    Sir, seems you are cherry picking the glorified heading that media gave to the judgement. The judgement is not wholly based on the attempt of separation of the parents from the son. There are a few factors on which the case is decided as cruelty against the husband. And do you hold the opinion that cruelty needs to be physical violence? Mental torture shouldn’t be punished?

    • Arun says

      Hope you read the judgement in whole. I have linked it and quoted it. The issue here is not the genuiness of the case in question but the regressive and patriarchal way in which the top most court in India is seeing things.

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