A division bench of Justices V M Velumani and S Sounthar from the Madras HC ruled that the removal of ‘mangal sutra’ would imply mental cruelty of highest order on the husband. The observation was made while hearing a civil appeal from C Sivakumar, who is working as a professor in the medical college of Erode.
The Madras High Court
Credits: The Indian Express
Mr. Kumar wanted to quash the orders of a local family court, dated June 15, 2016, that refused divorce to him. On being questioned, the woman accepted that she had removed the thali chain (sacred chain that is a token of being married) when they were separated.
However, she had retained the thali and only removed the chain. The act of removing the thali had its own significance. Her counsel submitted that tying of thali is not necessary and hence its removal by the wife, even assuming it was true, would not have any impact on the marital tie. He was referring to section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The court replied that it is common knowledge that tying the thali is an essential ritual in Hindu marriage ceremonies, in this part of the world.
The day after my marriage, my husband said Mangal sutra is a symbol of patriarchy and it’s my wish if I want to wear or not but he does not believe in it. I chose not to. https://t.co/U9ryAAFlRk
— 🇵🇸 پربھا 🏳️🌈 (@deepsealioness) July 15, 2022
Meanwhile, Twitteratis, especially women, reacted to the High Court’s decision. They had diverse opinions on the topic. While some brought to notice the words, “mental cruelty of the highest order,” others tried to explain the importance of mangal sutra. Still, some others said that their husbands were in perfect mental health condition, despite them not wearing the mangal sutra.
Mangalsutra is not even mentioned in Hindu Shastras! Infact North Indians never had them as a marriage accessory till ekta kappor serials popularised it.. Wearing black is inauspicious for married in North! Yet courts have time to curtail women rights like this.. Pity the courts! pic.twitter.com/zn1foklfrT
— Sayani Pandit ACRF (@PanditayanAgain) July 15, 2022
“Mangalsutra is not even mentioned in Hindu Shastras! In fact North Indians never had them as a marriage accessory till ekta kapoor serials popularised it… Yet courts have time to curtail women rights like this.. Pity the courts!” said a Twitter user. Whereas, a male user mocked the ruling by posting a man sitting in the office, stressed over his wife removing the mangal sutra.
Me when my wife removes her mangal sutra pic.twitter.com/2cjRqT8RBP
— Rohan Dasgupta (@RohanDasgupta) July 15, 2022
Another user went on to question the education system that followed the ruling. “One of my school teachers told us that she didn’t wear a Mangal Sutra and it was her personal choice… she even taught us about respecting women, chivalry, and other good things. Now I know how privileged I was because even High Court judges didn’t get that kind of good Education.”
One of my school teachers told us that she didn't wear a Mangal Sutra and it was her personal choice she even taught us about respecting women, chivalry and other good things. Now I know how privileged I was, because even High Court judges didn't get that kind of good Education. https://t.co/Dk6GD7cCXG
— Alexander Gounder ☪️ 🇺🇦 (@gounder) July 15, 2022
Marital r@pe is NOT a criminal offence but removal of mangalsutra is mental cruelty of the HIGHEST order !
Thank you Indian Justice system. #ProudIndian#Thoo
— Puja Ibadat Kaur Williams (@DConquered) July 15, 2022
But the reactions must be read with a pinch of salt as the HC had admitted, “We don’t say for a moment that removal of thali chain per se is sufficient to put an end to the marital knot, but the said act of the respondent (wife) is a piece of evidence in drawing an inference about the intentions of the parties.”
Bhai meri family me toh mangalsutra ka ritual hi nahi h…have men in my family been mentally tortured for generations? 🤨
— chataakedaar kachchhe 🩲 (@HaggteZakhm) July 15, 2022
Furthermore, the wife had made allegations of extramarital affairs on the husband and had not attempted to reunite since they separated in 2011. On top of that, she had removed the mangal sutra, causing mental agony to the husband and clearly indicating that she has no intention to continue the marriage. Hence, the HC granted divorce to her husband.
References: Indian Express, India TV
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