Forget about freedom, apex court tells married men

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NEW DELHI - Married men should forget about their freedom after they tie the nuptial knot as restrictions on their independence are like “dividends” they have to pay for matrimony, the Supreme Court said Thursday in a divorce suit.

“Whenever a person is married, there is no question of independence,” Justice Deepak Verma said, hearing a divorce suit between Colonel Ajit Sharma (name changed) and his estranged wife and software professional Seema Sharma (name changed).

By making the observations, the court revisited the remarks of the vacation bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Verma of 2009 wherein it had said: “Do what the wife tells you and never question her authority.”

Justice Katju had said: “If men want to rule their life then they should always be on the right side of their wife. Otherwise, a defiant husband’s life would be ruled by others.”

He said that if the “wife says turn right, turn right and if she says turn left, then turn left”.

On Thursday, the observation about husbands surrendering their independence came when the court was told that Seema had wished “happy Independence Day” to her husband when both of them filed a divorce suit by mutual consent.

The bench of Justice Verma and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan was hearing an appeal filed by Ajit seeking divorce from his wife. They have a 14-year-old daughter Priyanka (name changed) studying at a boarding school in Dehradun.

Initially, the court said: “We are not made to break up marriages.”

Thereafter, the court counselled the couple to go for reconciliation.

The two were told by the court that for them, the welfare and the future of their child should be the top priority.

However, soon realizing that the couple could not live peacefully under one roof, the court worked out a package that could mitigate the difficulties of the mother who was to bring up Priyanka after separation.

The court asked Ajit to suggest a package that he was willing to offer his estranged wife so that she could bear the expenses of bringing up their daughter.

The court said that the package should factor in inflation, price rise and the cost of child’s education, her marriage and other needs. It gave Ajit time to think over it.

When the court resumed hearing, Seema was told that besides Ajit bearing entire expanses of Priyanka’s education till senior secondary, he would pay her Rs.four lakh and give a 250 square metre plot in Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh.

Ajit said that she could dispose the house to mop up more money. The package was in addition to the Rs.1.50 lakh that have already been given to Seema by him. An insurance policy of Rs.five lakh in the name of their daughter has also been given to her.

After a second adjournment, Seema told the court that she wanted a plot of land in Delhi or Gurgaon and demanded an arrangement for their daughter’s education after school.

Apparently displeased over her exaggerated demand, Justice Verma said: “What to talk of a colonel even we can’t afford to buy a square yard of land in Delhi. No body will give you (a plot) for a song.”

Justice Verma said: “You can’t keep on bending a person to the point of breaking”. The court adjourned the matter to be listed in second week of August.

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