Bombay High Court Calls for a Shift in Outdated Expectations of Women’s Household Roles

LI Network

Published on: 15 September 2023 at 11:40 IST

The Bombay High Court has recently criticized the antiquated societal view that places the entire responsibility of household duties on women.

In a modern society, the court emphasized that both husbands and wives should share household responsibilities equally.

A bench consisting of Justices Nitin W Sambre and Sharmila U Deshmukh delivered this message while dismissing a divorce petition in a case they were hearing.

The husband had sought a divorce, citing several reasons, including his wife’s constant communication with her mother on the phone, her alleged negligence of household chores, and his need to leave for work without having breakfast. Additionally, he accused his wife of improper behavior and verbal abuse directed at his parents.

The High Court, however, noted that both spouses were employed and decried the notion that only the wife should be responsible for all household tasks as regressive.

The admitted position is that both the appellant and the respondent were employed, and as such, expecting the respondent to do all the household work reflects a regressive mindset,” stated the Court.

The Court highlighted that it is unreasonable to expect a wife to sever all ties with her parents after marriage. It emphasized that staying in contact with one’s parents cannot be construed as causing mental distress to the other party and, in fact, imposing restrictions on such contact could be seen as inflicting mental cruelty.

The Bombay High Court ultimately ruled that the husband could not substantiate his claims of cruelty. The Court explained that cruelty usually involves a series of frequent acts causing mental or physical agony to the aggrieved party to such an extent that dissolution of the marriage becomes necessary, which did not apply in this particular case. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed.

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