Marriage cannot be ended over sari: HC

Dismissing a petition filed by a homeopathic practitioner, a division bench of Justices A P Deshpande and Rekha Sondurbaldota held that in-laws' insistence on sari cannot amount to "cruelty" under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Alka, the petitioner, and Anand (both names changed) got married in June 2003. Alka soon fell out with her husband and in-laws and returned to her parents' house.

Besides filing a criminal complaint against the husband, his mother, and two sisters for subjecting her to torture for dowry, she also filed a divorce petition in the family court.

In the divorce petition, she cited several instances of cruelty to which she had been allegedly subjected, including husband's illicit relationship with another woman.

One of her grievances was that she was forced to wear sari by her in-laws.
After the family court rejected her divorce application, she filed an appeal in the High Court.

Upholding the family court's decision, the High Court last week said in-laws' insistence on her wearing sari cannot be an instance of cruelty to dissolve the marriage.

Regarding her complaint of assault by sister-in-law, the High Court noted that the latter was handicapped and could not even stand on her own and so the story was false.

As to the demand for dowry and the husband's alleged illicit relationship with another woman, there was no evidence on record to support the accusations, the High Court held, dismissing Alka's petition seeking divorce.

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