Is the wife a chattel: Cannot force woman to live with husband says SC
New Delhi, Mar 03: A wife is not a chattel and cannot be forced to live her her husband, the Supreme Court has said.
The observation was made on a plea by a man who sought an order from the court to his spouse to start living with him again. The court asked, 'what do you think? Is the woman a chattel (slave or tangible piece of property) that we can pass such an order? Is a wife a chattel that she can be directed to go with you.' The observations were made by a Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta.
A family court in Gorakhpur had passed an order in favour of the man under Section 9 of The Hindu Marriage Act restoring conjugal rights. The woman said that she was tortured by her husband over dowry after their marriage in 2013.
In 2015 she filed a case seeking maintenence and the court had directed the man to pay her Rs 20,000 a month. The husband then filed a plea seeking restoration of conjugal rights in the family court.
Once the conjugal rights were restored, the man went to court questioning the payment of maintenance when he is willing to live with her. The Allahabad High Court however refused to pass an order in his favour, following which he moved the Supreme Court.
The woman said that the husband's only intention was to avoid paying the maintenence. The man however said that the court should persuade the wife to go back to him, especially since the family court ruled in his favour. "Is a woman a chattel? Is a wife a chattel? You are asking us to pass an order for this as if she can be sent to a place where she does not want to go, like a chattel," the Bench remarked when the man continued to insist that the wife be persuaded to live with him.