Destitute husband cannot seek wife’s company, rules HC

Here’s another example that shows how Patriarchy controls men’s lives and choices by forcing the role of Providers on them. Marriage in Patriarchy is not partnership but dependence, with fixed roles based on gender (not interests or aptitude).

The same Patriarchy controls the options for women. His wife would find it (generally speaking) more difficult than him, to stay single, be self reliant, marry, remarry, live alone, find employment, divorce etc.

While men in Patriarchy are brought up to earn and support a family, women are brought up to be dependent daughters in law.

PT shared this link – ‘Destitute husband cannot seek wife’s company, rules HC‘.

‘”The husband should first show that he is capable of maintaining his wife, and then demand her company,” justice Roshan Dalvi observed while remanding back the wife’s plea seeking permanent maintenance. “No husband who fails to maintain his wife can have the right to demand his conjugal rights,” the judge added.


The husband claimed he and earned Rs 3,000 per month. His position as a husband is, therefore, precarious… The husband is hardly eligible to marry, to keep a wife, to make a family and even more ineligible to demand that his wife returns home when he claims to earn only Rs 3,000 pm.”‘

What do you think?


37 thoughts on “Destitute husband cannot seek wife’s company, rules HC

  1. Umm..this is a case for a divorce. Nothing more. Nothing less. One party in a marriage has no “traditional role” allotted to them.

    I’ve recently noticed a lot of such verdicts coming out of the High Courts. The Mumbai HC has especially issued a lot of these. This needs to be appealed to the SC for it to be set straight.


  2. Anyone should have no business if the two (wife & husband) are willing to stay together to ike a life for themselves! Ya, fine if they don’t have the right resources now, but then they will work together to create one!


  3. While the woman’s right to separation is not debatable, that sounds too much like “You can have the car only if you can maintain it and buy petrol for it”!

    I guess, more than the verdicts themselves, such “explanations” attached with them are the ones that encourage people to go about saying “millions of women abuse women-centric laws and victimize men”. Wish courts would watch what they say and what messages they send out!


    • What women-centric laws? Even the way people stare at female plaintiffs in Indian family courts is unsettling.

      Divorced women have it way tougher in India than do men. My ex gets sympathetic, understanding glances while I get “You should have adjusted more” comments. 🙂


      • Completely agree.. But apparently the laws that aim to lessen discomfort/intimidation of women in some small way are very unfair and most women misuse them! So I am told!! Tired of explaining the state of affairs. Oh ya, what we say is boringly cliched too!


  4. Did our elders not say something on the terms do only what you can afford.. same way I think it is right one shud marry if one can afford.
    Else the marriage will break in the manipulative egoistic lives we live.

    3000rs a month how can one afford to live like that I am wondering that. I guess the question is right how is the husband eligible to ask the wife to come back…


  5. This is another one of those stories with which everything is wrong. First: there should be no such thing as “conjugal rights” as nobody has the right to demand company or intimacy from anyone under any circumstance. Second, economy should make no difference to marriage-law. “His position as a husband is, therefore, precarious… The husband is hardly eligible to marry, to keep a wife” – what kind of crap is that ? Are you not “eligible” to marry if you are poor ? And this restriction applies only to men ? And you “keep” a wife, like some domesticated animal ?

    Third, offcourse, if you need a judge to attempt to *force* your wife to spend time with you, you should not be married at all.


  6. Whether the wife wants him or doesn’t want him that’s a separate issue. What does his income have anything to do with it? If he was earning more/well and his wife didn’t want to be with him, then would the courts tell her that she should go back because she’d be “kept well” by her husband? Why, oh why, do the courts insist on behaving like the neighbourhood grandma? Surely someone must feel the need to rise from petty thought processes like these?


    • Exactly, my question, KMKH. What exactly are conjugal rights? Is it fair to demand company in the first place? Any inputs, PT?

      The term ‘high-maintenance’ used for women always bothered me. We maintain objects not people.It’s used so commonly in popular American culture too.(e.g. In ‘Friends’, Chandler consoles Monica, ‘you are high maintenance but I like maintaining you’ when she is upset being labelled so.


      • From a purely legal perspective, it’s perfectly valid.

        All marriage acts in India provide for restitution of conjugal rights.

        In theory as well as practice, this does NOT refer to actual sexual relations, but cohabitation. The court can effectively force married people to live together, but obviously, it cannot force them to have sexual relations with each other.

        In the modern scenario, the law is normally used only by two kinds of people – women who are completely opposed to a divorce, and people who want a quick divorce.

        The motives of the first group are obvious. They don’t want to give up the supposed social security of marriage.

        The second group isn’t that obvious until you realize that one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a divorce in India is to prove that the “marriage was not consummated within a year of the restitution of conjugal rights”. In less euphemistic terms, this means that if you don’t have sex with your partner for a year after the court orders you to live with them, it is considered ample proof of your marriage having broken down, after which you can be quickly granted a divorce decree.

        It is rare for courts to grant restitution to men if the woman is opposed to it.

        So that’s the legal view, but don’t ask me to justify it. I, like many others, am completely opposed to this whole system. There have been repeated attempts to get “restitution provisions” (as they are called) scrapped, but a series of SC injunctions have pretty much put paid to those efforts. The law exists for now, but enforcement is literally non-existent and most judges do tend to be weary of passing decrees under it.

        It is basically moving towards becoming a form of legal fiction.


        • So PT, do you mean, most judges don’t use these laws and find work-arounds to prevent people from forcibly staying together? Is “no maintenance=no company” one such excuse?


        • STF,

          No maintenance = no company is not common; it’s the first time I’m hearing about something like this, and I was certainly dismayed by the regressive tone of the judgement.

          Judges don’t have to go that far to find work-arounds. Conjugal rights can be restored if the respondent doesn’t have a “valid excuse” for staying apart. As you can imagine, there are infinitely many valid excuses – judges allow wide latitude in this regard. Common reasons include job security (if the respondent has already taken up employment in a different city), fear of physical/mental harassment, caring for elderly parents and so on. Any reasonably experienced counsel can come up with a bunch of reasons for any given case.

          This particular case seems to be one of desperate measures. The husband was extremely poor, but the wife even poorer. An alimony amount was to be granted to the wife. The husband and his family feared that this would result in financial ruin, so they challenged the separation decree itself, as a way to avoid paying the alimony amounts.

          The judge was obviously not happy with this particular use of the law, and was consequently not very gentle in his observations.


  7. What is the most disturbing here is that it is expected of a guy to be able to afford the marriage. Another proof of how marriage in India i nothing beyond a financial transaction. Sad reality.


  8. Well if the woman seeks a divorce in such a case cause she believes that the man can’t take care of her then well it is totally her prerogative. One cannot under any circumstances force any person to live in poverty.
    But the sad part about such good-intentioned verdicts is that the reinforce patriarchy again and again. If the husband can’t earn then why doesn’t the wife start earning? No man will be allowed to divorce his wife if she didn’t earn anything!!


      • According to patriarchy men need to be divorced for earning less, and women need to be divorced for earning more or wanting to earn!!!


    • It could be that the man was an opportunistic freeloader and was content to live off his wife’s earnings. Or he may not have contributed to the houshold’s daily expenses and may have evaded assuming a fair share of financial responsibility.

      Noone wants to be married to freeloaders and golddiggers.Also, many men expect wives to contribute financially in the guise of wanting a “modern marriage” but adhere to traditional norms in all other respects. I don’t think that’s fair either.


      • Wife can choose to work less outside and also take care of her house hold….. who stops… she can contribute in the same ratio as she earns….


    • /* If the husband can’t earn then why doesn’t the wife start earning? No man will be allowed to divorce his wife if she didn’t earn anything!! */
      Exactly ! Even the Judiciary considers it a man’s responsibility to provide. We’ll never have gender equality with such imbalanced views. Financial and household responsibilities need to be shared in a joint living arrangement.

      And no person should be forced to live with anyone against their wish – man or woman. Courts/society have no business telling people whom to live or not live with.


  9. in a developing country sans social care or employment opportunity the husbands income/pension becomes main sustenance for lower middle class wives/widows. based on merits of this case, the court is realistic in dismissing the RCR.


  10. 1.If either spouse wants divorce, then that marriage for all purposes is DONE !!!! getting it legalised is just icing on the cake.
    2. For a marriage you need love, trust and a willingness to make a life together, money is very important and can be earned together, or maybe they prefer to live on love and fresh air 🙂
    To me it looks like she got married, didnt like him ( happens especially in arranged marriages when you jave no clue about your future spouse) , probably couldn’t stand to live with him and left.
    I don’t think any one has a right to question why she left . if she files a false case then punish her. but otherwise if she didn’t like the shape of his nose, there is nothing one can do.
    Now coming to conjugal rights, even if he was minting money if she didn’t want to have conjugal rights, she didn’t.

    The judgement is exceedingly stupid. and i think the husband is terribly idiotic , his wife doesn’t want to be with him. she wants out !!!!! or atleast that’s what her actions state. too bad so sad for you.

    Now coming to maintenance – did she get it all these months she was apart? no?, she hates him right and can’t stand to be with him and left right after the wedding. well he should be made to pay half of the wedding expenses and she should learn to support herself. what was she living off before marriage?

    They need to split , move on and get a life, no court is going to be able to solve their problems…

    Wonder who pushed them to get married. and did they even meet and talk .. about finances, kids, living, life, work etc., or did he come , see her sing and dance and decide that it was a match !!!!!!!!!


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  14. Going by the comments, consider Mata Sita divorcing Shri Ram because he was sentenced to exile for 14 years with no income by the King of Ayodha Raja Dashrath……One cannot be xepcted to become millionaire right from Day 1… ones’ income grows by hardwork and destiny also plays its part over time…… Going by yardstick laid….more than 67% population below poverty line should not marry as they can’t earn enough….


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