Wife not a chattel, man can’t force her to stay with him, says SC

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New Delhi: A woman isn’t her husband’s possession or an “object” and if she doesn’t wish to stay with him, she can’t be forced to do so, the Supreme Court said on Sunday.

The top court was hearing a woman’s plea who accused her husband of cruelty and wished to part ways. She told the bench that she doesn’t want to stay with him, but her husband thought otherwise.

“She is not a chattel. She does not want to live with you. How can you say that you will live with her? You (man) cannot force her,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked him.

The judges suggested that he “reconsider” his decision.

“How can he (man) be so unreasonable? He is treating her as a chattel. She is not an object,” the bench told the lawyer appearing for the man and posted the matter for hearing on August 8.

Meanwhile, the woman’s lawyer appealed for divorce on the ground of cruelty and informed the court that her client isn’t expecting alimony.

The court had earlier referred the matter for mediation so that they can try to settle their matrimonial dispute instead of going for litigation which may prolong their pain.

However, the couple were unable to resolve their issues, the bench was told.