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For Kerala youth, wife is no more 'Wise Investment Forever'; it is 'Worry Invited Forever': HC

According to the High Court, "The younger generation views marriage as an evil to be avoided to live free lives, free of liabilities and obligations. 'WIFE' would be rephrased as 'Worry Invited Forever,' replacing the previous concept of 'Wise Investment Forever.' Our marital relationships appear to have been influenced by the 'use and throw' consumer culture."

For Kerala youth, wife is no more 'Wise Investment Forever'; it is 'Worry Invited Forever': HC
First Published Sep 1, 2022, 1:38 PM IST

The High Court in Kerala recently observed that matrimonial relationships in Kerala appear to have been influenced by consumer culture of 'use and throw,' as evidenced by the rise in live-in relationships and the prevailing trend to opt for divorce on flimsy or selfish grounds.

The High Court also stated that the younger generation views Marriage as an evil to be avoided to live free lives free of liabilities and obligations.

"Instead of the previous idea of 'Wise Investment Forever,' they would rephrase 'WIFE' as 'Worry Invited Forever.' The consumer culture of 'use and throw' also seems to have affected our marriages," the court said. 

"Live-in relationships are on the rise, just to say goodbye when they fall apart," Justices A Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas said while dismissing a divorce petition filed by a man who abandoned his wife and three daughters after nine years of Marriage due to an alleged affair with another woman.

According to the high court, Kerala, also known as God's own Country, was once known for its close-knit family bonds.

"However, the current trend is to break the nuptial tie for flimsy or selfish reasons, or extra-marital relationships, even without regard for their children." The screams and wails coming from disturbed and destroyed families have the potential to shake society's conscience.

It added that the tranquilly of our social life would undoubtedly suffer, and society's growth would be stunted when warring couples, abandoned children, and desperate divorcees make up most of our population.

According to the bench, Marriage has been considered "solemn" since time immemorial; a sanctity was attached to it, and it was "the very foundation of a strong society."

Furthermore, the court said, "Marriage is not only a ritual or a meaningless event to licence the sexual urges of the spouses."

The high court denied the husband's divorce petition, stating that "courts cannot come to the aid of an erring person to legalise his activities, which are per se illegal."

The bench ruled that if the husband was having an affair and wanted to avoid his wife and children, he could not use the courts to legalise his "unholy alliance" or current relationship.

The high court further stated that the law and religion regard marriage as an institution in and of itself, and parties to the marriage are not permitted to leave that relationship unilaterally until and unless they satisfy the legal requirements to dissolve their marriage through a court of law or under the personal law that governs them.

The husband, whose divorce petition was denied by a Family Court, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, alleging cruelty on the part of his wife.

In his plea, he stated that their marital relationship was smooth from 2009 to 2018. After they married, his wife developed behavioural abnormalities and quarrelled with him, alleging that he was having an affair.

The high court dismissed his arguments, stating that when a "wife had reasonable grounds to suspect her husband's chastity or fidelity, and if she questions him, or expresses her deep pain and sorrow before him, that it is a normal wife's behaviour, it cannot be characterised as abnormal behaviour."

"The normal human reactions or responses of a wife upon learning that her husband was having an illicit relationship with another lady cannot be termed as behavioural abnormality or cruelty on the part of the wife to dissolve their marriage," the bench explained.

It also added that the normal wear and tear of marital relationships or casual outbursts of some emotional feelings could not be considered cruelties of justifying divorce.

According to the high court in its decision, the wife was supported by her mother-in-law and her husband's relatives, who all said she was a sweet lady who adored her husband and family.

The high court also took note of the mother-in-law's claim that her son was unhappy with her and did not hesitate to call her chastity into question for supporting her daughter-in-law.

"The available facts and circumstances indicate that in 2017, the appellant had some illicit intimacy with another lady, and he wanted to avoid his wife and children to live with that lady." 

"As no act of cruelty capable of instilling in the appellant a reasonable fear that living with the respondent would be harmful or injurious to him was proven, he is not entitled to a divorce decree based on matrimonial cruelties... As a result, the appeal is denied," according to the Supreme Court.

It also stated that the wife would accept the husband if he returned to her and their children. Thus, "nothing indicated the possibility of a cordial reunion was permanently foreclosed."

(With inputs from PTI)

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