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Refusal by a married Hindu woman to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ (bangles and vermilion) has been constructed as a pointer of the woman’s unwillingness to continue her conjugal life, and has become one of the reasons for granting divorce by the Gauhati High Court on a plea filed by the woman’s husband.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia, in a verdict passed recently, granted decree of divorce to the appellant husband, with the respondent wife’s refusal to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ being stated as one of the reasons.

Considering the wife’s refusal to wear ‘sankha and sindoor’ as part of evidence, the court, in its verdict, said, “Under the custom of Hindu marriage, a lady who has entered into marriage according to Hindu rituals and customs, and which has not been denied by the respondent in her evidence, her refusal to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage with the appellant. Such categorical stand of the respondent points to the clear intention of the respondent that she is unwilling to continue her conjugal life with the appellant.”

“Under such circumstances compelling the appellant husband to continue to be in matrimony with the respondent wife may be construed to be harassment inflicted by the respondent upon the appellant and his family members,” it added.

The high court verdict further maintained that the Family Court, which had earlier turned down the appeal for divorce filed by the husband, “erred in evaluating the evidence in the proper perspective”, referring to the ‘sankha and sindoor’.

The couple had entered into matrimony in 2012, but had separated soon due to various reasons, with the wife later filing charges of domestic violence while the husband approaching the court for divorce eventually.

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