Gujarat High Court has upheld the appeal of a woman who does not want to live at her matrimonial home.
A Banaskantha-based woman had appealed the decision of a family court that had directed her to return to her matrimonial home and perform her marital obligation.
Indian news agency PTI reported that the Gujarat High Court’s division bench of Justices Justices J. B. Pardiwala and Niral Mehta said the decision in a suit for the restitution of conjugal rights does not depend entirely on the husband’s right, and the family court should also consider whether it would make it inequitable for it to compel the wife to live with her husband.
The bench said, “No person can force a female or his wife to cohabit and establish conjugal rights. If the wife refuses to cohabit, in such a case, she cannot be forced by a decree in a suit to establish conjugal rights.”
The couple had got married on 25 May 2010 in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat. They had a son in July 2015.
According to the plea, the woman left her husband and in-laws in July 2017 after “they compelled her to migrate to Australia and take up a job there.”
In her plea, the woman, a nurse at the civil hospital, said she did not want to go overseas and left her matrimonial home with her son.
Woman’s husband argued that she left home “without any lawful ground”.
The family court directed her to go back to her matrimonial home “based on conjecture that being a working woman, she could not come up with her household responsibilities and therefore, thought fit to walk out of her matrimonial home on a lame excuse of being harassed by her husband and other family members,” the high court observed.
“Our notions of law in that regard have to be altered in such a way as to bring them in conformity with the modern social conditions,” the high court observed.
“Nothing has been shown to us in the form of any rule or otherwise which compel the courts to always pass a decree in a suit for restitution of conjugal rights in favour of the husband,” it said.