Wife Expected to Be with Husband’s Family; Cannot Compel To Stay Separated From Mother-In-Law Without ‘Justifiable’ Reason

A sad but accustomed practice which has been followed by woman after marriage is their mindset to live apart from the husband’s family without any valid reason. In the eyes of the law, a woman cannot compel her husband to live separately and away from his parents unless she is being subjected to mental cruelty, physical abuse or domestic violence of any form. It is the moral duty and legal obligation of all husbands to take care of their parents when they reach an old age; and the mere fact that a woman does not want to live with her in-laws will not be considered as a legal ground for her to stay apart from her husband or force her husband to live apart from his parents.

 Supreme Court in Narendra vs. K.Meena.

“In normal circumstances, the wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after marriage because she becomes an integral a part of the family of the husband, and without any justifiable reason, she may not insist that her husband stays separately from her old mother, and to live with his wife in a separate and rented accommodation.. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this nor would any son like to be separated from his old mother, who is dependent upon her son. The persistent efforts of the respondent-wife to compel the appellant to get separated from his mother would be torturous for the husband, and in our opinion this act of respondent certainly constitutes an act of cruelty.”

the judgment further observes:

“It is not a common practice, desirable and acceptable norm for a son to leave his old mother when there is no one else to take care of her in order to settle with his wife, particularly when he is the only earning member in the family. After being brought up and educated by his mother, the son has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain her when she becomes old and has no other source of income to maintain her.”

Moreover, Any Disrespectful and disparaging remarks made by the wife against the husband would amount to cruelty; Here are a few instances: COMPILED BY MERLYN LAW FIRM

  • The wife created a pressure on husband by alleging that she will commit suicide and kill her son and entangle the appellant in a false case would amount to be a cruelty.
  • The attitude of wife abusing the mother in law and making sarcastic remark against the husband before the relatives of husband would amount to be a cruelty.
  • If the wife physically assaults the mother-in-law and abuses her will amount to be a cruelty.
  • Wife wanted the husband to leave his own mother and get separated from his mother so that the wife can live independently, and in that event it would become more torturous for the husband to stay only with the respondent-wife to tolerate such nature and behaviour of the respondent.
  • Wife intends to live with her parents in her husband’s residence and refuses to let her husband or his parents to interact with the children. Moreover, does not allow the grandparents to enter the household premises. This will most definitely be considered as an act of cruelty.

References: Sheenu Mahendru Vs. Sangeeta Soniya

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