A Wife Is Not Chattel Or Object, Husband Can’t Force Her To Live With Him: Supreme Court

| April 8 , 2018 , 13:21 IST

The Supreme Court in a judgement on Saturday maintained that a wife is not a "chattel" or an "object" and cannot be forced to live with her husband if she does not desire to live with him even if he insists.

The observation was made by the Supreme Court while hearing a criminal case lodged by a woman against her husband, accusing him of cruelty as she did not want to live with him but he wanted to live with her.

A bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said to the man, “She is not a chattel. You (man) cannot force her. She does not want to live with you. How can you say that you will live with her.”

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The apex court bench asked the man to “re-consider” his decision and desire to reside with his wife since his wife's counsel categorically said that she does not want to live with him.

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

In response, the man's counsel told the court that he would try to persuade his client in this regard.

The lawyer representing the woman stated that she was willing to withdraw the criminal case if her husband agreed for a divorce.

“We are ready to withdraw the 498A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) IPC case. We do not want any alimony also. She does not want to live with him,” her counsel said.

Previously, the court had referred the case for mediation considering that both the man and the woman were educated and may be able to settle the matrimonial dispute amicably rather than going for litigation.