Cruelty in matrimonial cases is considered to be a paramount reason of breakdown of marriages. For Hindus, marriage is considered to be a sacrosanct union of two people that ensures social sanction to physical union between man and woman. Indian legislation focus on safeguarding the institution in order to maintain social balance and harmony. The primary goal of a marriage in India is to foster, self restraint and maintain the bonding of family, with all due regard to the status of the marital status. Speaking of the older era, in the early 90s, divorce wasn’t considered to be a resort since marriage was treated as a pious knot of men and women.
With time, several legislations were enacted and the marital laws were modified for the betterment of women and the institution that is marriage. The central idea to assure a strong foundation of such relationships among men and women so that they impart the best of their duties and safeguard the piousness of the relationship. The concept of cruelty has not really been defined in the matrimonial laws and legislations. The exact word cruelty has not been defined anywhere in the respective legislations, out of the policy of the legislators.
Related case facts
Speaking of a related case, the house of lords passed a revolutionary judgement on June 27, 1963 that affected the landscape of law. As per the facts of the case, the respondent was an exceptionally lazy man and he was the root cause of conflicts between them. The primary issue between the couple was related to how husband did very little to aid financially and extremely unkind to her. The wife has to pay to the creditors of her husband most of the times. After suffering from this for quite a time, she was reduced to such a physical and mental state where it became very difficult for her to maintain her children and herself. On the very complaint filed by her, the court inserted a non cohabitation clause, after keeping in mind the cruelty and disregard offered by her husband.
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The concept of cruelty, harassment, torture and agony, has been prevalent in our society for the longest time. Irrespective of the gender, the relationships have experienced some or the other kind of atrocities in their relationships. The count of such inflictions is not easy to be done and it could be in different forms altogether. The Hindu Marriage Act and other legislations, are of the opinion that we must safeguard the foundation of the sacrament that’s marriage by conforming to the humanitarian laws and rights of men and when when they’re part of such relationships.
The daily situations tend to create ambiguity and disharmony among the couples and it becomes difficult to keep the situation intact with the changing times, equations, situations and circumstances. In such cases, the legislation plays cardinal role to abolish marital cruelty and introduce a way forward for the people. The central idea is to safeguard a subsisting relationship from
- Physical cruelty
- Mental cruelty
- Cruelty against wife
- Cruelty against husband
Another conception that is here and taken into consideration is gender bias in cruelty. In patriarchal society, gender bias leads to bigger issues that often take form of failed relationships and hardships on the couples. Cruelty against women is prevalent in even the remote areas of the country with comparatively low literacy rates. Legislations aim at eradicating the conception from its roots but things can only change when the efforts are two ways and there is mutual understanding of how the human rights are just as important.