Asking wife to change religion amounts to cruelty

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Court, Judgement, Law
Court, Judgement, Law
Court, Judgement, Law
Court, Judgement, Law

The family court recently allowed a divorce petition filed by a Chembur resident stating that if a husband who has married a woman of another religion, after marriage forces her to convert to his religion then it amounts to grave mental cruelty to the woman and can be a ground for granting divorce.

The woman had approached the court seeking divorce from her husband. It was stated in her petition that she was a Hindu by religion and the husband was a follower of Christianity. They had gotten married in 2011 under the Special Marriages Act.

It was alleged that for the first few months post marriage relations between them were cordial. However, since both are from different religions, there were always some differences of opinions. She adjusted from her side and always behaved as a dutiful wife. She wanted time to adjust with the new culture but the husband started pressurizing and harassing her to convert. This led to quarrels between them.

The woman also argued that her husband tried every which way to pressurize her to convert to Christianity. When she flatly refused, he started convincing and pressurizing her that when she gave birth to their child, their child would have to accept Christianity and that he would not accept any opposition from her. Due to such behaviour of the respondent, the petitioner suffered great mental cruelty.

Moreover, the petition alleged that the husband would check her bags and clothes, in her absence, and throw her religious things showing complete disrespect for the other religion as well as towards her. Attempts made by friends and well-wishers to bring about a reconciliation failed due to the adamant and non-cooperative behaviour of the husband. She walked out of the matrimonial house in 2012 and is presently living separately.

The husband did not appear before the court so the proceedings, progressed ex-parte and the family court held that, “As there is no challenge to the evidence of the petitioner on record, this court has no option but to accept her evidence. Hence, in my considered view, the petitioner has proved that she was treated with cruelty by the respondent. Therefore, she entitled to a decree of divorce.”