Not wearing mangalsutra does not qualify as a ground for divorce: Bombay HC

  • A man filed a petition for divorce in the Bombay HC on the ground that his wife did not wear mangalsutra and sindoor, also would not cover her head with a pallu.

    Bombay HC rejected the petition saying that a woman cannot be forced to accept the traditional customs. A bench of judges further added that in this 21st century a man would not be entitled to seek a divorce exclusively on these grounds. A woman cannot be expected to cover her head with a pallu in this century. Simply because a woman sometimes removes her mangalsutra and vermilion on her forehead, a man cannot seek the severance of the matrimonial ties.

    The spouses married in 1995 and have been living separately since 2000. The husband had filed a divorce petition in the family court in 2006, which was rejected observing that the wife never deserted him and didn't leave matrimonial home on her own, but was compelled to do so. Thus he moved the High Court.

    The judges observed that the man in his petition, focused on only two aspects, that wife never used to cover head with pallu and used to remove Mangalsutra and vermilion from her forehead and Mangalsutra. All that had caused tremendous agony and pain to him, he claimed.

    Therefore, the judges did not allow the husband for divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion.


    Our constitution guarantees every individual Right to life which itself includes the right to live our life the way we want to. Forcing a person to accept the traditional customs against his/her will is wrong. These customs have immense value and importance in our society and therefore they are meant to be followed whole heartedly and not for the sake of it. Therefore, we should learn to respect others thinking and accept them the way they are instead of trying to force our thoughts and beliefs upon them.

    Visit the Indian Kanoon section of LawRato to learn more on Indian Laws.

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