Women are not slaves of their mothers or mothers-in-law: Kerala HC

Kerala HC condemned a family court order advising a woman to consider her mother and mother-in-law's opinions and urging her to maintain the sanctity of marriage.

Kerala High Court (Photo: National Herald archives)
Kerala High Court (Photo: National Herald archives)


Maintaining that a woman's decisions are no way "inferior" to them, the Kerala High Court, while dealing with a divorce case, orally observed that women are not slaves of their mothers and mothers-in-law.

Justice Devan Ramachandran made the observation on Thursday while looking into a family court order which had dismissed a divorce plea filed by the wife while calling her complaints part of "ordinary wear and tear."

The same order advised the parties (estranged spouses) to act in line with the "sanctity of married life by burying their difference of opinion."

But the High Court pointed out that the family court order was very problematic and patriarchal. "Patriarchal to the core. I'm sorry that's not the way the ethos of 2023 continues," said Ramachandran.

Incidentally, it was the estranged husband's counsel who pointed out that the family court order had called for the wife to listen to what her mother and mother-in-law had to say on the issue.

Ramachandran remarked a woman's decisions cannot be treated as inferior to her mother's or that of her mother-in-law. "Women are not slaves of their mothers or mothers-in-law," observed Ramachandran.

The judge also took exception to a submission made by the husband's lawyer that the disputes at hand were easily solvable and could be settled out of court.

Reacting to the husband's counsel submission, Ramachandran made it clear that he could only direct an out-of-court settlement if the woman also was willing to explore the same. "She has a mind of her own. Will you tie her up and force mediation? This is exactly why she was forced to leave you. Behave well, be a man," said the high court judge.

He gave the nod for the estranged woman's plea that the divorce proceedings can be transferred to a court at Thalassery to suit her convenience as she was a working professional and also allowed her mother- in-law to appear before the court through video conference.

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