The Bombay High Court on Friday emphasised the importance of a woman’s choice to work or stay at home, even if she is qualified and educated to do so.
According to Justice Bharati Dangre, just because a woman is a graduate does not mean she has to work and cannot stay at home. Justice Dangre said:
“Our society has yet to accept that the woman of the household should contribute financially (towards finances). Working is a choice made by women. Just because she (one of the case’s parties) is a graduate does not preclude her from sitting at home”
“Today I am a judge; tomorrow, I may be at home. Will you declare, ‘I am qualified to be a judge and should not be sitting at home?’ “The judge inquired.
The Court was hearing a revision application filed by the husband challenging a family court order in Pune directing him to pay maintenance to his wife, who he claimed was earning a steady income.
During the hearing on the plea, the husband’s counsel, Advocate Abhijit Sarwate, argued that the family court had wrongfully ordered the husband to pay maintenance despite the wife’s employment.
The judge, however, was not persuaded and went on to comment on educated women’s choice to work or stay at home.
In April 2013, wife filed a Domestic Violence (DV) Act complaint against the husband and his family. She filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights after a year. There were also proceedings initiated under Indian Penal Code Section 498A (cruelty).
During the DV proceedings, the wife sought maintenance from a family court under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The application was granted, and the judge ordered the husband to pay 5,000 per month to the wife and 7,000 separately for child maintenance.
The husband challenged this order in the current petition, which was filed through Advocate Ajinkya Udane.
According to the plea, the husband did not have any resources or money left to fight his wife’s ongoing proceedings.
His main claim was that the wife falsely claimed she had no source of income when, in fact, she was a salaried employee.
Counsel for the wife requested more time to respond to the petitioner’s arguments with judgments, so the Court adjourned the hearing until next week.