Obligatory for woman to serve her elderly mother-in-law: Jharkhand HC

Ranchi, Jan 25 (IANS) The Jharkhand High Court has observed that in Indian culture, it is an obligation for a married woman to serve her elderly mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law.

A woman cannot put pressure on her husband to stay away from his mother and grandmother without reasonable cause, the High Court said giving its verdict in a family dispute case.

Justice Subhash Chand was hearing a plea by one Rudra Narayan Rai against an order by a family court, which directed him to pay a sum of Rs 30,000 per month to his wife and Rs 15,000 to his son.

The High Court held that the woman was not entitled to maintenance as she refused to live with her husband without reasonable cause. However, it increased the son’s maintenance allowance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.

The court referred to the fundamental duties mentioned under Article 51-A in the Constitution and the mythological texts Yajurveda and Manusmriti.

Referring to Article 51-A, the Judge said it is a fundamental duty of a citizen “to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.

“It is the culture in India to serve the old aged mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law, as the case may be, by the wife, in order to preserve this culture,” the court said.

Quoting a verse from Manusmriti, the court said: “A family where women remain unhappy… is bound to be destroyed. And a family where women are always happy is bound to prosper forever…”

Rudra Narayan Rai’s wife Piyali Rai Chatterjee had alleged that her husband and in-laws were cruel to her and tortured her for dowry.

On the other hand, Rudra Narayan Rai said that his wife pressured him to stay away from his mother and grandmother.

He told the court that the wife often quarrelled with the two old women of the house and kept going to her parent’s house without informing him.

After hearing both parties, the High Court said that the evidence on record indicated that the wife was pressurizing the husband to live separately from his mother and grandmother without any valid reason.

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