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Is This 21st Century?: Twitter on Madras HC's Absurd Observation on Mangalsutra

A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."

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"Are we really living in 21st century," asked people on Twitter, responding to Madras High Court absurd observation that removal of 'thali' – the word of mangalsutra in Tamil – would amount to subjecting the husband to "mental cruelty of the highest order," while granting divorce to a man.

The observation went viral on Twitter – with many questioning "what's wrong with our courts" and asserting that a woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."

A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."
A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."
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What Did the Court Say?

A division bench of Justices V M Velumani and S Sounthar made the observation, while allowing a civil miscellaneous appeal from C Sivakumar, working as a professor in a medical college in Erode recently.

He sought to quash the orders dated from 2016 refusing divorce to him.

When the woman was examined, she admitted that at the time of separation, she removed her thali chain. Though she proceeded to "explain" that she retained the thali and only removed the chain, the act of removing it had its own significance, reported PTI, citing the court.

"Thali around the neck of a woman was a sacred thing which symbolises the continuance of married life and it is removed only after the death of the husband. Therefore, its removal by the petitioner/wife can be said to be an act which reflected mental cruelty of the highest order as it could have caused agony and hurt the sentiments of the respondent," the bench had said.

"We are given to understand that the appellant and his wife are living separately from 2011 onwards and there is no evidence on record to show that the wife has made any attempt for reunion during this period. Hence in the facts and circumstances of the case and also in view of our finding that the wife by her act caused mental cruelty to the husband, we propose to put a full stop to the marital tie by granting decree dissolving the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent (wife) that took place in November, 2008," the bench said. It set aside the lower court order and granted divorce to the petitioner.
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'Divorce Made Easy', 'This Is So Common': Twitter Slams Order

People took to the social media platform to call out the mosigynistic observation, with some even taking a dig saying how now divorce has been made easy for women.

A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."
A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."

Many others also pointed how it is commonplace for women to either remove their thali – or even not wear it at all.

A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."
A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."
A woman's agency to choose what she wears cannot be equated with "cruelty."

(With inputs from PTI)

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Topics:  Madras HC 

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