Removal of ‘thali’ amounts to mental cruelty of husband: High Court

Removal of ‘thali’ (Mangalsutra) by an estranged wife would amount to subjecting the husband to mental cruelty of the highest order, the Madras High Court has observed and granted divorce to the aggrieved man.

A division bench of Justices VM 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 June 15, 2016 of the local Family Court, refusing divorce to him.

When the woman was examined, she admitted that at the time of separation, she removed her thali chain (sacred chain worn by the wife as a token of having married). Though she proceeded to explain that she retained the thali and only removed the chain, the act of removing it had its own significance.

Her counsel, by referring to Section 7 of Hindu Marriage Act submitted that tying of thali is not necessary and hence its removal by the wife, even assuming it was true, would not have any impact on the marital tie.

But, it is a matter of common knowledge that tying of thali is an essential ritual in marriage ceremonies that takes place in this part of the world, the bench pointed out.

The court also cited the orders of a division bench of the High Court, which stated that “from the materials available on record, it is also seen that the petitioner has removed the thali and it is also her own admission that she had kept the same in a bank locker. It was a known fact that no Hindu married woman would remove the thali at any point of time during the lifetime of her husband.