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Husbands should share financial resources to empower their wives, says Justice Nagarathna

Husbands should share financial resources to empower their wives, says Justice Nagarathna

Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna, in a judgment delivered on Wednesday, said husbands should share their financial resources with their “housewife” wives who do not have an independent source of income to empower them.

“A married Indian man must realise that he will have to financially empower and support his wife, who has no independent source of income, by making available to her financial resources, including for her personal needs; in other words, by giving her access to his financial resources,” Justice Nagarathna observed in a separate opinion upholding the right of a divorced Muslim woman to maintenance under the secular Section 125 of the old Code of Criminal Procedure.

Read also : Supreme Court rules divorced Muslim women entitled to alimony under secular law

Justice Nagarathna said such “financial empowerment” of a “vulnerable wife” would make her more secure within the family.

“Married Indian men who are aware of this aspect and make their financial resources available for their wives for their personal expenses, apart from household expenses, possibly by having a joint bank account or through a bank card, must be recognised,” the Supreme Court judge wrote.

The Supreme Court judge distinguished between married women who are financially independent or employed and those who stay at home without even having a means to meet their personal expenses.

“It is well known that an Indian housewife tries to save as much money as possible in the monthly household budget, not only to augment the financial resources of the family but also possibly to save a small portion for her personal expenses. This practice is followed in order to avoid making a demand on the husband or his family for her personal expenses,” Justice Nagarathna observed.

In India, most married men do not even realise the plight of their ‘housewife’ wives, whose requests to bear expenses may be flatly rejected by them or their families. Some husbands are not aware of the fact that their wives, who have no independent source of income, are dependent on them not only emotionally but also financially, the judge said.

Also read: BJP welcomes Supreme Court verdict on alimony for divorced Muslim women under secular law

“On the other hand, a housewife works all day for the welfare of the family without expecting anything in return except perhaps love and affection, a sense of comfort and respect from her husband and family, who are supportive of her emotional security. This may also be lacking in some homes,” Justice Nagarathna said.

Justice Nagarathna also spoke about the vulnerability of a married woman with regard to “security of residence” in her matrimonial home.

The Supreme Court judge concluded that only a strong Indian family and society could create a stronger nation.

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