Bombay HC terms the notion of wife being the property of husband as medieval

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Medieval notion of wife being the property of husbands to do as they wish still persists, observes Justice Mohati Dere of Bombay High Court.

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She made these observations while dealing with a review petition of life sentence awarded to the 35-year-old convict Santosh Mahadev Atkar of Vittal Hospital Servant quarters in Sholapur district of Maharashtra, who killed his wife Manisha by hitting her with a hammer on her head for suspecting her character and not preparing tea for him.

The incident occurred on December 19, 2013, and she succumbed to her injuries after 6 days on December 25. The judgement was delivered by the Pandharpur court sentencing him to 10-years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 5000 on July 1, 2016.

Justice Mohati further pointed out that, “Such cases, reflect the imbalance of gender – skewed patriarchy, the socio-cultural milieu one has grown up in, which often seeps into a marital relationship. There is an imbalance of gender roles, where wife as a homemaker is expected to do all the household chores”.

Continuing her observation, she said, “Coupled with these imbalances in the equation, is the imbalances of expectation and subjugation, the social condition of women also makes themselves handover to their spouses. Thus men, in such cases, consider themselves as primary partners and wives as “chattle”.

“This medieval notion of the wife being the property of husbands to do as he wishes, unfortunately, still persists in the majority mindset. Nothing but notions of patriarchy”, concludes Justice Mohati Dere adding that while dismissing his petition: “Considering the overwhelming evidence on record pointing to the complicity, no infirmity can be found in the impugned judgement and order convicting and sentencing the appellant for the offences mentioned in para 2 mentioned here above. The facts on record also do not warrant any reduction in the sentence awarded to the appellant. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed”.

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