Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Observing that a wife marriage is a partnership based on equality and but still the wife is expected to do all the household chores, the Bombay High Court recently upheld the conviction of a man, who killed his wife with a hammer only because she refused to prepare tea for him.

A bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said, "A wife is not a chattel or an object. Marriage ideally is a partnership based on equality. More often than not, it is far from that. Cases such as these, are not uncommon. 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."

The judge further said that a wife cannot be expected to do all the household chores. "There is an imbalance of gender roles, where the wife as a homemaker is expected to do all the household chores. Emotional labour in a marriage is also expected to be done by the wife," Justice Mohite-Dere said.

"Coupled with these imbalances in the equation are the imbalance of expectation and subjugation. Social conditions of women also make them handover themselves to their spouses. Thus, men, in such cases, consider themselves as primary partners and their wives, `chattel’" the judge added.

The bench was seized with a plea filed by a husband, who had killed his wife with a hammer because she did not prepare morning tea for him. The husband after killing his wife had cleaned the spot from the blood and had even bathed her with a view to destroying evidence against him. The entire incident was witnessed by the couple's six-year-old daughter, who even testified against her father.

To his defence, the man argued that his wife not preparing tea provoked him and in a fit of rage.

Trashing the contention, Justice Mohite-Dere said, "This medieval notion of the wife is the property of the husband to do as he wishes, unfortunately, still persists in the majority mindset. Nothing but notions of patriarchy. Thus, the submission is ludicrous, clearly untenable and unsustainable and as such deserves to be rejected."

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