[Matrimonial Disputes] Women not weaker sex but in transfer petitions convenience of wife is paramount: Supreme Court

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi passed the order despite stiff opposition by the husband's counsel claiming that the wife was simply playing the 'woman card'.
CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi
CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M TrivediADMIN

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the transfer of a matrimonial dispute from Pune to Patiala in a plea filed by the wife, while taking into account her convenience.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi passed the order despite stiff opposition by the husband's counsel claiming that the wife was simply playing the 'woman card'.

"I quite see the forceful submission made by you. Unfortunately, the ethos which has developed in this court is convenience of the wife is paramount," the CJI remarked.

While the CJI agreed that in today's day and age women could not be said to require companions while travelling, he was not inclined to go against the established practice of giving preference to the convenience of women while deciding transfer petitions.

"We quite see that in today's time you cannot say that female is the weaker sex and say that because they need protection they need a companion to travel. But at the same time this (giving preference to convenience of wife) has been the standard practice. Therefore, we will adopt that," the bench underscored.

The counsel for the husband vehemently argued that the wife's only ground was that she was a woman and even though she was highly educated and held a doctorate degree, she claimed that she needed someone to accompany her to Pune.

"She is highly educated, she is perfectly fit and fine. She is a PhD holder. Why she needs someone to accompany her to Pune? Moreover, why does she need a person in her life who doesn't want to live with her?", argued the husband's lawyer.

However, the bench was not convinced to depart from the established jurisprudence and noted that if she could travel to Pune, the husband could also travel to Patiala.

The lawyer went on to argue that if the petition is allowed, it would set the wrong precedent and every woman would play this card.

"Sometimes even men should be heard!"

The Court, however, said that it will not deviate from the established practice.

With this, the petition was allowed.

Courts across the country have time and again emphasised on preference being given to the convenience of a wife while deciding on transfer petitions in matrimonial disputes.

Most recently, the Delhi High Court said that it was a settled practice that in such matters, the convenience of the wife has to be seen more.

[Read our live-coverage of the hearing below]

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