Roka ceremony, where the girl’s family gives money and gift to the groom’s family as a token of finalization of marriage, came under criticism from the Delhi High Court. Delhi Court called Roka ceremony “a social evil which needs to be condemned”, and we couldn’t applaud it more.
Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani were presiding over a case where a woman appealed against a divorce granted to her husband by a family court. During the legal arguments, the man claimed that the woman criticized the quality of gifts her family received during their Roka in 2006, while the woman complained that her husband’s family was not happy with the money and gifts given by her father.
Regarding Roka ceremony, the judges said:
“The ceremony of Roka goes back approximately 25 years ago. Under this, a couple is treated as a kind of a chattel. Its significance is that on the account of money given by the family of the female to the male, it is conveyed to the society that neither would henceforth scout for a life partner – the search for a life partner is stopped: Roka. It is a social evil which needs to be condemned. It entails useless expenditure and in many cases, becomes the source of future bickering. A Judge has no means to fly back in time to see what had happened”
During the hearing, the High Court found that he suffers from alcoholism. The court also found that the allegations of the man that his wife never wanted a child, and left for her parental house time & again were incorrect. Finally, the case was concluded with the separation verdict being nullified.
Keeping aside the rest of the issue, we want to focus on what High Court comment on Roka! This comment is a sign of progressive society. (Also Read: Are Marriage Gifts The New Version Of Dowry In Modern India?)
No one would deny that Indian wedding has multiple customs and ceremonies that put additional pressure on parents and kids. More often than not, it’s the bride and her family that bear the pressure of these customs. Many ceremonies, like roka or kanyadaan, portray the girl just like a ‘burden’ whose ‘responsibility’ seems to be shifted from the father to the husband. (Also Read: This Thread About US Educated, Successful Indian Man Shamelessly Asking For Dowry Reveals Ugly Reality)
It is sad how Roka has turned into a commercial transaction! It’s just like when you go and shop for a car. You book it in advance and pay a token amount! Roka ceremony is performed to block groom and bride for each other, and the payment in the form of exchanged gifts!
It is heartbreaking how even in 21st century, our marriages include so much pomp and show and regressive customs like dowry. Customs that many parents and daughters bear the financial burden for years. The HC statement on Roka is a positive sign that our society should celebrate!