Recently, a Mumbai High Court had to call it out for a 35-year-old man that his wife’s refusal to make tea for him isn’t a reason for the assault.
Recently as per the reports, upholding a 35-year-old man’s conviction for assaulting his wife, the Bombay High Court has said the wife’s refusal to make tea for husband could not be accepted as a provocation for him to assault her and observed that wife is “not a chattel or an object”.
In an order passed this month, Justice Revati Mohite Dere said “marriage, ideally, is a partnership based on equality”. The court further adds:
“But, notions of patriarchy and the idea that the woman is a man’s property still prevail in society, leading a man to think that his wife is his “chattel””
As per the sources, Atkar and his wife had been having disputes for some time. On an unfateful day in December 2013, when Aktar’s wife insisted on going out without making a cup of tea for him, he struck her with a hammer.
As per the case details and testimony of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Atkar cleaned the spot of the crime, gave his wife a bath, and took her to the hospital. Sadly, after being hospitalized for a week, the wife succumbed to her injuries.
When the defense argued that Atkar was provoked into committing the crime because his wife refused to make tea, the HC strongly rejected the argument.
The HC held that there existed adequate evidence, including the testimony of the man’s daughter, to prove the charges against him. The HC stated that:
“The deceased, by refusing to make tea for the appellant (Atkar), by no stretch of the imagination, can be said to have offered grave and sudden provocation for the appellant to assault her, much less, such a brutal assault,”
“It would not be out of place to observe that a wife is not a chattel or an object,”
The HC further added,
“Such cases reflect the imbalance of gender and skewed patriarchy, the socio-cultural milieu one has grown up in, which often seeps into a marital relationship.”
The court also mentioned how in our society, there is an imbalance of gender roles, where the wife is expected to do all the household chores. While focusing on emotional labor in marriage, Justice Mohite Dere mentioned:
“Emotional labor in a marriage is also expected to be done by the wife. Coupled with these imbalances in the equation, is 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,”
While talking about how even in the 21st century, the husband treats wife as his property, she mentioned:
“It is unfortunate that such”medieval notion” of the wife being the husband’s property still exists, and the wife is expected to do what her husband wished her to do.”
While dismissing the culprit’s appeal against his conviction and sentence, the HC mentioned:
“Thus, the submission of the learned counsel for the appellant that the deceased by refusing to make tea for the appellant offered grave and sudden provocation, is ludicrous, clearly untenable and unsustainable and as such deserves to be rejected,”
The court upheld the conviction and 10 years imprisonment awarded to Santosh Atkar (35), a resident of Pandharpur in Solapur district, by a local court in 2016.
At IFORHER, we feel ashamed to be part of the society, where men have to be told by a court that their wives are not their property. It breaks our heart how this man and his lawyer felt that refusing a tea to a husband could remotely justify his harsh act of beating his wife!
While the judge calls out the irony very impactfully, the horrific incident left us in utter shock. If our Indian men need a court ruling to know that women are not their property and refusing to please them isn’t a ground to beat their wives, we are left with very little hope for our society and future women generations.