MUMBAI, Feb 25: 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 provocation for him to assault her, and observed that wife is “not a chattel or an object”.
In an order, Justice Revati Mohite Dere said “marriage, ideally, is a partnership based on equality”. 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”, the court observed.
The HC also said the testimony of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter inspires confidence and cannot be disbelieved. 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. He was found guilty on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
As per the order, Atkar and his wife had been having disputes since some time. On the day of the incident in December 2013, his wife insisted on going out without making a cup of tea for him. The man then struck her with a hammer, injuring her grievously.
As per the case details and testimony of the couple’s daughter, Atkar then cleaned the spot of the crime, gave his wife a bath and took her to hospital. She succumbed to her injuries after being in the hospital for about a week.
The defence argued that Atkar had been provoked into committing the crime because his wife refused to make tea. The HC, however, rejected the argument and held that there existed adequate evidence, including testimony of the man’s daughter, to prove the charges against him.
“The deceased, by refusing to make tea for the appellant (Atkar), by no stretch of imagination, can be said to have offered grave and sudden provocation for the appellant to assault her, much less, such a brutal assault,” it said. “It would not be out of place to observe that a wife is not a chattel or an object,” the HC said.
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, it said. – PTI