In its recent order passed on Monday, the Kerala High Court observed that the convenience of wife has to be preferred over the convenience of the husband in matrimonial disputes — as far as transfer petition is concerned.
The judgement was passed in a case where the husband had filed a divorce petition against his wife before the family court, Pathanamthitta, and the woman had filed a transfer petition in the matter.
The woman sought a transfer of this case to the Family Court of Thiruvanthapuram. While arguing her side, she explained that she has no source of income and hence, she is dependent on her aged father for her livelihood. The woman also mentioned that she has no one to keep pace with her to Pathanamthitta to attend their case hearings.
This was the reason she wanted the case to be transferred to Thiruvananthapuram, where she is currently located. She also said that it will be then convenient for her attend the court proceedings.
The husband did not appear for the hearing hence, a notice had been sent to him. In the notice, court had mentioned that it has to be taken that he has no objection in transferring the case to the Family court at Thiruvananthapuram.
Justice Shirey V. observed:
It is well settled that in matrimonial disputes, while considering transfer petitions, the convenience of the wife has to be preferred over the convenience of the husband.
The Supreme Court in the case of Sumita Singh v. Kumar Sanjay [2000 KHC 1889], had permitted a transfer petition filed by a wife by observing that:
It is the husband’s suit against the wife. It is the wife’s convenience that, therefore, must be looked at. The circumstances indicated above are sufficient to make the transfer petition absolute.
The courts have made similar observations over the years, in similar other cases such as Rajanikishor Pardeshi v. Kishor Babulal Pardeshi [(2005) 12 SSC 237], wherein, the Supreme Court had observed about giving preference to the wife over husband while transferring the file location.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court too has observed a similar judgement as observed by the Supreme Court in the Sailaja V.V v. Kotaewara Rao [2003 KHC 3105] case. It noted that in the transfer of matrimonial cases, it is the convenience of the wife that has to be taken consideration into by the courts.
- Once again women get preference purely due to their gender and not facts of the case
- If a husband has filed for divorce, the chances of him alleging mental cruelty, adultery or others against his wife are high
- In such scenarios where the man is allegedly harassed, the woman is treated with comfort so that she is not inconvenienced while attending court dates
- These regressive laws in India must be changed if we want to strive for real equality
- Sadly, equality and empowerment are only defined as privileges and not accountability