“Housewives Are As Busy As Professionals” says Karnataka High Court reprimanding a Patriarchal Notion

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In a recent interesting case, the Karnataka High Court rejected a petition filed by a Bengaluru man who declined to pay for his estranged wife’s flight expenses. The antiquated saying that a housewife has all the time and is free and therefore denied to pay for flight expenses and hence she can easily travel by train.

Case: Gaurav Raj Jain v. Shweta Jain

JUDGE: Hon’ble Justice Raghvendra S. Chauhan

Facts of the Case

A man named Gaurav Raj Jain had filed a case of divorce from his wife. They both got married in 2009 in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and Gaurav filed for divorce in April 2016 at a family court in Bengaluru, when Shweta was living in Muzzafarnagar, UP.

Because of which, Shweta filed a transfer application as she was needed to travel to attend the hearings but the Supreme Court dismissed her application in July 2017 saying that she could claim “requisite expenditure” from her husband.

The petitioner Gaurav Raj Jain filed an appeal before the High Court challenging a February 1, 2018 order of the family court which ordered him to pay Rs. 32,114 as travelling expenses to his wife Shweta Jain. She lives in Muzaffarnagar and claimed for travelling expenses from Muzaffarnagar to Bengaluru.

The advocate representing the petitioner said that his wife is a housewife and she has a lot of free time to travel. She can take a train instead of a flight for Bengaluru.

Judgement

The Karnataka High Court in the present case made the following remarkable observations:

  • The High Court asserted that this is a complete misnomer that a housewife is free. A homemaker is also as occupied as a professional person. She is required to take care of the entire house, cater to the needs of all the family members and do a lot of other miscellaneous activities.
  • It was held that it is not for the petitioner to decide as to what mode of transportation the respondent should take in order to attend the hearing. Therefore, the offer made by the petitioner is clearly unacceptable. If the respondent decides to travel by air, and not by train, even when the petitioner cannot escape his liability to pay the “requisite travelling expenditure”.
  • While the Supreme Court has used the words “requisite expenditure” when the wife is required to travel to attend the case. However, the Apex Court has not limited the “requisite expenditure” too merely to train travel.

In view of the aforesaid, the High Court of Karnataka dismissed the petition as being devoid of any merits.

Learning Outcome

Gender justice and equality have been one of the focus areas in modern society. Cases like these highlights that the society is yet to attain a level where the work of a woman is regarded equal to a man. The people with such mindset shall reframe their thoughts because it is the 21st century and such notions are unacceptable. In a thoughtful observation questioning this patriarchal notion, the Karnataka High Court said that homemakers are as busy as professionals. All the archaic deliberations and debates associated with the same have been put to rest by the Hon’ble Justice f Karnataka, who while deciding a matrimonial case has succinctly stated that

“a housewife is as busy as a professional person.”

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