Husbands should share their financial resources to support their ‘housewives,’ Supreme Court judge says

Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna. File | Photo Source: PTI

Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna, in a ruling on Wednesday, said husbands should share financial resources with their wives who are “housewives” and who do not have an independent source of income to support them.

“A married Indian man must come to terms with the fact that he will have to provide financial support and maintenance to his wife, who has no independent source of income, by making available to her financial resources, especially for her personal needs; in other words, by giving her access to his financial resources,” Justice Nagarathna observed in a separate opinion, in which he upheld the entitlement of divorced Muslim women to maintenance under the secular Section 125 of the erstwhile Code of Criminal Procedure.

Read also: Supreme Court finds divorced Muslim women entitled to alimony under secular law

Justice Nagarathna said such “financial empowerment” of the “helpless wife” would ensure her greater security in the family.

“It is important to appreciate those married Indian men who are aware of this aspect and make their financial resources available to their wife for meeting personal expenses, apart from household expenses, possibly through a joint bank account or ATM card,” the Supreme Court judge wrote.

The Supreme Court judge made a distinction between married women who are financially independent or work professionally and those who stay at home and do not even have the ability to cover their personal expenses.

“It is a known fact that such an Indian housewife tries to save as much money as possible from her monthly household budget, not only to increase the financial resources of the family but also to keep aside a small portion for her personal expenses. This practice is followed to avoid having to approach her husband or his family for meeting her personal expenses,” observed Justice Nagarathna.

Most married men in India are not even aware of the plight of their “housewife” wives, whose request to meet their expenses may be rejected outright by them or their family. Some husbands do not realise that a wife who has no independent source of finance is dependent on them not only emotionally but also financially, the judge said.

Also Read: BJP Hails Supreme Court Verdict on Alimony for Divorced Muslim Women Under Secular Law

“On the other hand, a wife who is termed as a homemaker works all day long for the welfare of the family without expecting anything in return, except perhaps love and affection, comfort and respect from her husband and his family for her emotional security. This too may be lacking in some households,” Justice Nagarathna said.

Justice Nagarathna also referred to the vulnerability of a married woman in terms of “security of residence” in the home where she stays with her husband.

The Supreme Court judge said that only a strong Indian family and society can contribute to the creation of a stronger nation.