Recently, the Bombay High Court considered the question whether a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy without the consent of her husband can be termed as cruelty under the Hindu Marriage Act?
According to a bench of Justices Atul Chandurkar and Urmila Joshi-Phalke, a woman cannot be compelled to give birth to a child.
In view of this, the appeal filed by the husband against the order of the Family Court is dismissed, allowing the petition of his wife for restoration of conjugal rights and the husband seeking divorce under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. dismissed the petition.
In this case, the couple are teachers and the husband alleged that since their marriage in 2001, the wife insisted on working and also terminated her second pregnancy for the same, making her a victim of cruelty. He further claimed that the wife left her in-laws' house in 2004 and left him.
The wife, on the other hand, claimed that she accepted motherhood as she had given birth to the first child. She further said that the second pregnancy was terminated as she was not well. She further claimed that the husband never tried to get her back nor did he pay any money for the child and his maintenance.
Initially, the court claimed that neither party had added any evidence to support the claim regarding termination of the second pregnancy.
Significantly, the court observed that even if the claims of the husband are taken at face value, the wife cannot be accused of being cruel merely because of her reproductive choice. According to the court, the allegations of the husband torturing him for a job by the wife are also vague.
Considering thus, the bench dismissed the urgent appeal filed by the husband.