Roka ceremony a social evil, says HC

Takes scathing view of the ‘cash and glamour’ associated with the ritual performed before marriage

September 03, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 22, 2016 04:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The pre-wedding ceremony of Roka , which has much glamour associated with it and involves money being given by the girl’s family to the boy as a token of fixing marriage, came under criticism from the Delhi High Court which said it was “a social evil which needs to be condemned”.

“The ceremony of Roka goes back approximately 25 years ago. Under this, a couple is treated as a kind of a chattel. Its significance is that on the account of money given by the family of the female to the male, it is conveyed to the society that neither would henceforth scout for a life partner – the search for a life partner is stopped: Roka . It is a social evil which needs to be condemned. It entails useless expenditure and in many cases, becomes the source of future bickering. A Judge has no means to fly back in time to see what had happened,” said the High Court.


The remarks were made by a Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Ranni while deciding the appeal of a woman against the divorce granted by a family court to her husband on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.

The High Court noted that among the allegations levelled by the parties against each other, the man claimed that after their Roka in August 2006, the woman had complained about the low standard of gifts while the woman told the court that it was the man’s family who had found faults with the manner in which her father had given cash to their relatives.

While the man worked in MTNL, the woman is a nurse at AIIMS. They had got married in 2006 after a year-and-half of courtship. In 2007, they were blessed with a son. A year later, they separated.

Root of the problem

Setting aside the order of the family court granting divorce to the man, the High Court found that he suffers from alcoholism. The court also found that the allegations of the man that his wife never wanted a child and left for her parental house time and again were incorrect.

“The girl behaved like any other newly married working woman. She shared her soul and her body with her husband, and even the husband reciprocated. But, unfortunately, circumstances overtook him, for which he is responsible. Alcoholism led to bouts of depression in him. He did not take the antidepressants that were prescribed to him. Therefore, he became irritable, and prone to anger at the drop of a hat,” the court noted.

“We bring down the curtains by holding that neither cruelty nor desertion has been proved. The girl’s desire to live with her husband has been established through her testimony and admissions made by the husband, provided he takes antidepressants,” the Bench added.

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