Supreme Court judge Nagarathna says men should share funds to empower their homemaker wives

Justice Nagarathna says empowerment of ‘vulnerable wife’ will make her more secure in family; she made the observations in a separate opinion upholding Muslim women’s right to maintenance

Updated - July 11, 2024 06:54 am IST

Published - July 10, 2024 10:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Supreme Court judge Justice B.V. Nagarathna drew a distinction between financially independent or employed married women and those who remain at home without even an avenue to meet their personal expenses. File

Supreme Court judge Justice B.V. Nagarathna drew a distinction between financially independent or employed married women and those who remain at home without even an avenue to meet their personal expenses. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Justice B.V. Nagarathna of the Supreme Court, in a judgment on Wednesday, said husbands should share their financial resources with their ‘homemaker’ wives who did not have an independent source of income to empower them.

“An Indian married man must become conscious of the fact that he would have to financially empower and provide for his wife, who does not have an independent source of income, by making available financial resources particularly towards her personal needs; in other words, giving access to his financial resources,” Justice Nagarathna observed in a separate opinion upholding a divorced Muslim women’s right to maintenance under a secular Section 125 of the erstwhile Code of Criminal Procedure.

Also read: Supreme Court holds divorced Muslim women entitled to maintenance under secular law

Justice Nagarathna said such “financial empowerment” of a “vulnerable wife” would make her more secure in the family.

“Those Indian married men who are conscious of this aspect and who make available their financial resources for their spouse towards their personal expenses, apart from household expenditure, possibly by having a joint bank account or via an ATM card, must be acknowledged,” the Supreme Court judge wrote.

The Supreme Court judge drew a distinction between financially independent or employed married women and those who remain at home without even an avenue to meet their personal expenses.

“It is well-known that such an Indian homemaker tries to save as much money as possible from the monthly household budget, not only to augment the financial resources of the family but possibly to also save a small portion for her personal expenses. Such a practice is followed in order to avoid making a request to the husband or his family for her personal expenses,” Justice Nagarathna observed.

Most married men in India do not even realise the predicament of their ‘homemaker’ wives, whose request for expenses may be bluntly turned down by them or their family. Some husbands are not conscious of the fact that the wife who has no independent source of finance is dependent on them not only emotionally but also financially, the judge said.

Also read: BJP lauds Supreme Court verdict on maintenance for divorced Muslim women under secular law

“On the other hand, a wife who is referred to as a homemaker is working throughout the day for the welfare of the family without expecting anything in return except possibly love and affection, a sense of comfort and respect from her husband and his family which are towards her emotional security. This may also be lacking in certain households,” Justice Nagarathna said.

Justice Nagarathna also referred to the vulnerability of a married woman with regard to the “security of residence” in her matrimonial home.

The Supreme Court Justice concluded that only a strong Indian family and society would make a stronger nation.

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