New Delhi, Sept 08, 2016: During the pre-wedding engagement ceremony, commonly known as ‘Roka’ there is the ancient ritual where the girl’s family gives the groom-to-be shagun (money in Hindi) and other gifts to signify that the couple is officially engaged and can court openly. During a recent hearing of a divorce appeal, the Delhi High Court condemned this tradition as a social evil.
A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Ranni were hearing an appeal for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. The man claimed that the woman had complained about the bad quality of the gifts received during their ‘roka’ in August 2006, while the woman claimed that the man’s family had issues with the money and gifts provided by her father.
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According to reports, the High Court observed, “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.”
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The couple has been granted the divorce, even though the High Court has debunked the allegations of cruelty and desertion. The bench noted, “The propensity is to throw all and sundry at the opposite party hoping that something would stick. The same is the story in the instant case.”
It was brought to the court’s notice that the man suffered from alcoholism, which led to bouts of depression. The bench concluded, “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.”
– prepared by Arya Sharan of NewsGram with inputs from various agencies.