If every couple in Southern California filed for divorce each time their partner wore a skimpy or sexy outfit, family attorneys in Pasadena would certainly be busy. Thankfully that is not the case in the United States, but in India, a spouse dressing inappropriately actually is considered grounds for divorce.
In a divorce case that made news around the globe, a man in India was recently granted a divorce after he filed paperwork which stated a dress his wife wore during their honeymoon caused the groom "mental cruelty." District judge Manmohan Sharma ruled, "Cruelty includes not only physical but mental cruelty as well. Ostensibly, she (the wife) has indulged in bloating falsehood beyond proportions." Sharma accepted the man's plea that he suffered mental agony caused by his wife's fashion choices since their honeymoon. According to the husband's official court paperwork, "During their honeymoon, she dressed herself in a very vulgar manner and when he asked her to change the dress she retorted that she had dressed herself that way to be noticed by at least 50 people."
The "vulgar" clothing worn on the honeymoon and after were acts of retaliation, according to the man - and the judge agreed. In his ruling, he stated, "She has gone to the extent of conspiring with her parents to teach the petitioner and his family a lesson. The nature of cruelty suffered by the petitioner is partly physical and predominantly mental. So, it is held that he has been treated with cruelty by the respondent after solemnization of their marriage."
The man was granted a divorce and, shockingly, the wife could be facing criminal charges.
To state-side divorcees, all of this sounds rather silly. But in India, where divorce is on the rise while traditional values hang on by a thread, modesty remains a hot topic. Newly financially independent women are often the ones to leave Indian marriages, while marital laws still largely favor the interest of husbands. A recent report by The Globe and Mail found that Indian women, while professionally liberated, are usually victims of unfair and archaic divorce laws that leave them penniless or without their children.