A recent divorce case was heard in Ahmedabad, India whereby the husband sought a divorce on the grounds that the wife had a beard and she “sounded like a man”. This was rejected by a court.
The husband told the court that prior to the wedding he only saw the wife on one occasion, when her face was covered with a veil. The union was arranged by his in-laws and he was not allowed to speak with his future wife before the wedding. He also was not allowed to see the wife’s face as it would be contrary to the country’s social tradition.
At the hearing, the husband was quoted as saying: “after spending seven days with her, I went out of town for my job. After returning, I noticed she was growing a beard, and also realized that she sounds like a man.”
The husband’s in-laws claimed that he had no choice but to remain with her as they were now married. The matter escalated with the husband involving the police and he subsequently filed a divorce petition.
The wife admitted growing facial hair and stated that her voice was deep because of hormonal issues. She further stated that it could be fixed with treatment.
The wife objected to the divorce, claiming that the husband’s allegations were false and she put forward her own allegations that the husband’s family members subjected her to mental and physical torture. She also claimed that the dowry, demanded by the husband’s family, was paid and in case of a separation alimony would be repayable to her by the husband.
Despite the husband being the applicant in the proceedings, on numerous occasions he and his legal representatives failed to attend the court hearings. The court rejected the husband’s divorce petition stating that the marriage cannot be dissolved on such grounds and the reasons were not sufficient to meet the threshold for divorce.