Should Wife Be Money Minting Machine?

July 23, 2022

A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night.” – Chanakya (375-283 BC), an ancient Indian polymath who was active in Pataliputhra as a teacher, author, philosopher, jurist and royal advisor.

The role of wives has changed over the centuries and now they are also expected to be financiers for their husbands and their families as surfaced in a case decided in the Karnataka High Court recently and widely covered in the media. But, first the facts.

Karnataka HC says treating wife like cash cow tantamount to harassment

Bengaluru: The Karnataka high court recently granted divorce to a Bengaluru woman, holding that her husband had treated her like a cash cow and had no emotional attachment towards her and that these alone were sufficient grounds for cruelty. The woman had challenged the June 22, 2020, order of the family court, Bengaluru Rural district, wherein her application seeking dissolution of marriage on ground of cruelty was dismissed, despite the same being heard and decided ex-parte. Allowing the appeal filed by the woman, a division bench noted that the statement of accounts placed by the appellant shows that transactions amounting to Rs 60 lakh in all have been made in favour of the husband.

"If the examination in chief of the appellant (wife) is read in its entirety, it is evident that the respondent (husband) has treated the appellant as a cash cow and had a materialistic attitude towards her. The respondent had no emotional ties with the appellant. The attitude of the respondent in itself has caused mental agony and emotional trauma to the appellant which are sufficient to make out a ground of mental cruelty," the bench noted in its order.

Citing several judgements of the Supreme Court, the division bench said that the top court has held that the question of cruelty as ground for divorce has to be determined on the basis of facts and circumstances of each case. Furthermore, the lower court has not done cross examination of the petitioner wife and recorded her statements, the bench said. The family court had held that except for financial transactions, the wife failed to prove grounds for cruelty. It also observed that she could not prove that her husband had harassed her mentally.

The couple got married on May 17, 1999, at Chikkamagaluru and had a baby in 2001. On June 8, 2017, the woman filed a petition under section 10 of the Divorce Act.

In her appeal before the high court, the woman reiterated that she had spent approximately Rs 60 lakh on her husband and his family and has been living away from her daughter. She further pleaded that her husband had failed to take care of her, and she, in fact, had taken care of his many failed business ventures, loans as well as debts of his family. According to her, there were financial issues in the husband's family, which led to frequent fights and arguments.

As her husband was unable to take care of his and her financial needs, she decided to work. In October 2008, she moved to the UAE and started working in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. She began clearing the debts of her husband's family and also brought some agricultural land in his name.

In 2012, she realized her husband and his family were draining her financially and emotionally. She sought a divorce which he flatly refused. Giving her marriage another chance, she took him to UAE and set up a salon for him with an investor visa. In 2013, he said he wanted to return to India. In 2017, she filed a divorce petition in the family court.

It may be apt to conclude with Socrates (469-399 BC) – as ancient as Chanakya with whom we started – Greek philosopher from Athens: “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher.”

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is invited in the format given below (Pl stroll down a bit). Once again, welcome to reason.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Justus, Mangalore

    Wed, Aug 03 2022

    It is assumed in the above said case that for a few years after the marriage the husband looked after the wife purely from his earnings. But later he had a business failure. If his business had prospered he would have kept her in a very happy condition. The marriage vow says " "In the name of God, I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until parted by death." This applies to both husband & wife. But here the wife enjoyed & now trying to ditch him . is this right? both should look after each other.When he lost all his money,he was unable he look after her. The husband also has an obligation. When she has taken so much trouble to go abroad, taken him also abroad, looked after him, arranged a salon he should work, co-operate & try to keep the marriage going well & remain harmonious. He should not be showing a bad attitude by making her only do the earning & look after him.There is fault on husband' s side also. If he cooperates & tries to do his duty she should not seek divorce. If he gives a divorce he also hasnt got anyone to take care of him. if he does not cooperate wife feels she has been left out& indicates he is not showing love to her. First let the husband do the duty & wife will feel encouraged & do her duty as well. I dont think that making the wife do all the jobs of taking care of the house & earn money for maintenance of the house is harassment. In many cases the husband goes abroad lives a hard life in humid conditionsearns money sends it to wife educates kids, falls sick, recovers comes only once a year to see his wife & children, takes them around on vacation restaurants buys land builds a house & retires. in these instances the husband. In this family the husband is the money minting machine. In most of the families this is the scenario. So it is not correct to say wife is the money minting machine

  • Rita, Germany

    Mon, Jul 25 2022

    I too say the same.wife is become money minting machine for many or most of them .I myself observed that looking for a girl itself for marriage advts .says a good looking ,educated ,younger .Many wishes .during marraige girl has to bring gold ,cash ,car or bike not forgetting cost of their function.Not enough later husband or his relatives drive her back ,harassing to bring more money .Many girls are at the verge of suicide.Thank God in catholics is now not much we hear .But one case in our neighbourhood happened.Girls marraige was fixed .Just two days back cancelled saying she should bring more money or gold.Becuase he is in a big bank in foreign ,educated.Well I didnt understand the logic.Here was not a word of love or affection ,but prestige.Previously men were not ready to marry girls who is a Nurse.Because she touches many men I heard .Later exclusively searching for nurses who do earn good in foreign(UAE)so thats my experience.

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Mon, Jul 25 2022

    I guess it was too late for Hanisha Pinto to read your column. As I had commented on her verse, a good wife is worth her weight in gold.... Guess, the High Court did not think so in the case you have sighted. He didn't think a good wife should be a cash cow; if the husband treats her so, he loves only her money, not her, and that becomes cruelty, a ground for divorce. A strained interpretation, after twenty odd years of marriage!

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