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If you use a word like pahadi or Bihari or any word which indicates your spouse and his/her family geographical background can lead you to the divorce path. As people are sensitive about this.

 The Bombay high court observed on Thursday, that a reason for a marriage breaking up was that the wife’s father referred to the husband’s family as ‘pahadis’ as they hail from Himachal Pradesh, and observed that people can be sensitive about such remarks .

 A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode heard a petition filed by Major Dheeraj Singh Dhumal challenging a family court August 31, 2010, order dismissing his plea for divorce. Dhumal and his wife Major Sushma are doctors and she serves at the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, while he is posted in Delhi.

 The couple married on June 11, 1997 but Sushma moved to her parent’s place in Pune for delivery of their son Sudheer, born on August 16, 1999. Post-delivery she suffered a brain haemorrhage and was hospitalized. Dhumal’s parents came to see her and stayed over. His petition said she did not opt for spouse posting, and refused to join him, saying there was no better school for their autistic son. Dhumal filed for divorce in 2006, citing nine grounds for cruelty and desertion. The family court rejected his petition, saying they were not proved.

 Dhumal’s advocate argued they have been staying separately for 12 years and their marriage had broken down irretrievably. But Sushma’s advocate said she wanted the marriage to survive for the “practical purpose” of bringing up Sudheer.

 “He has to be taken to the washroom every half hour. I can’t take him to a male public washroom,” she argued for Sushma.

 His advocate said there was no allegation of cruelty against Dhumal and neither of maltreatment by Sushma of their son. The judges wondered what was the cause for the marriage’s breakdown. “Simply differences, straw by straw, till the last straw on the camel’s back,” he said.

 Dhumal’s advocate then said it was also due to the couple’s cultural differences. He said Sushma’s father called Dhumal’s parents ‘pahadis’ and left no occasion to humiliate and taunt Dhumal and his family. “To call somebody ‘pahadi’ is like calling somebody ‘ghati’, which is indicating the geographical background but is derogatory,” his lawyer said. “People are sensitive about such things,” remarked Justice Kanade.

 Dhumal’s petition said his father-in-law not only called them ‘pahadis‘, which is a “bad word” but also commented on their food habits, saying “they never get enough to eat”. It added that his parents and sister “were driven out” after 40 days. “She did not feel sorry and instead felt proud of what she had done to the petitioner and his parents,” it added. The family court rejected this as cruelty, saying if the father used humiliating words, she could not be blamed. The judges admitted the petition and expedited the final hearing.


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