Obligatory for a woman to serve her Mother-in-law


The Jharkhand High Court has observed that in Indian culture, a married woman must serve her elderly mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law. A woman cannot put pressure on her husband to stay away from his mother and grandmother without reasonable cause, the High Court said giving its verdict in a family dispute case.

Woman to serve her mother-in-law

The obligation for a woman to serve her elderly mother-in-law is a matter influenced by cultural, familial, and societal norms, and it can vary across different regions and communities. In many cultures, there is a traditional expectation that daughters-in-law will take on caregiving responsibilities, including assisting and supporting their elderly in-laws.

It’s important to note that legal obligations related to caregiving can vary and are often influenced by personal laws, customs, and family expectations rather than formal legal requirements. In many cases, these expectations are rooted in cultural and social traditions rather than explicit legal mandates.


In India, for instance, family relationships and expectations of caregiving are often governed by personal laws based on religion, and the Hindu Succession Act, for example, does not specifically address the obligation of a daughter-in-law to serve her elderly mother-in-law.

It’s crucial to approach this matter with sensitivity, recognizing that family dynamics, cultural expectations, and individual circumstances can vary widely. In modern societies, there is an increasing emphasis on individual autonomy and personal choices, and caregiving responsibilities may be negotiated and shared among family members based on mutual understanding and respect.

If you have specific concerns or are facing challenges related to family expectations, it may be helpful to engage in open communication with family members, seek advice from trusted elders or religious leaders, and consider consulting with legal professionals for guidance on any relevant laws or rights that may apply in your specific context.

Jharkhand High court

Justice Subhash Chand was hearing a plea by one Rudra Narayan Rai against an order by a family court, which directed him to pay a sum of Rs 30,000 per month to his wife and Rs 15,000 to his son

The High Court held that the woman was not entitled to maintenance as she refused to live with her husband without reasonable cause. However, it increased the son’s maintenance allowance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.

The court referred to the fundamental duties mentioned under Article 51-A in the Constitution and the mythological texts Yajurveda and Manusmriti.

Referring to Article 51-A, the Judge said it is a fundamental duty of a citizen “to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.


“It is the culture in India to serve the old aged mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law, as the case may be, by the wife, to preserve this culture,” the court said.

Quoting a verse from Manusmriti, the court said: “A family where women remain unhappy… is bound to be destroyed. And a family where women are always happy is bound to prosper forever…”

Rudra Narayan Rai’s wife Piyali Rai Chatterjee had alleged that her husband and in-laws were cruel to her and tortured her for dowry.

On the other hand, Rudra Narayan Rai said that his wife pressured him to stay away from his mother and grandmother.

He told the court that the wife often quarreled with the two old women of the house and kept going to her parent’s house without informing him.

After hearing both parties, the High Court said that the evidence on record indicated that the wife was pressurizing the husband to live separately from his mother and grandmother without any valid reason.


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