Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Divorce on Cruelty Grounds in India

Grounds For Divorce in India.

In so many Judgments the Hon"ble Supreme Court and Hon"ble High Court has dissolved the marriage on the grounds of cruelty.

for example if the girl has filed a false complaint against the whole family members of the husbands and if the concerned magistrate has discharged the family members in the case of 498a IPC then its a cruelty upon the husband and good grounds for dissolved the marriage.

please see the recent judgment passed by the Hon"ble Delhi High Court in the matter of

See the whole Judgment:

MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 1 of 11
MAT APP No. 98/2010
Judgment delivered on: 19.11.2010
Smt. Nitu Aggarwal ..... Appellant
Through: Mr.Rajiv Shukla, Adv.
Sh.Gireesh Gupta ..... Respondent
Through: Mr.Gyan Prakash, Adv.
1. Whether the Reporters of local papers may
be allowed to see the judgment? Yes
2. To be referred to Reporter or not? Yes
3. Whether the judgment should be reported
in the Digest? Yes
1. By this appeal filed under Section 28 of the
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 the appellant seeks to challenge
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 2 of 11
the judgment and decree dated 27.4.2010, passed by the
learned Additional District Judge, Delhi, whereby a decree
of judicial separation was passed.
2. Brief facts of the case relevant for deciding the
present appeal are that the parties got married on 5.11.03
at Noida according to Hindu rites and ceremonies and a
female child was born out of wedlock on 14.9.04. The
matrimonial relations between the parties were stained
right from the very beginning of their married life and
distressed by the behaviour of the appellant, the respondent
filed a petition under section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act,
1955 for a decree of judicial separation on the ground of
cruelty which vide judgment dated 27.4.10 was granted.
Feeling aggrieved with the same, the appellant has filed the
present appeal.
3. Mr. Rajiv Shukla, counsel for the appellant
submits that the learned trial court has wrongly assumed
that the appellant had consumed some poisonous substance
with a view to commit suicide. The contention of the
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 3 of 11
counsel for the appellant is that the respondent used to
compel and force the appellant to consume certain
medicines under the pretext that the same were good for
her health and for the child in the womb. Counsel further
submits that the respondent also failed to prove on record
that an attempt of suicide by the appellant was made with
a view to coerce the respondent to accede to any of her
demands and in the absence of any such assertion on the
part of the respondent, no logic or rationale behind the
alleged attempt of suicide by the appellant could be
established by the respondent. Explaining the contradiction
on the part of the appellant in the FIR lodged by her under
Section 498A/406/34 IPC, counsel submits that even if the
appellant in the said FIR took a stand that the respondent
had given her something to drink, the same will not make
any difference vis-à-vis her stand in the matrimonial
proceedings where she had stated that the respondent used
to administer some medicines. Counsel thus submits that
there was a minor variation in the stand of the appellant
which would not amount to any kind of self contradiction on
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 4 of 11
her part. Counsel thus states that there is clear infirmity and
perversity in the findings of the learned trial court on this
aspect and the same should be set aside.
4. Assailing the impugned judgment on another
ground, counsel submits that the learned trial court has
wrongly observed that the implication of the relatives of the
respondent is in itself an act of cruelty against the
respondent. The contention of the counsel for the appellant
is that the mere fact that the said relatives were not charge
sheeted by the police would not show that the allegations
leveled by the appellant against the relatives of the
respondent were false. The contention of the counsel is
that at the stage of framing of charges, it would be for the
concerned Criminal Court to see whether based on the
allegations leveled by the appellant in her criminal
complaint such relatives are required to be proceeded
against or not.
5. Counsel for the respondent on the other hand
refutes the submissions made by the counsel for the
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 5 of 11
appellant and submits that the present appeal deserves to
be dismissed at the admission stage itself as the appellant
has failed to point out any material illegality or perversity in
the order passed by the learned trial court.
6. I have heard learned counsel for the parties.
7. The petition under Section 10 of the Hindu
Marriage Act was preferred by the respondent husband so
as to seek a decree of judicial separation from the appellant
on the ground of cruelty. The marriage between the parties
was solemnized according to Hindu rites and ceremonies on
5.11.2003 and both the parties are well educated
academically. One of the allegations leveled by the
respondent against the appellant is that the appellant had
consumed some poisonous drink on 18.8.2004 and her
condition became very critical in the morning of 18.8.2004
and she was immediately taken to Kailash Hospital, Noida
and it is only on account of the timely action taken by the
respondent and his parents that life of the appellant and
the unborn child could be saved. It is an admitted case of
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 6 of 11
the parties that subsequent to the filing of the said petition
by the respondent husband the appellant wife got
registered one criminal complaint under Section
498A/406/34 IPC vide FIR No. 498/2005 not only against
the respondent but his parents and some other relatives as
well. Some of the relatives implicated by the appellant in the
said complaint case were the residents of far off places like
Saharanpur and Baroda. It is also an admitted case of the
parties that the relatives of the respondent were not chargesheeted
by the police as no incriminating material was
found against them during the course of investigation. The
respondent has taken this false implication of his relatives
on the part of the appellant as a ground of cruelty. Learned
trial court has also granted decree of judicial separation in
favour of the respondent and against the appellant taking
the said two grounds clearly establishing the cruel conduct
of the appellant towards the respondent. Before the learned
trial court as well as before this court the appellant has
failed to disclose as to what kind of medicines were being
administered by the respondent to her during the stage of
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 7 of 11
pregnancy on the pretext of the same being good for her
health and that of the unborn child. It is incomprehensible
to accept the argument that the appellant who is a well
qualified lady having a degree of Chartered Accountancy
and Company Secretary would take the medicines without
even knowing what kind of medicines she was taking. The
appellant has also clearly taken a contradictory stand in
her criminal complaint, wherein she stated that she was
given something to drink by the respondent and his parents
on the pretext that it is good for her pregnancy. The
appellant has also not denied the fact that she was admitted
to Kailash Hospital in the morning of 18.8.2004 where she
was treated after having consumed some poisonous
substance. It is also not in dispute that the appellant did not
lodge any police complaint against the respondent or his
parents complaining about administration of some
poisonous medicines by her husband or his parents. The
learned trial court has duly taken into consideration all
these circumstances into account and thus has arrived at a
finding that such an attempt by the appellant to commit
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 8 of 11
suicide is an act of cruelty on her part upon her husband.
8. The concept of cruelty is of wide amplitude and has not
been defined in the act. The Apex Court through various
judicial pronouncements has explained the concept and
scope of cruelty. It would be useful here to refer to the
judgment of the Apex Court in the case of A. Jayachandra
vs. Aneel Kaur AIR 2005 SC 534 where it was held as
“12. To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be
"grave and weighty" so as to come to the conclusion that the
petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the
other spouse. It must be something more serious than "ordinary
wear and tear of married life". The conduct, taking into
consideration the circumstances and background has to be
examined to reach the conclusion whether the conduct
complained of amounts to cruelty in the matrimonial law.
Conduct has to be considered, as noted above, in the background
of several factors such as social status of parties, their education,
physical and mental conditions, customs and traditions. It is
difficult to lay down a precise definition or to give exhaustive
description of the circumstances, which would constitute cruelty.
It must be of the type as to satisfy the conscience of the Court
that the relationship between the parties had deteriorated to
such an extent due to the conduct of the other spouse that it
would be impossible for them to live together without mental
agony, torture or distress, to entitle the complaining spouse to
secure divorce. Physical violence is not absolutely essential to
constitute cruelty and a consistent course of conduct inflicting
immeasurable mental agony and torture may well constitute
cruelty within the meaning of Section 10 of the Act. Mental
cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy
and abusive language leading to constant disturbance of mental
peace of the other party.
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 9 of 11
13. The Court dealing with the petition for divorce on the ground
of cruelty has to bear in mind that the problems before it are
those of human beings and the psychological changes in a
spouse's conduct have to be borne in mind before disposing of
the petition for divorce. However, insignificant or trifling, such
conduct may cause pain in the mind of another. But before the
conduct can be called cruelty, it must touch a certain pitch of
severity. It is for the Court to weigh the gravity. It has to be seen
whether the conduct was such that no reasonable person would
tolerate it. It has to be considered whether the complainant
should be called upon to endure as a part of normal human life.
Every matrimonial conduct, which may cause annoyance to the
other, may not amount to cruelty. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels
between spouses, which happen in day-to-day married life, may
also not amount to cruelty. Cruelty in matrimonial life may be of
unfounded variety, which can be subtle or brutal. It may be
words, gestures or by mere silence, violent or non-violent.”
Cruelty therefore is to be garnered taking the cumulative
effect of all the factors into play. The parties are well
educated and such an attempt to end her life by the
appellant would certainly cause mental agony to the
respondent. It would aggravate the case when the appellant
tried to commit suicide in the state of pregnancy. A highly
educated lady claiming that she was administered poisonous
substance which she was unaware of does not help her case.
No doubt in the petition the respondent did not give any
specific reason or cause behind such suicidal attempt but
it goes without saying that such an act even in the absence
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 10 of 11
of any reason certainly would constitute an act of cruelty on
the respondent husband.
9. Even on the second argument of the counsel for
the appellant, this court does not find any merit in it. The
complaint under Section 498A/406/34 IPC was lodged by the
appellant during the pendency of the said petition filed by
the respondent for judicial separation. In her complaint the
appellant roped in various relatives of the respondent which
include his uncle and aunt residing at Saharanpur and
brother and sister in law residing at Baroda. The learned
trial court is right in taking a view that false implication of
relatives who were residing at far off places from the
matrimonial home of the appellant and against whom there
are no specific allegations of cruelty in itself is an act of
cruelty by the appellant towards her husband. However, as
these relatives were not charge-sheeted by the police the
same would clearly show that the police did not find any
incriminating material against these relatives during the
investigation and this by itself is sufficient enough to show
MAT APP No. 98/2010 Page 11 of 11
that the appellant had roped in and implicated all these
relatives with vengeance to cause unnecessary harassment
to them and such act certainly would cause cruelty to the
husband with whom they are related. Implicating the
relatives with a motive to harass the relatives, residing in
different parts of the country, is nothing but a ruthless act of
harassment. Therefore, the respondent husband has
successfully proved cruelty on the part of the appellant on
both the counts.
10. In the light of the above, this court does not find
any infirmity or illegality in the findings arrived at by the
learned trial court. There is no merit in the present appeal
and the same is hereby dismissed at the stage of admission
November 19, 2010 KAILASH GAMBHIR, J

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