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Bombay HC Upholds Divorce On Grounds Of Cruelty Towards Husband Whose Wife Filed False 498A Case [Read Judgment]

The Bombay High Court has upheld the order of a family court dissolving a marriage between a couple who had been married since 1987, on grounds of cruelty.

The family court, in its order dated May 26, 2008, allowed the husband’s divorce petition on grounds of cruelty and desertion by the wife under Sections 10 (ix) and (x) of the Divorce Act, 1869.

However, the grant of divorce on ground of desertion was set aside by the high court. Thus, the order has been partially modified.

A bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice AA Sayyed upheld the family court’s rejection of the wife’s application for maintenance.

On January 7, 2005, wife filed an FIR against him under Sections 498 A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC.

She alleged that husband stole some gold ornaments from her and demanded money to buy a new car.

She further alleged that he left their matrimonial home at his own will.

On January 10, 2005, pursuant to the FIR, husband was arrested from his parents’ house in Goa and brought back to Mumbai.

He spent a week in jail and was released on bail.

However, in her cross-examination, wife admitted to filing the FIR in order to bring back her husband and that the charges were false.

Justice Sayed who authored the judgment, observed:

“In our view, the aforementioned act of the wife in lodging a false Criminal Complaint under section 498-A against her husband pursuant to which the Police arrested him from his parent’s house at Goa and he was incarcerated, was sufficient in itself to grant decree for dissolution of marriage to the husband on the ground of cruelty by the wife.”

It noted how wife had also admitted to falsely deposing that husband was residing in another flat in Chembur with another woman. Thus, it was held by the bench that wife’s statement and the statements of witnesses during examination were not reliable.

The court concluded that the marriage between “the husband and wife has irretrievably broken down” and upheld the grant of divorce on ground of cruelty: “We are of the view that the parties cannot reasonably be expected to live together. We are conscious of the fact that irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not a ground to seek divorce. However, as held by the Supreme Court in K.Srinivas Rao v/s. D.A.Deepa, it is one of the weighty circumstances for consideration in granting a decree for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty. We find that the claim of the wife, despite various serious allegations made against her husband, including that of having extra-marital affairs, that she wants her husband to come and stay with her is not at all bona fide. She has made wild allegations against her husband, which she has not been able to substantiate. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we are unable to brush aside the case of the husband that due to the behaviour and conduct of his wife, he was fed up with life and despite having a job with HPCL, he decided to take voluntary retirement and settle in Goa with his parents.”

Read the Judgment here.

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