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Bombay HC Dismisses Appeal By Man For Divorce On Grounds Of Cruelty, Wife’s ‘Mental Disorder’ [Read Judgment]

Nitish Kashyap
10 July 2017 11:50 AM GMT
Bombay HC Dismisses Appeal By Man For Divorce On Grounds Of Cruelty, Wife’s ‘Mental Disorder’ [Read Judgment]
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The Bombay High Court has dismissed an appeal by a man who challenged a judgment by the family court of Bandra, wherein his petition for divorce was rejected.

A bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing the appeal wherein the grounds for seeking divorce were cruelty and that the respondent wife has been “suffering intermittently from mental disorder” and, therefore, the appellant husband “cannot be reasonably expected to live with her”.

Case Background

The marriage was solemnised on July 6, 1994. At the time, appellant was a divorcee with two children from his previous marriage.

According to the appellant husband, he had informed his wife before the marriage that if a situation were to arise that he had to choose between her and his children, he would choose his children. His wife agreed to this and promised to take care of his children.

The respondent wife has been an air-hostess with Air India for 20 years and was based out of Delhi, while the appellant husband was based out of Mumbai. So, the respondent would come to Mumbai at regular intervals.

Now, the appellant husband claimed that his wife started quarrelling with him from the very next day of their marriage and used to criticise his children. According to him, she used to pick a quarrel with him over trivial matters and sometimes would not speak to him for months.

He also claims that she used to call him at odd hours and abuse him.

In a particular incident, he claimed that his wife threatened to kill herself while she was holding a knife. He had to get the help of a watchman to pacify her.

The appellant husband claims that due to the “violent, abnormal and cruel” behaviour of the respondent, he finally took his wife to a psychiatrist on April 14, 2000.

The psychiatrist gave her some medicines and asked them to return in a few days. However, the respondent refused to go a second time.

Denying the allegations made by her husband, the respondent wife stated in a written statement that she suffered from a thyroid gland disorder, yet she was still able to conceive in 1992, but her husband prevailed upon her to get an abortion. This, she said, caused her tension and mental stress, which led to a hormonal imbalance. She also claimed that the doctor had told her husband to keep a happy atmosphere at home.

What Court Said

Noting that the appellant husband chose not to examine either the watchman or the psychiatrist to prove his claim, the court questioned the genuineness of these claims.

The court said:“The appellant has not adduced evidence of crucial witnesses, the aforesaid conduct of the appellant creates a serious doubt about the correctness of the allegations of cruelty. In any event, the said conduct amounts to condonation by the appellant of the alleged acts of cruelty on the part of the respondent.”

Acknowledging the fact that the marriage between both parties had “irretrievably broken down”, it observed:“It is true that the marriage between the parties seems to have irretrievably broken down. However, in view clause (a) of sub Section (1) of Section 34 of the Act (Special Marriages Act, 1954) unless one of the grounds for dissolution of marriage set out in Section 27 is established, the Court is powerless to pass a decree of divorce. All the decisions of the Apex Court relied upon by the appellant wherein marriage was dissolved on the basis of irretrievable breakdown have been rendered by exercising the power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, we are unable to pass a decree of divorce on the said ground.”

Read the Judgment Here

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