Denying sex to the spouse for a long time amounts to mental cruelty and is a ground for divorce, the Delhi High Court reiterated on Friday, while hearing a divorce petition.
Refusal of physical relationship was one of the main grounds cited by the high court to grant relief to a 46-year-old man (name concealed) apart from the fact that his wife used to misbehave with his mother and used to visit his boss at the latter’s residence and also at his office to level false complaints against him, thereby, creating a ruckus that forced him to quit his job.
“All these acts, individually as well cumulatively, amount to treating the husband with cruelty,” a Bench of Justice Pratibha Rani and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said, putting an end to the 7-year marriage.
The court’s observations came while it dismissed an appeal filed by the wife against the April 1, 2016, order of a family court that dissolved the marriage on a plea by the husband.
The court had observed that the mental cruelty by the wife was to the extent where it was not possible for the couple to live together.
At the time of marriage on November 21, 2007, while the husband was a divorcee, the wife was 35 years old and unmarried. For two months after the marriage, she refused to indulge in sexual activities on the ground of “medical problem”.
Even during a delayed honeymoon in Shimla in January next year, she did not allow the husband to touch her and threatened to raise alarm or jump from the balcony if he tried to do so.
On return to Delhi after the failed honeymoon, she left in a huff for her home and returned only after three months.
In her defence, the woman said her husband used to drink heavily and inflict cruelty on her “body, mind and soul”.
She also alleged that her husband used to take heavy doses of drugs for depression from which he has been suffering for over 10 years.
“Due to heavy drinking and use of heavy dose of drugs for depression, he was not able to have a proper and healthy physical relationship,” she told the court, adding that she was also upset that he had concealed his earlier marriage.
But the high court did not find merit in her defence.
“The wife also could not rebut the evidence led by the husband to prove the act of mental cruelty being caused by her by visiting his boss at his residence and also at his office and creating a scene there after which he was forced to leave his job,” the court said in the pertinent case.
Citing a 1981 judgment in this regard, the court said “a false complaint of this nature to an employer would certainly amount to mental cruelty as it would bring down the employee, in the eyes of his employer, and would reflect on his career and promotional opportunities. This would certainly play on his mind and affect his mental peace”.
Not the first time
Citing denial of sex as one of the reasons for grant of divorce, the court cited a 2015 judgment of the Supreme Court in Vidhya Viswanathan vs. Kartik Balakrishnan, where it was held that not allowing a spouse for long time to have sexual intercourse by his or her partner, without sufficient reason, itself amounted to mental cruelty to such spouse.
On March 25, 2012, the Delhi High Court had granted divorce to a man who was denied sex on the wedding night itself and for five months, thereafter, after he which he filed for separation, stating "marriage without sex will be an insipid relation”.
Another judgment by the Bombay High Court on January 22, 2014, stated willfully denying sex to one's spouse without any reason is mental cruelty and is a reason for divorce.