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Forcing Husband To Get Separated From His Parents, Amounts To ’Cruelty’: SC [Read Judgment]

Normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income, the Bench said.

The Supreme Court of India in Narendra vs. K.Meena has held that persistent effort of the wife to constrain her husband to be separated from the family constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’ to grant divorce.

The Bench comprising Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice L. Nageswara Rao also held that leveling of absolutely false allegations with regard to extra-marital life and repeated threats to commit suicide would also amount to ‘mental cruelty’. The Supreme Court set aside a High Court judgment which had reversed the Trial court order granting divorce to the husband on ground of cruelty.

Repeated threats to commit suicide

Observing that repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to cruelty, the Court observed: “No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life. The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing.”

Forcing separation from parents

With regard to allegations of cruelty in wife forcing husband to get separated from his parents, the Bench observed: “In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason; she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her…. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income.”

Wild allegation of extra marital affairs

The Court also observed that to suffer an allegation pertaining to one’s character of having an extra-marital affair is quite torturous for any person – be it a husband or a wife.

Restoring the judgment of Trial court and setting aside the High Court judgment, the Bench said: “The behaviour of the wife appears to be terrifying and horrible. One would find it difficult to live with such a person with tranquility and peace of mind. Such torture would adversely affect the life of the husband.”

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

Read the Judgment here.

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  • […] a year later, in Narender v. K.Meena (October 6,2016), the  same bench of Justice Dave and Goel passed another strange order which came as a bolt from the blue […]

  • […] a year later, in Narender v. K.Meena (October 6,2016), the  same bench of Justice Dave and Goel passed another strange order which came as a bolt from the blue […]


    The wife needs to just adjust with the boys parents – is that asking for too much ! Asking the boy to leave his parents is not acceptable – same goes for the boy if he asks the wife to forget her parents! Parents have bought us up – during their old age it is our duty to be there with them (and this does not imply that they need to be taken care of in terms of spending money on them – there are lot of parents who are self sufficient – probably they foresaw such kind of treatment – sad to say )

  • Indian says:

    Dear Supreme / High Court Judges,

    If taking money (dowry) during marriage is CRIME then why not claiming money (alimony /maintainance / compensation) after marriage breakup is consider as Crime ?

    Although every women is now educated and wants equal rights in society,and able to stand on his feet .

    I feel alimony / mtn / compensation should only been consider when wife is illiterate or for child custody upbringing , else each individual is sufficient to stand on his feet. This may lead to avoid false dowry cases, false section 498 etc and also change the thinking of women to get husband hard earned money easily in form of compensation / alimony /mtn towards marriage . No’s. Of cases against false dowry and section 498 increased in Mumbai, thane, nasik NGOs (Manila Hank samiti….etc etc)

    Many women’s have impression of getting married for 5-6 months or minimum 2yrs and then separate ( specially in nasik) and claim for maintain / alimony / stridhan / compensation under mutual consent divorce or else face 498 etc etc…court case… And hence marriage become a business.

    It is a big question for india whether to bring MONEY TERMS between two Soul /family under marriage ? I request all please think that when two individual come together for marriage they do not decide or consider money , they decide their love , affection, commitment to be together under marriage. Then why money terms is considered for uncessfull arrange / love marriages after breakup .

    • Tansukh Paliwal (LLB,CA) says:

      Sir , education is not the sole criteria to decide whether any woman is actually in need of maintenance /Alimony etc or not. Unlike to the TRIPLE talaq system ,somewhere there is fear of Penal Laws whether IPC or Dowry Act , that’s why husband thinks a lot before initiating action for disconnecting the Wed lock. Which many a time avoid the avoidable case of divorce etc.

      Though, honestly we must admit on the same footing that many time such Penal law was wrongly used against the genuine husband.

      But , if any problem occurs in a legal remedy system , then in spite of getting the specific solution , we can not move towards Dissolution of the whole legal remedy system.

      With regards :
      Tansukh Paliwal (LLB,CA)
      9782393193- Rajasthan

  • Aditi says:

    Good article and completely agree to the main point made by you – that the highest court in our country has granted its approval to the fact that the insistence of separation from parents tantamounts to mental cruelty for MEN. For WOMEN it is the normal custom.
    I have read through the reactions of people to this post. I feel that the truth is somewhere between the two extreme points of ‘female killings’ and ‘what’s the big fuss’…A few facts from the case firstly:
    1) SC found that the wife had a issue with her husband spending his income on his other family members and hence wanted to live separately. No other reason for separating was given or found during this case. Plus the lawyer of the wife or the wife was not present for case hearing for more than a couple of times and the SC went ahead with the case.
    2) The couple have been living apart from more than 20 years. Hence court did not find it worthwhile to insist on their resolving the issue or refusing divorce. They were in all aspects , apart from the legal one, divorced
    Hence for THIS particular case granting divorce might seem to be reasonable to the SC. But what I still cannot digest is the fact of sticking to the argument of ‘Indian customs’ and ‘normal expectations from Indian wife’. I agree with some opinions which plainly ask – what is normal? who defines normal?
    I am also amazed at the so called solutions proposed :
    1) Don’t marry (actually if this current brazen attitude to women continues for long, girls might just agree to the solution). Where is the social structure going to go then?
    2) Its ok for women to separate from their parents as they KNOW it from the start whereas it is a shock to men when asked by wife after marriage

    Just because it is a custom, does NOT make a thing right or acceptable. Guys, you are not bringing a wife-cum-bahu-cum-maid in your home for everybody. You are marrying someone so that you can create a beautiful new extension of the family system that you are a part of. Stop taking a women’s acceptance and integration into the boys family for GRANTED. If it fails (God forbid, but it can!) it’s not her fault alone. It’s a collective failure. Don’t send her back to her house like a defective piece on a 15-day trail period. Now THAT’S cruelty.

  • Avinash B. Godase says:

    Very nice judgment no doubt but in our country there are many Colleges where our National Anthem is not compulsory. Our National Anthem is compulsory only up to 12th class but after that it is not compulsory. So it is necessary that our National Anthem must be compulsory in all colleges.

  • Sumit says:

    It is a men or women’s choice to be with their parents or not. A spouse cannot force his her choice on their partner. When such things are forced, the relationship already becomes strained and it is not a happy marriage. Nobody should stay in a unhappy marriage. The problems surface in one form or the other.
    If separation from parents is not good enough reason for divorce then the issue will flare up in some other form such as verbal abuse, domestic violence, denial of conjugal rights or mental torture etc.
    In this regards, this is a landmark judgement which nips the problem in the bud. If husband and wife can’t come to an agreement regarding living with parents then they should part ways and court should facilitate them.
    Please remember that the role of the court starts only when a couple choses to visit it after failing any mutual agreement. The court is not going to come to your house, checking out if you are living with your parents or being allowed to live with your parents.
    If a couple has already failed to come to an agreement and has approached the court then the court should definitely grant divorce.

  • Mariam Ghousuddin says:

    Woman about to burn herself alive….Judge: “poor, tortured little husband…” LOL! And by the way a woman has EVERY RIGHT to live separately with her husband…that being said it does NOT necessaririly amount to financially cutting off the husband’s parents! ..utter rubbish judgement!

    • AnantVijay AryaVrata Joshi says:

      A woman has “EVERY RIGHT” to luve with her husband ….. is half the truth. And half truths atmre nothing but lues in disguise. Here’s the full truth:
      A woman traditionally leaves her family on her wedding day and comes to live with her husband. The husband traditionally lives with his parents and the rest if the family. The woman (bride) joins this new family, the family of the groom, as her new family. Upon doing this, it is unacceptable for the groom and his family to allow the newcomer, the bride, to try to break up the family and take over the husband against husband’s wishes. If she does that, she indulges in immoral behavior. The husband has EVERY RIGHT to continue to live with his family after his wedding!

      There! That’s the complete truth!

  • Theo says:

    So, if a man is forced to separate from his parents, it is cruelty and women are expected by default to forget everything about their own parents. I thought that law was equal for everyone.
    I could have accepted this ruling had the reason for the divorce been cited as mental torture or difference in opinion. But citing separation from parents as a reason sounds ridiculous and is mocking women. Why should a woman be ready to let go of her parents and not a man? I do understand that children should support their parents financially and I even appreciate the laws that punish children who don’t provide monetary support. But both husband and wife has to have a say in whom they live with and what forms a part of their family. This judgment according to me is totally biased and sounds male chauvinistic.

    • Muhammad says:

      The wife knew it in the beginning that she is the one to leave the house of her parents and she got married. If she didn’t accepted then she should have said it in the beginning. In many situations it becomes cruelty when the wife “forces” or tries to intimidate her husband. If the wife talks nicely to get the husband separated from her parents, it can be considered, but still if the parents are relying financially on the son, then the wife should not do such thing as she is only complicating the situation and being selfish.

    • Tigermadhab says:

      The recent a historical land mark judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India against only the grouch and disgruntled lady is accurate which should have done in past. Many husband are still doing self suicide due to their wife’s vindictive attitude and harassment with threatening . Because, the Lord of Supreme ” Shri Krishan” might have given direction to pass the order which is neither gender bias nor discrimination. I salute on this historical landmark judgment.

    • Sumit says:

      It for the husband and wife to decide and court had no say in this matter. However if a couple could not reach an agreement over this issue and decides to approach the court then it means that their marriage is already broken and court has no other option but to legally end what is already broken.
      The judgement doesn’t mean that all the people living separately from parents or being forced to live separately are automatically stands divorced from tomorrow.
      No, is only when a couple decides to go to the court over such matter, then the court’s role begins.

    • CAGS says:

      Feminism is chauvinism. If you would have said both the parents should be equally taken care of that would have been ok. But hypocrisy is my parents should be looked by my brother and husband’s parents -bhad me jay.

  • Durgaiah Mekala says:

    Lacking brought up of in atmosphere of patience to adjust interaction of mind, and in tolerance is the problem from both sides give rise to egoism and stubbornnes to suffer other side and going to court is not correct and lovely making convince each other is the best policy as universal mind.