7 Sep 2023 12:20 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court recently upheld a decree of divorce granted by the trial court in favour of a husband, who claimed divorce on the grounds of ‘cruelty’ suffered by him at the hands of his wife.In dismissing the appeal of the wife for restoration of marital rights, a division bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya held:The FIR lodged by the...
The Calcutta High Court recently upheld a decree of divorce granted by the trial court in favour of a husband, who claimed divorce on the grounds of ‘cruelty’ suffered by him at the hands of his wife.
In dismissing the appeal of the wife for restoration of marital rights, a division bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya held:
The FIR lodged by the appellant/wife is in the nature of a counterblast as because the same has been filed after the initiation of the matrimonial suit for divorce. The acts of cruelty alleged by the husband against the wife have not been condoned by the former. This Court cannot also lose sight of the fact that elderly members of the husband’s family stood discharged from the criminal proceeding having regard to the frivolity of the charges brought against them. It needs no iteration either that the parties are continuing with their corrosive and divergent courses without any whisper of reconciliation.
These observations came in an appeal filed by the appellant/wife praying for the trial courts decree of divorce passed in a matrimonial suit filed by the respondent/husband under the meaning of Section 13(1a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, be overturned.
Appellants argued that the wife had expressed her intention to live with the husband ever since marriage, but the respondent/husband had refused to live with her. It was submitted that the appellant still intended to continue marital ties with the respondent, since she never got the chance to live a proper married life with her husband.
It was submitted that the appellant had filed a case against the respondent and his family members under inter alia Section 498A of the IPC, and the Trial Court had erroneously decreed the matrimonial suit on the basis of the fact that the aforesaid case, where many relatives had been granted bail due to lack of evidence, was frivolous and proof of mental cruelty on the husband.
Counsel argued that since the 498A IPC case was still pending, the trial court could not have assumed that cruelty on part of the husband had been disproved, and that the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage taken by one party or the usual ‘wear and tear’ of married life, could not be a ground for divorce.
Respondents on the other hand argued that the wife had not only inflicted cruelty on the husband but also her in-laws and other relatives from “the inception of the marriage” and that the husband continuously suffered from torture that he couldn’t disclose to anyone else.
Counsel pointed out that the wife had filed a 498A IPC case against the husband and his relatives, in which his elderly parents had to obtain bail, stressing on the fact that other relatives had also been discharged due to no evidence being found against them. It was argued that the aforesaid case was lodged by the wife after the husband had filed the present matrimonial suit as a “counterblast made out of vengeance.”
Upon hearing both parties, the Court examined the question of whether the wife had inflicted any cruelty on the husband, and whether the same would be sufficient to allow the Court to grant a decree of divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.
It was observed that the parties were married in June 2008, and resided together till January 2009, “for a maximum period of 7 months, but were at loggerheads for more than 14 years.”
Court noted that even in the 7 months of cohabitation, the parties had fought amongst themselves, and that none of their time together had been amicable for both parties.
It was observed that allegations and counter-allegations came from both parties, dragging their relatives into the mix, and that the husband had also been accused of having an extra-marital affair by the wife, “which doesn’t bring together the warring parties, but instead forms a gulf of difference between the two.”
Accordingly, the Court upheld the decree for divorce, and concluded:
From the aspect of consumption of food and liquor to the aspect of extra marital affair and torture both physical and mental, pressurising for dowry prior to marriage and pressurising for money after marriage have all come into the forefront. In the view of this Court both the parties have not even for few days resided together peacefully. To the contrary the parties have allegations against the other from the period starting prior to the marriage and which is still now continuing. In the backdrop of the above discussion, the appeal fails. This Court finds no reason to interfere with the Judgment and Order passed by the Trial Court.
Coram: Justice Rajasekhar Mantha and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya
Case: Mrs. Nidhi Kedia Nee Chokhani v Sri Abhyudaya Kedia
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 267
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