15 Aug 2023 11:55 AM GMT
The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that if the husband, instead of discharging his family obligations, indulges himself in excessive drinking habit, which deteriorates the family condition, it would naturally lead to mental cruelty to the wife and the entire family including children. The bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice Sanjay S. Agrawal also said that if the children...
The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that if the husband, instead of discharging his family obligations, indulges himself in excessive drinking habit, which deteriorates the family condition, it would naturally lead to mental cruelty to the wife and the entire family including children.
The bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice Sanjay S. Agrawal also said that if the children are born out of wedlock, a man, being the father, cannot shirk his responsibilities especially when the wife is a non-working woman.
With these observations, the Court recently allowed the appeal filed by the wife challenging the Family Court's order rejecting her application seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty.
The couple got married in February 2006 and out of their wedlock, one son and one daughter were born. When their son was 10 years of age and the daughter was 13 years of age, the wife filed a petition before the family court seeking divorce on the grounds of the excessive drinking habit of the husband.
It was her case that her husband used to beat her and sell the entire household goods and due to this habit of consuming excessive alcohol, the condition of the entire family deteriorated. It was further stated that in May 2016, she was assaulted and abused under an intoxicated state by the husband as such she was forced to live along with her two children at her parental home.
It was her further case that initially, an application seeking divorce was filed on similar grounds by her, however, during such proceeding, the husband promised that he would leave the drinking habit and would mend his behaviour and would not torture the appellant/wife, she withdre the petition but her husband did not change his attitude.
The husband did not enter his appearance before the Family Court (as well as before the HC) and instead, he sent a written statement and denied the plaint allegations contending that because of the behaviour of the wife, he was constrained to stay apart and the wife used to extend threat as also mental cruelty was committed on him.
Persuing the statement of the wife, the Court noted that many allegations of cruelty arose because of the excessive drinking habits of the husband and since, there was no cross-examination to the aforesaid facts, therefore, in the absence of any cross-examination, the Court said, the averments made by the wife would be deemed to be an acceptance by the Husband.
"Even otherwise, if the children are born out of wedlock, the respondent being the father cannot shirk his responsibilities specially when the wife is a non-working. It is very natural that the wife would depend upon the husband for her household needs and to upbring her children to give them a good education and life. If the husband instead of discharging of his obligation indulges himself in excessive drinking habit, which deteriorates the family condition, it would naturally lead to mental cruelty to the wife and the entire family including children," the Court noted.
Consequently, the Court held that the husband had caused mental cruelty to the wife and as such, she was entitled for a decree of divorce. Therefore, the HC dissolved the marriage by granting a decree of divorce in favour of the wife.
Regarding the question of grant of alimony to the appellant-wife, the Court, underscoring that if the husband has sufficient means, he is obligated to maintain his wife and children, held that the wife would be entitled to get Rs.15,000/- per month from the appellant/husband towards maintenance, which would be deducted at source from the salary of the appellant, if any received by the husband, or otherwise the amount would be treated to be a charge over the property held by the husband.
With this, the appeal was disposed of.
Case title - P vs. U
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Chh) 26
Click Here To Read/Download Order