14 Sep 2023 1:47 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that a husband living with another woman, after long years of separation from his wife with no possibility of re-union during the pendency of the divorce petition, cannot disentitle him from seeking divorce on proven grounds of cruelty by the wife.A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said that the allegations of...
The Delhi High Court has observed that a husband living with another woman, after long years of separation from his wife with no possibility of re-union during the pendency of the divorce petition, cannot disentitle him from seeking divorce on proven grounds of cruelty by the wife.
A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said that the allegations of cruelty made in criminal cases by the wife should be substantiated in divorce proceedings.
The bench added that repeated complaints against the husband with unexplained allegations to various agencies cannot be termed as anything but cruelty.
The court made the observations while upholding a family court order granting divorce to the husband on the ground of cruelty by wife under Section 13(1)(ia) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Dismissing the appeal moved by the wife, the bench said that while the parties got married in December 2003, their marriage became a bed of rocks from the first day instead of happiness.
The husband claimed that his wife was a quarrelsome lady who did not show any respect to his visiting relatives and also shied from doing the household works. In this backdrop, the bench noted that the wife’s quarrelsome nature got manifested during the court proceedings in 2011 in an FIR registered by her where she had threatened the husband and his family members that she would send him to jail and kill him.
“It has been rightly argued that a person who does not shy in threatening and quarrelling with the respondent-husband and his family members in the open Court, her conduct as deposed by the appellant-wife at the matrimonial home can very well be accepted. These incidents clearly prove that the appellant-wife and her family members were quarrelsome and the appellant-wife had inflicted physical cruelty upon the respondent- husband,” the court said.
As the husband claimed that the wife denied him conjugal relationship, the court said that there was no serious rebuttal of the said testimony which reflects that there was breakdown of conjugal relationship which is the bedrock of any matrimonial relationship.
The bench also noted that the wife made a complaint after filing of the Divorce Petition by the husband in 2007 and that the FIR under Section 498A of IPC was registered much after the parties separated.
“It is no doubt true that every person has a right to seek remedy by resorting to the State machinery and simpliciter filing a complaint under Section 498-A IPC would not amount to cruelty, but it cannot be overlooked that various allegations of cruelty had been made by the appellant-wife against the respondent-husband which have not been proved by her in the present proceedings. Even in the criminal trial, the respondent-husband and his family members have been acquitted,” the court said.
While the wife alleged that the husband had got married, the court said that neither any specific details nor any proof whatsoever of the alleged second marriage was tendered in the complaints made by her.
“Even if it is accepted that the respondent-husband has started living with another woman and has two sons during the pendency of Divorce Petition, that in itself, cannot be termed as cruelty in the peculiar circumstances of this case when the parties have not been co-habiting since 2005,” the court said.
It added, “As such long years of separation with no possibility of re-union, the respondent- husband may have found his peace and comfort by living with another woman, but, that is a subsequent event during the pendency of the Divorce Petition and cannot disentitle the husband from divorce from the wife on the proven grounds of cruelty.”
Case Title: X v. Y
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 831
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