Incidents of cruelty alleged should be of recurring nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the filing of the divorce petition, the court said.
Few isolated incidents of long past and that too found to have been condoned due to compromising behaviour of the parties cannot constitute an act of cruelty to grant divorce, the Supreme Court has observed in Suman Singh vs. Sanjay Singh.
A bench comprising Justice RK Agrawal and Justice AM Sapre observed that incidents of cruelty alleged should be of recurring nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the filing of the divorce petition.
“A petition seeking divorce on some isolated incidents alleged to have occurred 8-10 years prior to filing of the date of petition cannot furnish a subsisting cause of action to seek divorce after 10 years or so of occurrence of such incidents,” the court said while setting aside the divorce granted to the husband.
Almost nine incidents were projected in the divorce petition as instances of cruelty by the wife towards husband.
One of the grounds projected as cruelty was that the wife misbehaved with him in front of his office colleagues.
The court said no decree for divorce on one isolated incident can be passed.
On this context, the bench said: “Merely because both exchanged some verbal conversation in presence of others would not be enough to constitute an act of cruelty unless it is further supported by some incidents of alike nature. It was not so.”
The husband, who had sought the divorce, was a ‘caretaker’ in the Delhi government. The court, setting aside the divorce granted to him, said: “He must be the "Caretaker" of his own family that being his first obligation and at the same time attend to his Government duties to maintain his family.”
“We hope and trust that the parties would now realise their duties and obligations against each other as also would realise their joint obligations as mother and father towards their grown up daughters. Both should, therefore, give quite burial to their past deeds/acts and bitter experiences and start living together and see that their daughters are well settled in their respective lives. Such reunion, we feel, would be in the interest of all family members in the long run and will bring peace, harmony and happiness,” the court said while allowing the plea of the wife seeking restitution of conjugal rights.
Read the Judgment here.