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Making Unfounded Allegations/Complaints Against Spouse With A View To Affect His/Her Job Amounts To Causing Mental Cruelty: Bombay High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 Feb 2021 4:46 AM GMT
Making Unfounded Allegations/Complaints Against Spouse With A View To Affect His/Her Job Amounts To Causing Mental Cruelty: Bombay High Court
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"Making wild allegations that the wife and her relatives had secured false caste certificate without attempting to substantiate the said allegations has resulted in causing mental cruelty to the wife": Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench)

Noting that it appears from the conduct of the husband that in one way or the other he intended to prejudice the service of the wife¸ the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) recently upheld the Judgment and Order passed by the Family Court, Nagpur granting decree of divorce in favor of the Wife. The Bench of Justice A. S. Chandurkar and Justice Pushpa V. Ganediwala...

Noting that it appears from the conduct of the husband that in one way or the other he intended to prejudice the service of the wife¸ the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) recently upheld the Judgment and Order passed by the Family Court, Nagpur granting decree of divorce in favor of the Wife.

The Bench of Justice A. S. Chandurkar and Justice Pushpa V. Ganediwala specifically observed,

"…Making of unfounded allegations against the spouse or his/her relatives in the pleadings or making complaints with a view to affect the job of the spouse amounts to causing mental cruelty to the said spouse."

The matter before the Court

An appeal was filed under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 by the husband challenging the grant of decree for divorce passed by the Family Court, Nagpur in Petition No. A-459/2012 on 25th September 2014.

The Facts in brief

The appellant-husband and the respondent-Wife were married on 27th April 2008. Out of the said wedlock, a child was born on 03rd March 2009.

On 14th May 2012, the wife filed Petition No. A459/2012 seeking a divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. In the said proceedings it was alleged that her husband and his family members were ill-treating the respondent-wife physically as well as mentally.

In the written statement filed by the appellant the allegations, as made, were denied and it was specifically pleaded that the respondent-wife and her family members belonged to the 'Rajput' caste but they had obtained spurious caste certificate of belonging to 'Rajput Bhamta' for securing employment.

It was also submitted by the Husband that his wife was suffering from epilepsy and this fact was not disclosed by the family members of the respondent to the family of the appellant before their marriage.

The parties led evidence before the Family Court and after considering the same, the Judge of the Family Court held that the respondent-Wife had proved that the appellant-Husband was treating with her cruelty.

Hence by the impugned judgment, the Family Court proceeded to pass a decree for divorce on the ground of cruelty. Being aggrieved the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court noted that in the written statement filed by the husband, there were no pleadings that the wife was suffering from epilepsy and this fact was raised for the first time during the course of his deposition.

In this backdrop, the Court observed,

"In absence of any pleading in this regard by the husband, there was no occasion for the wife to counter this allegation that she was suffering from epilepsy. It thus remained an allegation raised for the first time in evidence but not proved."

Regarding the Husband's allegations his wife that had obtained job on the basis of spurious Caste Certificates, the Court remarked,

"The husband placed on record newspaper cuttings to indicate that he had made various complaints against the wife to her employer. It is however seen that having made such allegations; it was necessary for the husband to have substantiated the same. This was not done by the husband by leading any evidence in that regard."

The Court also noted that the Judge of the Family Court had considered these unsubstantiated allegations and has proceeded to hold that this conduct of the husband caused mental cruelty to the wife.

The Court further remarked,

"This conduct of the husband of not pleading that the wife was suffering from epilepsy and stating the same for the first time in his deposition as well as making wild allegations that the wife and her relatives had secured false caste certificate without attempting to substantiate the said allegations has resulted in causing mental cruelty to the wife."

The Court also opined that the husband, in one way or the other, intended to prejudice the service of the wife.

Lastly, the Court said,

"The Family Court was justified in granting a decree for divorce to the wife on the ground of cruelty. In the light of aforesaid discussion, we find no merit in the Family Court Appeal No.70/2015."

The same was accordingly dismissed by affirming the impugned judgment.

Recently, this same bench had dismissed an appeal filed by a Husband against the Family Court's Judgment and decree dismissing the husband plea for a decree of divorce ruling that the wife's habit of chewing tobacco alone is not sufficient to grant a decree of divorce.

Noting that if the marriage is dissolved, the children would suffer a great loss, the Bench of Justice Pushpa V. Ganediwala and Justice A. S. Chandurkar ruled that no case is made out by the appellant/husband to disturb the well-reasoned findings of the trial Court.

Case title – Thalraj v. Jyoti [Family Court Appeal No. 70 Of 2015]

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