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Mental Cruelty: Delhi HC Dissolves Marriage On Ground That Husband Treated Wife As 'Overseas Wife' For Temporary Companionship

Nupur Thapliyal
4 Jan 2022 1:30 PM GMT
Mental Cruelty: Delhi HC Dissolves Marriage On Ground That Husband Treated Wife As Overseas Wife For Temporary Companionship
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The Delhi High Court on Monday dissolved marriage between a couple on the ground of cruelty, observing that the husband treated the wife as his 'overseas wife', only to use her as a temporary companion and that their marital bond was beyond repair. Observing that continuation of such a matrimonial bond is sufficient to cause immense mental cruelty to the wife, Justice Vipin Sanghi...

The Delhi High Court on Monday dissolved marriage between a couple on the ground of cruelty, observing that the husband treated the wife as his 'overseas wife', only to use her as a temporary companion and that their marital bond was beyond repair.

Observing that continuation of such a matrimonial bond is sufficient to cause immense mental cruelty to the wife, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that there was no reason to keep the moribund marriage alive.

"The objective of the institution of marriage is to bring two souls together, who embark on the adventurous journey called life. They share experiences, smiles, sorrows, achievements and struggles. They uplift and support each other in all situations with their emotional, mental and physical presence. On this journey of life, they create personal, social and spiritual bonds, everlasting memories, future plans, through which they co-exist in the society," the Court said.

"An essential aspect of marriage is being present in each other's life, physically and emotionally. It is not to say that every marriage, where the couple stays apart from each other for work or other obligations consensually, is a broken one. However, a marriage where there is neither sharing of emotions, nor of dreams, joys, sorrows, memories (happy or sad), is merely a legal bond," it added.

The wife had challenged the Family Court order wherein her petition filed under sec. 13(1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for grant of divorce from the husband on the grounds of cruelty was dismissed.

The couple got married in 2010. It was the wife's case that soon after marriage, the Respondent husband left for Canada for his job and he returned to India on few occasions, when he was physically, mentally and sexually abusive towards her.

The husband on the other hand in his written statement denied the allegations, claiming that their marriage was a happy one and it was due to the pressure from the wife's family, that she was refusing to reside with him, as her family was against their inter-caste marriage.

The aspects for consideration before the Court was whether the long periods of continuous separation between the parties led to the matrimonial bond being breached beyond repair, which tantamounted to cruelty and whether the conduct of the husband before, or after the filing of the Divorce Petition was such as to cause mental cruelty to the wife to such an extent, that she cannot be reasonably expected to live with him.

"In the present case the parties have never lived together for any significant length of time, since inception of their marriage. It appears, that the Respondent treated the Appellant as his overseas wife, only to use her as a temporary companion, and to have someone to serve him when he came to India on short visits after yearly gaps. In the past seven years, after institution of the divorce proceedings, the parties have admittedly not communicated with each other," the Court said.

The Court was of the view that the period of separation and the deciduous meetings of the parties were enough to show that their matrimonial bond was broken and was beyond repair.

"After the marriage, which is now 11 years old, the parties lived together only for a few days together in Lucknow, Agra, Delhi, Nainital and Mumbai, when the Respondent came back from Canada on vacations. In the present case, there is neither a matrimonial home, nor the possibility of ever having one. The damage to the marriage is evident. These instances do not amount to ordinary wear and tear of day-to-day life," the Court added.

The Court specifically objected to the averment raised by the husband against the wife's father wherein he had alleged that her father, upon learning of the marriage of the parties, had said that the wife should be gang-raped for the kind of act she has performed and that she should have been aborted at the time of birth.

Noting that attribution of such statements to the wife's father would constitute character assassination of her father, the Court said thus:

"For any daughter, it would be extremely painful and torturous to be told that her father feels for her in the manner alleged by the respondent. Any self-respecting daughter would find it difficult to continue to have anything to do with a man, who has made such scandalous allegations against her father. The relationship between a father and his daughter is very delicate, loving and pure. The allegation made by the Respondent against the Appellant's father seeks to vitiate that relationship".

The Court therefore concluded that the said conduct of the husband would also have caused immense mental cruelty to the wife, which was sufficient for her to reasonably conclude that she cannot continue her relationship with him.

"In view of the aforesaid, we allow the appeal, set aside the impugned judgment and decree, and dissolve the marriage between the parties by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty contained in Section 13(1)(ia)of the Hindu Marriage Act. Decree sheet be prepared accordingly," the Court ordered.

Case Title: VANDANA SINGH v. SATISH KUMAR

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 4

Click Here To Read Order 



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