A division bench of the Calcutta High Court has ruled that falsely implicating one's husband/ his family in a criminal case, which leads to their arrest and subsistence in jail, amounts to cruelty.
While allowing an appeal for divorce preferred by an aggrieved husband, Justices Samapti Chatterjee and Manojit Mandal observed,
"The respondent/wife, in our opinion, had no intention of living with the husband as would appear from the facts and circumstances of the case and respondent/wife deliberately made wild allegations against the husband and his relatives. Inference can be drawn that the wife had no intention to reside with the husband and her intention was to terminate the matrimonial relationship. Hence such acts of the respondent/wife, specially filing a criminal case and for which her husband and father-in-law languished in the custody amounts to cruelty so as to create an apprehension about life and, thus, it amounts to ground of divorce."
The Appellant/husband had moved the high court against an order of the Additional District Judge, who had declined the Appellant's divorce petition.
He argued that his wife had lodged a false complaint against him and his family under Sections 498A, 406 and 313 of IPC for cruelty and causing miscarriage without her consent. It was further pointed out that on her filing the false complaint, he and his father were arrested and put under nine days police custody for investigation. Later on however, the trial court found that the claim of the respondent/wife was not supported by medical evidence or other material placed on record, and all of them were acquitted.
Nevertheless, tremendous physical hazard and mental agony had been inflicted upon them besides loss of image, reputation and status in the society.
In these circumstances, the High Court reiterated the observations of the Supreme Court in Raj Talreja v. Kavita Talreja, 2017 SCC 194, as under,
"Mere filing of complaints is not cruelty, if there are justifiable reasons to file the complaints. Merely because no action is taken on the complaint or after trial 14 the accused is acquitted may not be a ground to treat such accusations of the wife as cruelty within the meaning of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for short "the Act"). However, if it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse levelling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty."
Finding the case to be a square fit to the observations made in the latter portion of the paragraph, the bench allowed the appeal and dissolved their marriage by a decree of divorce.
Case Title: Sri Suchitra Kumar Singha Roy v. Smt. Arpita Singha Roy
Case No.: FA 135/2014
Quorum: Justice Samapti Chatterjee and Justice Manojit Mandal
Appearance: Advocates Ashis Bagchi, Indrani Chatterjee and Kushal Chatterjee (for Appellant); Advocates Srijib Chakraborty, Debabrata Roy and S. Das (for Respondent)
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