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Wife Suspecting Husband's Character, Levelling Allegations Of Extra Marital Affair Before His Colleagues Amounts To Cruelty: Madras High Court

Upasana Sajeev
13 July 2022 11:15 AM GMT
Wife Suspecting Husbands Character, Levelling Allegations Of Extra Marital Affair Before His Colleagues Amounts To Cruelty: Madras High Court
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While granting the relief of divorce to a husband on the ground of cruelty by his wife, the Madras High Court recently observed that the act of wife suspecting the character of the husband and making allegations of extra marital affair in the presence of his colleagues would all amount to mental cruelty. The bench of Justice V.M Velumani and Justice S Sounthar observed as...

While granting the relief of divorce to a husband on the ground of cruelty by his wife, the Madras High Court recently observed that the act of wife suspecting the character of the husband and making allegations of extra marital affair in the presence of his colleagues would all amount to mental cruelty.

The bench of Justice V.M Velumani and Justice S Sounthar observed as under:

"The respondent/wife visited the college in which the appellant/husband was working and she created a scene there by connecting the appellant with other female teaching staff in the presence of other staff members and students. Certainly this act of the respondent would amount to mental cruelty within the meaning of Section 13(1)(ia) of Hindu Marriage Act as explained by the Apex Court in the case law A.Jayachandra versus Annel kaur cited supra. We can also add that this act of respondent would certainly cause serious, irreparable injury to the image of the appellant in the minds of his colleagues and students."

The court also noted that the respondent wife had also given police complaint connecting the appellant husband with his female colleagues without specifically naming anybody. Such a police complaint would also amount to cruelty when it is not substantiated by any evidence. The respondent assumed illegal intimacy only because the appellant used to talk with his female colleagues over the phone. Thus, the doubt created in the mind of respondent is nothing but an assumption without any reasonable basis. Viewing the same as mental cruelty, the court also relied on the decision in K.Srinivas Rao v. D.A.Deepa, wherein the Apex Court had observed as under:

"16. Making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations against the spouse or his or her relatives in the pleadings, filing of complaints or issuing notices or news items which may have adverse impact on the business prospect or the job of the spouse and filing repeated false complaints and cases in the Court against the spouse would, in the facts of a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse".

The court also considered the decision in Narendra v. K.Meena, wherein the Supreme Court had held that levelling of absolutely false allegations and that too, with regard to an extra-marital life to be quite serious and that can surely be a cause for mental cruelty.

The respondent had contended that she preferred a complaint only with the good intention of seeking reunion and hence the same cannot be termed as causing mental cruelty. It was also contended that the appellant had not stated specifically the date in which the respondent is alleged to have visited his college and created scene and hence the evidence with regard to that said fact could not be accepted. It was reiterated that the respondent's intention was only to live with her husband and hence no case was made out for granting divorce. The court however was not inclined to accept this view.

The court observed that during the time of separation, the respondent had removed her thali chain. The court opined that tying of Thali Chain was an essential ritual in marriage ceremony and its removal was an unceremonious act. The court observed as under:

The removal of thali chain is often treated as an unceremonious act. We don't say for a moment that removal of thali chain per se sufficient to put an end to the marital knot, but the said act of respondent is a piece of evidence in drawing an inference about the intentions of the parties. The act of respondent in removal of thali chain at the time of separation coupled with various other evidences available on record, compel us to come to a definite conclusion that the parties have no intention to reconcile and continue the marital knot.

The court noted that a coordinate bench in Vallabhi v .R.Rajasabahi had on similar instance held that "the removal of "Thali" by the petitioner/wife can be said to be an act which reflected Mental Cruelty of highest order as it could have caused agony and hurted the sentiments of the respondent".

Thus, the court set aside the order of the Family Judge and granted the decree of divorce in favour of the appellant husband.

Case Title: C Sivakumar v. A Srividhya

Case No: C.M.A.No.3249 of 2017

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 297

Counsel for the Appellants: Mr.S.Subbiah Senior Counsel for M/s.P.Raja

Counsel for the Respondent: Mr.S.Vijayaraghavan

Click here to read/download the judgment

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