9 Oct 2022 4:25 PM GMT
Stressing that motherhood is innate, natural, and fulfilling to every woman, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that forcing a wife to terminate her pregnancy against her will constitutes cruelty.With this observation, the Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta decreed the petition for divorce filed by a wife under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act and thus,...
Stressing that motherhood is innate, natural, and fulfilling to every woman, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that forcing a wife to terminate her pregnancy against her will constitutes cruelty.
With this observation, the Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta decreed the petition for divorce filed by a wife under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act and thus, dissolved the marriage of the parties solemnized in 2012 by decree of divorce.
The bench of Justice Bahri and Justice Gupta noted that the wife was forced to terminate her pregnancy against her will at the insistence of her husband and thereafter, she could not conceive again due to gynecological complications, which, in Court's view, constituted cruelty.
The case in brief
The parties got married as per Hindu rites and ceremonies in August 2012 and the wife started living with her husband and his family members. She alleged that she was constantly tortured physically, mentally, and emotionally by her husband and his family members as they pestered her incessantly demanding more dowry.
Further, she alleged that in October 2012 she got pregnant, however, her husband forcibly got her pregnancy terminated stating that he had no means to bring up the child. Even after the termination of her pregnancy, she was not allowed to rest as was required for recovery, and though she felt very weak still the respondent and his mother made her work due to which the appellant developed gynecological complications due to which she was not able to conceive again.
She also stated about certain events that caused mental agony to her in her matrimonial home. Finally, in 2015 she was turned out of the matrimonial home, and thus, alleging that she was treated with cruelty and her husband deserted her, she filed a petition under Section 13 of the Act before the Family Court, Hisar, which was dismissed. Challenging the same, she moved to the High Court.
High Court's observations
At the outset, the Court noted that the allegations put forth by the wife that she could not conceive due to gynecological complications developed after being forced to terminate the pregnancy were well supported by the medical records as in 2014 she had gone to the Fertility Centres where she underwent treatment because she 'wanted to conceive'.
The Court further noted that she had made the allegations in that regard before the family court as well, however, the husband's denial to the very serious allegations was lackadaisical and limited, without any specifics.
Moreover, the Court noted that the conduct of the parties in the present case showed that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties, rendering the marriage, a mere legal fiction. Consequently, taking note of the observations made by the Supreme Court in the case of Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli', (2006) 4 SCC 558, the Court allowed the appeal of the wife and decreed the petition for divorce filed by her under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
Case title - Renuka v. Shelly Kumar [FAO 6740 of 2018]
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 268
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