The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently dismissed the appeal preferred by a woman, aggrieved by a decree of divorce granted in her husband's favour by a Family Court on grounds of desertion and mental cruelty.
While discussing what constitutes "mental cruelty", the division bench comprising Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma remarked,
"Even if husband and wife are staying together and husband does not speak to the wife, it would cause mental cruelty and a spouse staying away by sending vulgar and defamatory letters or notices or filing complaints containing indecent allegations or by initiating number of judicial proceedings can make the life of other spouse miserable."
In the instant case, the Court noted that previously the Appellant-wife had lodged a FIR against Respondent-husband alleging assault and criminal intimidation, however, the husband was acquitted of all charges.
Reliance was placed on Supreme Court judgment where it was held that even one false complaint lodged by the wife against the husband and his family members amounts to cruelty.
Court further referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in K. Srinivas Rao vs. D.A. Deepa, (2013) 5 SCC 226 wherein it was held that making false criminal complaints or registering false FIR against the husband or his family members under Section 498-A IPC amounts to mental cruelty.
Consequently, the court dismissed the instant appeal.
Case Title : Harbans Kaur v. Joginder Pal
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 107