‘The extent of cruelty is well evident from the nature of wild allegations levelled against him in those complaints and letters…This cannot be condoned on a later point of time as it will remain in the mind of the petitioner as an incurable injury.’
The Kerala High Court has observed that ridiculing the husband before his close friends, relatives and colleagues and challenging his dignity amounts to cruelty.
The division bench of Justice AM Shaffique and Justice P. Somarajan (in VV Prabhakaran vs. T. Chandramathi) granted a divorce to a 70-year-old man by setting aside a family court order that had refused his plea.
Before the family court, evidence was produced to the effect that the husband was subjected to continuous mental cruelty challenging his dignity among his friends, relatives, subordinate officers and higher officials. It was also stated that the wife had preferred a complaint against her husband alleging offence under Section 498A IPC, and later it was settled out of court. He also told the court that he was not invited for the marriage of his only daughter. But the family court refused to grant him divorce.
The bench observed: “Various letters and complaints written by the respondent against her husband before the authorities wherein the husband was working, ridiculing him among the officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the oral evidence tendered by PW2 to PW14 and Exhibits A1 to A38. Ridiculing the husband among his close friends, relatives and also before the officials wherein he was working and challenging his dignity amounts to cruelty in all means.”
It further said: “The pain and suffering meted out by the petitioner on registration of a crime against him by the concerned police can very well discern from the fact that it was registered while he was at the age of 70 years. He was not permitted to participate in the marriage of his one and the only daughter, PW7. He has been ridiculed before his officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the various complaints and letters issued at various occasions. The extent of cruelty is well evident from the nature of wild allegations levelled against him in those complaints and letters. As discussed earlier, ridiculing the husband before his friends, officials and relatives and challenging his dignity by his wife amounts to mental cruelty having far-reaching effects. This cannot be condoned on a later point of time as it will remain in the mind of the petitioner as an incurable injury.”
Setting aside the family court order, the bench observed that submission of a compromise signed by the parties regarding the crime registered against the husband will not condone the earlier act of the respondent causing registration of a criminal case under the guise of an alleged offence under Section 498A IPC against him who was at the age of 70 years.