The Delhi High Court recently granted divorce to a man holding that his estranged wife's false allegation of illicit relation between him and his widowed sister-in-law amounted to cruelty.
Justice J.R. Midha was hearing Appeals challenging a Trial Court order, whereby a couple had been granted a decree for judicial separation under Section 13A of the Hindu Marriage Act. While the husband had now demanded a decree of divorce, the wife had sought setting aside of the order of judicial separation.
The husband had inter alia alleged that his wife was extremely suspicious of him, and often abused him for the same reason. The wife had vehemently opposed the assertions, and had pressed the same contentions of her husband having an extra-marital affair with his widowed sister-in-law.
The Court however opined that the allegations were in fact false, and observed, "This Court agrees with the finding of the learned Trial Court that the respondent/wife has failed to prove any illicit relationship between the petitioner/husband and his widowed sister-in-law... which clearly amounts to cruelty".
The Court further noted that the Trial Court had refused a decree of divorce noting that there still existed a possibility of the parties living together as husband and wife. The High Court however set aside the decree of judicial separation, opining that the husband was entitled to a decree of divorce on grounds of cruelty.
It explained, "This Court agrees with the learned Trial Court that the respondent has treated the petitioner with cruelty and the petitioner has neither condoned the acts of cruelty nor cohabited with the respondent. The petitioner has not taken advantage of any wrong as alleged by the respondent. This Court is of the view that the petitioner is entitled to a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. This Court agrees with the well-reasoned findings of the learned Trial Court except the conclusion"
The Court then set aside the decree of judicial separation, granting a divorce to the couple. It further clarified that the wife can move an application for permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act before the Trial Court.