Cruelty can never be defined with exactitude. What is cruelty will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. In case the wife makes reckless, defamatory and false accusations against her husband, his family members and colleagues, which would definitely have the effect of lowering his reputation in the eyes of his peers. Mere filing of complaints is not cruelty, if there are justifiable reasons to file the complaints. Merely because no action is taken on the complaint or after trial the accused is acquitted may not be a ground to treat such accusations of the wife as cruelty within the meaning of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955. However, if it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse leveling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty. Raj Talreja v. Kavita Talreja, 2017 (123) ALR 835.
Tag Archives: Mental Cruelty
In the plaint for divorce being filed under Section 10 of the Indian Divorce Act, it has to be established that the desertion has been for more than two years on the date of presentation of application for divorce. It is an admitted position that marriage between the parties has not completed two years on the date plaint for divorce was filed and therefore the question of desertion being for a period of more than two years on the date the application was made, does not arise.
Further from a reading of Section 10(1)(x) of the Indian Divorce Act, it will be seen that not only cruelty is to be established, it is further to be shown that because of such cruelty, a reasonable apprehension has arisen in the mind of one of the parties that it would be harmful or injurious to live with the other party. Leonard Dass v. Prema Catherine Dass, 2018 (131) ALR 133.
By a catena of decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court, it is settled that 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 Court against the spouse would, in the facts of the case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse.
In Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, (2003) 6 SCC 334, the Hon’ble Apex Court considered the question, whether the averments, accusations and character assassination in the written statement constitutes mental cruelty for sustaining the claim for divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and held as under:
“The position of law in this regard has come to be well settled and declared that leveling disgusting accusations of unchastity and indecent familiarity with a person outside wedlock and accusations of extra marital relationship is a grave assault on the character, honour, reputation, status as well as the health of the wife. Such aspersions of perfidiousness attributed to the wife, viewed in the context of an educated Indian wife and judged by Indian conditions and standards would amount to worst form of insult and cruelty, sufficient by itself to substantiate cruelty in law, warranting the claim of the wife being allowed. That such allegations made in the written statement or suggested in the course of examination satisfy the requirement of law has also come to be firmly laid down by the Court.” Smt. Jayanti v. Dr. Om Prakash Pandey, 2017 (124) ALR 117.
In Yuvraj Digvijay Sinhji v. Yuvrani Pratap Kumari, (1969) 2 SCC 279, the Hon’ble Apex Court held as under:
“A party is impotent if his or her mental or physical condition makes consummation of the marriage a practical impossibility. The condition must be one, according to the statute, which existed at the time of the marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings. In order to entitle the appellant to obtain a decree of nullity, he will have to establish that his wife, was impotent at the time of marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings.”Smt. Sulekha v. Ashok Kumar, 2016 (119) ALR 555.
In the case of Maya Devi v. Jagdish Prasad, 2007 (67) ALR 129, it was held that not only the physical cruelty which can be a ground for a divorce but the mental cruelty also constituted a good ground for divorce. In the case of Sadhana Srivastava v. Sri Arvind Kumar Srivastava, 2005 (61) ALR 268, it was held that making a false allegation against the husband of having illicit relationship and extra marital affairs by wife in her written statement constitute mental cruelty of such nature that husband cannot be reasonable asked to live with wife. In such case, the husband is entitled to a decree of divorce. Similar views have been expressed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Jai Dayal v. Shakuntala Devi, AIR 2004 Del 31 in which it has been held that leveling of false allegation by one spouse about the other having alleged illicit relations with different persons outside wedlock amounted to mental cruelty. Rajesh Dwivedi v. Additional Principal Judge, Family Court, 2015 (108) ALR 337.
In the case of K. Srinivas Rao v. D.A. Deepa, 2013 (3) AWC 2462 (SC), it was held as under:
“Where there has been a long period of continuous separation, it may fairly be concluded that the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. The marriage becomes a fiction though supported by a legal tie. In V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat, AIR 1994 SC 337, the court observed that divorce petition was pending for eight years and a good part of the lives of both the parties had been consumed in litigation, yet the end was not in sight. The facts were such that there was no question of reunion, the marriage having irretrievably broken down. While dissolving the marriage on the ground of cruelty, the court observed that irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not a ground by itself, but, while scrutinizing the evidence on record to determine whether the grounds alleged are made out and in determining the relief to be granted, the said circumstance can certainly be borne in mind. In Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli, (2006) 4 SCC 558, where husband and wife had been living separately for more than ten years and a large number of criminal proceedings had been initiated by the wife against the husband, the court observed that the marriage had been wrecked beyond the hope of salvage and public interest and interest of all lies in the recognition of the fact and to declare defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto. Smt. Sunaina Mehrotra v. Vijay Mehrotra, 2015 (2) AWC 1621.