Calling of names and hurling of abuses by a wife amounts to cruelty, valid as a ground for divorce as it is destructive of the matrimonial bond

Delhi High Court: The Court upheld the divorce plea of a Delhi-based businessman who faced daily humiliation from his wife for being overweight and incapable of satisfying her sexual desires. The appeal was filed by a woman against the Divorce decree granted by the Family Court on the ground that she treated her husband with cruelty. The Court observed that the calling of names and hurling of abuses such as ‘Haathi’, ‘Mota Haathi’ and ‘Mota Elephant’ by the appellant (woman) in respect of her husband – even if he was overweight, is bound to strike at his self-respect and self-esteem.

The Court also took note of other complaints by the respondent that his wife not only slapped him but also asked him to leave the house. The respondent said his wife threatened to immolate herself with kerosene and implicate him and his family in a dowry case. The appellant left the matrimonial home with her jewellery and belongings, and told the respondent to transfer his property in her name if he desired her to live a “devoted wife”. The respondent also said on the night of February 11, 2005, she hit his private parts when he wanted to have intercourse and injured him. The appellant had contended the family court relied on “vague and non-specific” allegations while granting the divorce. She argued he failed to give specific instances of alleged cruelty with dates, time and particulars.

The Single Judge Bench comprising of Vipin Sanghi, J. observed, when two parties are in a marital relationship, neither is expected to maintain a logbook and note down therein each and every instance of matrimonial offence committed by the other. When the allegation is that a party showed uncooperative attitude towards his/her spouse and family members; did not show respect to the other spouse and his family members; misbehaved and abused with the opposite party and his family members – in respect of such allegations, it may not be possible to plead a specific date, time or place of occurrence. The Court also observed that the wife’s parents and their acquaintance from Ghaziabad coming down and fighting with the husband, abusing him and even assaulting him is a serious matter. “Each of these aforesaid incidents is grave and weighty matrimonial offences/misconducts by the appellant, which cannot be described as events relating to normal wear and tear of a marriage,” the Court observed. Adding that such events are clearly destructive of the matrimonial bond, the Court added it would naturally give rise to a bonafide and genuine belief and apprehension in the mind of the respondent that it is not safe for him to peacefully and mentally continue the relationship.[ SA v. AA2016 SCC OnLine Del 1818, Decided on 22-03-2016]

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