Acts of sodomy and forcible unnatural intercourse amount to cruelty and are grounds for a decree of divorce

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Division Bench comprising of M.M.S. Bedi and Hari Pal Verma, JJ., allowed the appeal against the decision of the family court wherein appellant’s petition for a decree of divorce was dismissed.

The appellant (wife) was married to the respondent (husband). She alleged that the respondent habitually used to drink and beat the appellant; forced her to consume alcohol; demanded dowry from her; and even committed forcible sexual acts against her wishes including sodomy and unnatural oral sex. She stated that because of such circumstances, she was forced to live at her parent’s home since last 8 years. The respondent denied all the allegations and alleged that appellant’s parents are not letting her come back to their matrimonial home. He had also filed a petition under Section 9 Hindu Marriage Act, the fact which weighed with the court below to dismiss appellant’s divorce petition. The appellant was in appeal against the decision of the lower court.

The High Court was of the opinion that the appeal ought to be allowed. While considering facts of the matter, the Court observed, acts of sodomy, forcible sexual intercourse, and adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse resulting in unbearable pain to the extent that one is forced to stay away would certainly be a ground to seek separation or a decree of divorce. The Court further observed that the burden of proving such allegations lied heavily on the appellant, and in the instant case, the allegations were corroborated with other material including testimonies of the appellant and her brother. In such circumstances, the Court held that merely because the respondent had filed a petition under Section 9 for restitution of conjugal rights, would not mean that he made a genuine effort for a reunion. The Court allowed the appeal dissolving the marriage between the appellant and the respondent by a decree of divorce. [Preeti Kumari v. Neelkanth Kumar,2018 SCC OnLine P&H 757, dated 01-06-2018]

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