Chh | Husband’s appeal for grant of decree of divorce on being subjected to ‘mental cruelty’ by wife, allowed

Chhattisgarh High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Gautam Chourdiya, JJ. allowed an appeal to grant a decree of divorce in favour of the appellant-husband for being subjected to mental cruelty by the wife.

The present appeal calls in questions the legality, validity and the propriety of the judgment passed by the trial court in which it had dismissed the appellant/plaintiff’s suit for grant of decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion.

Submissions by the appellant

Appellant submitted that the respondent-wife was not paying proper respect to his parents and used to instruct his mother to prepare meals as per her menu. Respondent wife had returned to her parental house after a few days of marriage and returned after repeated requests and that is when she started pressurizing the appellant to live separately.

Appellant states that even after accepting all her demands, there was no change in her attitude and behaviour. To make the situation worse, she filed a false complaint of demand of dowry, after which she again returned to her parental house and never joined back the company of the appellant-husband.

Therefore, based on the above circumstances, the plaintiff/appellant prayed for a decree of divorce on the ground of mental cruelty and desertion.

Respondent wife denied all the above allegations and in fact pleaded that she was subjected to cruelty, her in-laws retained the Streedhan properties and appellant threatened her that he will obtain a divorce and remarry. Further, she categorically stated that she is willing to join the company of the appellant.

Observation

On perusal of the pleadings and depositions, it was noted that the appellant had been making allegations that the respondent impleaded him, his parents and other relatives in a false criminal case for offence under Sections 498-A and 323 of Penal Code, 1860.

Trial Magistrate had acquitted the accused persons of the charges under Sections 498-A/34 and 323 IPC. Further, it was noted that, the respondent-wife stated that she was subjected to disrespectful and indecent behaviour by the appellant and his family members. Allegation of cruelty and demand of dowry or causing simple hurt was not found by the Trial Magistrate

In the present suit when respondent-wife was examined, a specific question was asked to her that, whether she is willing to reside with the appellant, to which she answered with an emphatic ‘NO’, ‘Never’.

The above makes it clear that she made false allegations along with that she was also not willing to reside with the appellant and all of this was contrary to her own pleading.

Held

The High Court, while relying on the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of K. Srinivas Rao v. D.A. Deepa, (2013) 5 SCC 226 in which it was observed that:

“Scandalous, vulgar and defamatory statement by the wife against the mother of the appellant causes mental cruelty to the husband.”

Adding to the above observation, it was also stated that wife failing to prove her complaint in which she has placed unfounded, indecent and defamatory allegation would all amount to causing mental cruelty.

Therefore, in the present case, the respondent-wife made allegations which she had failed to prove and the allegations were to the extent of scandalous and indecent ones against the father-in-law along with the demand of dowry and causing simple hurt, which were all false.

Thus, the appeal to grant the decree of divorce in favour of the appellant to dissolve the marriage between the parties was allowed. [Chandan Singh v. Sangeeta Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 89, decided on 20-08-2019]

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