Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Vivek Rusia, J. refused to transfer the matrimonial dispute from Mandsaur to Gwalior.

The applicant/wife has filed the present petition under Section 24 of the CPC seeking transfer Matrimonial Case No.208/2017 from Family Court, Mandsaur to Family Court, Gwalior. The petition was filed by the respondent under Section 9 as well as under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 before the Family Court, Mandsaur. After receipt of summoning the petitioner has approached this Court by way of filing petition under Section 24 of the CPC seeking transfer mainly on the ground that being a lady it is not possible for her to travel all the way from Gwalior to Mandsaur and her parents and a two-year child is dependent on her.

The Court observed that the rule is that the convenience of a wife is required to be seen in the case of transfer of matrimonial cases. However, in the present case, the applicant is not a housewife but she is holding a higher post than the husband. She is working as Sub Divisional Officer in the Public Health Engineering Department. Further, in a matrimonial case, the presence of parties are not required at every stage, they are required to be present in Court only at the time of conciliation or evidence. Therefore, the wife cannot pray for transfer of all the matters to the place where she is residing as per her own convenience. The Court, therefore, refused to transfer the petition to the Gwalior Family Court.[Monika Gautam v. Jitendra, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1896, decided on 01-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court:  Deepak Sibal, J. dismissed the present petition as the impugned order was not defective on the ground that framing of the issue was not challenged by the petitioner and evidence were led only on the same ground. 

A petition was filed against the dismissal order in which application filed by the petitioner was prayed for withdrawal of divorce petition with permission to file afresh.

The brief facts of the case were that petitioner filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of the marriage between the parties on the ground of cruelty.  During the course of the trial, at the final argument stage, petitioner filed an application under Order 23 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil procedure, 1908 seeking withdrawal of his divorce petition with permission to file a fresh petition on the same cause which through the order impugned in the present proceedings has been dismissed.

Manish Kumar Singla, counsel for the petitioner submitted that there was a formal defect in the petition as averments had been made in the petition with regard to the respondent-wife having deserted the petitioner but since between the alleged date when the respondent-wife had deserted him and the filing of his petition the statutory period of 2 years had not elapsed, the Trial Court erred in not permitting the petitioner to withdraw his divorce petition with permission to file a fresh one on the same cause.

Karan Bhardwaj, counsel for the respondent submits that with regard to the issue of desertion, there was no formal defect in the petitioner’s petition and therefore, the petitioner cannot be allowed to withdraw his petition with permission to file fresh one on the same cause.

The Court opined that the respondent-wife had refused to join the company of the petitioner would not give a cause to the petitioner to seek divorce on the ground of desertion and there was no formal defect in the petitioner’s defect. It was further submitted that the ground of desertion was neither available to the petitioner nor taken by him. During the pendency of the petition, even if such ground has become available, the same would not make the petitioner’s petition as defective. Thus the matter was dismissed. [Kulwinder Singh v. Manmohan Kaur, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1337, decided on 25-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court:  A Division Bench of Rakesh Kumar Jain and Harnaresh Singh Gill, JJ. heard an appeal that sought divorce under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The facts of the case at hand were that the couple got married in March, 2019 and later the respondent-wife left her matrimonial house in May 2015. In February 2016, the husband (appellant herein) filed for divorce on the grounds of blackmail, adultery and mental harassment of the husband as well as his family. The trial court rejected the relief of divorce on the ground that on the date of filing of the divorce petition, the statutory period of two years had not expired.

I.P.S Kohli, the counsel for the appellant, contended that since the very beginning of the marriage, the respondent quarrelled with her in-laws and threatened them to do everything under her command. He further claimed that she refused to do the household work and held that she would commit suicide if she was forced to do chores to create troubles for them. He further accused the respondent of adultery and for consuming alcohol and drugs. The counsel maintained that the respondent had a habit of leaving her matrimonial home without informing them and any inquiry of her whereabouts would be called as ‘interference on her personal life’. He alleged that the respondent refused to share a bed with the appellant which caused mental stress to him. He claimed that the respondent broke her mangalsutra in front of the Panchayat members and outrightly refused to live with the appellant as his wife and left her matrimonial home.

The respondent-wife, though agreed to the facts regarding the marriage, denied the accusation that she threatened to commit suicide. She also negated the facts that she refused to do household chores and in turn claimed that she would cook meals regularly and feed the family and the guests. She contended that she was pressurized to bring money from her parents and to influence them to sell their land. However, these demands were not acceded to by the respondent or her father. She added that the appellant and his parents harassed her physically and mentally. She further claimed that the appellant and his family never accepted her and turned her out of the house.

The Court observed that the allegations of cruelty remained unsubstantiated and there was no infirmity and illegality in the impugned judgment and decree passed by the trial Court. It relied on the case Rajni Goyal v. Amit Kumar, 2014 SCC OnLine P&H 24088, to rule that adultery on part of the respondent cannot be proved as there was no cogent evidence was presented by the appellant “Rather unsubstantiated and uncorroborated testimony associating the respondent with adulterer has caused mental cruelty to the respondent”. In addition to this, the Court was of the opinion that this case was of normal ‘wear and tear’ of the married life of the parties, which takes place on a daily basis in life. The Court further remarked that on the date of filing of the divorce petition, the statutory period of two years had not expired. Thus, the present divorce petition had rightly been rejected on this count by the trial court. Hence, the appeal was dismissed.[Ravinder Yadav v. Padmani, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1294, decided on 17-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Anil Kumar Choudhary, J. dismissed an interlocutory application praying for grant of special leave under Section 378 (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 against a judgment passed by Judicial Magistrate, Deoghar on the grounds of discrepancy in evidence and absence of perversity in the judgment.  

The appellant-complainant alleged that her husband (private respondent 2), after the birth of their daughter, physically and mentally tortured her to extract a sum of Rs 2,00,000 as dowry despite receiving Rs 7,50,000 at the time of their marriage. It was further alleged that he threw hot water at the appellant-complainant, after which she was treated at a hospital. The assault allegedly extended to the forceful acquirement of pieces of jewellery worth Rs 85,000. Witnesses were examined from both sides.  The complainant witnesses (hereinafter, CW) claimed that matrimonial disputes arose after two years of marriage. However, none could provide any specific date, day or year with regard to claims of assault nor could they provide medical records for treatment at the hospitals after the assault. Furthermore, there were contradictions in the testimony of CW 4. The defence witnesses, however, unanimously claimed that the appellant-complainant was rude and disliked staying in her paternal house.  Taking into account the testimonies, evidence and noting the contradiction in complainant’s testimony and the complaint, the trial court acquitted private respondent 2. Wife filed an appeal against this order of acquittal.

The complainant-appellant was represented by  Khalida Haya Rashmi who submitted a three-fold argument. Firstly, the court failed to study evidence, facts, and circumstances in its entirety such as that of dismissal of private respondent 2’s petition to dissolve the marriage by a family court. Secondly, the judgment by the trial court was perverse inasmuch as it failed to recognize appellant-complainant’s attempts to restitute her family life which caused a delay in filing of the case. Lastly, the discrepancy in evidence was a minor one, hence, cannot be solely relied upon to rule. The defense represented by the Public Prosecutor concurred with the observation of the trial court on the discrepancy in evidence and inordinate delay in lodging of FIR. Further, it was submitted that the lack of evidence for the offence in the present case was the right ground for acquittal.                                               

The Court concurred with the defense’s contentions holding that discrepancy in testimony and evidences do not clearly demarcate any specificity with regard to the duration or manner of cruelty. Further, relying on Rupali Devi v. State of U.P, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 493 where it was held that “Even if the acts of physical cruelty committed in the matrimonial house may have ceased and such acts do not occur at the parental home, there can be no doubt that the mental trauma and the psychological distress caused by the acts of the husband including verbal exchanges, if any, that had compelled that wife to leave the matrimonial home and take shelter with her parents would continue to persist at the parental home’. 

Thus, the Court dismissed the contention of ignoring discrepancy in evidence. Also, the Court holds that since no proceedings under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act were brought about, therefore, no such proceedings can be referred to as precedents. The Court found no illegality or perversity as claimed against the trial court Judgment; rather, termed it as reasonable and plausible. Hence, the appeal was dismissed. [Meena Devi v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 769, decided on 13-06-2019] 

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Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia and R.C. Khube, JJ. entertained an appeal filed against the impugned judgment and order passed by Family Court, which rejected the petition under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 filed by the appellant.

Facts which gave rise to appeal were that marriage was solemnized in 2010 as per the Hindu rites and rituals. The appellant and respondent were living together after the marriage in appellant’s parental house along with appellant’s mother and child. The appellant contended that soon after, the respondent started to intimidate him for selling the house and shift to Delhi and live separately. It is also alleged by the appellant that the respondent stared to threaten him to commit suicide if her demands were not fulfilled. The appellant-accused respondent of attempting to commit suicide and assaulting his mother because of her unfulfilled demands. The appellant tried to convince the respondent but she refused to fulfill her marital duties, and in 2012, in the absence of the appellant, she left her matrimonial home. After which the appellant filed an application under Section 9, during the hearing the respondent appeared before the Court and made a statement regarding going back to her husband. It was also contended by the appellant, that parties stayed together for some time at Haridwar as per the compromised reached between the parties but even then, the respondent refused to consummate marital relations. And since two years both were living separately.

The learned counsel for the appellant Tapan Singh, submitted that despite of the order of Court the respondent was not fulfilling the marital duties. She treated appellant’s mother with utmost disrespect which amounted to cruelty. He also submitted that the behaviour of the alleged respondent towards appellant is humiliating and disrespectful before other relatives, which also caused mental stress to the respondent. Under the drastic circumstance appellant filed for divorce under Section 13(1)(ia) and (ib) of HMA, 1955, as the respondent deserted him for a period of 2 years.

The learned counsel for the respondent Syed Jafri, submitted that an FIR was lodged against the appellant under Sections 406 and 498-A IPC. Further, a mutual divorce application was rejected by the Family Court since both the parties were unable to arrive at consent. The learned Family Court dismissed the divorce petition filed by the appellant as well the petition filed by the respondent under Section 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The Court rejected the contentions of the appellant for relief under Section 13 (1)(ib) as the period of desertion was not proved beyond the statutory limit for divorce. But the ground of cruelty was considered by the Court and it relied upon the judgment of Delhi High Court in, Rajinder Bhardwaj v. Anita Sharma, AIR 1993 Delhi 135, where it was held that if the wife physically assaults the mother-in-law and abuses her, it will amount to cruelty. It also addressed the issue related to behavior of the respondent towards appellant which was alleged disrespectful, and held, “Disrespectful and disparaging remarks by the respondent wife against the appellant-husband would amount to cruelty under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Act as laid down in Santana Banerjee v. Sachindra Nath Banerjee, 1989 SCC OnLine Cal 257’’.

The Court considered the facts and circumstances of the case and stated that living separately of the parties for a long time, public insult, an embarrassment to the appellant, agony, and humiliation suffered by the appellant, charging the appellant with false allegations amount to cruelty by the respondent towards her husband. The respondent wife is living separately for the last five years and presently staying at Delhi with a son born from the wedlock of the parties. Held, “relationship between the parties had deteriorated to the extent that there was no possibility of any reconciliation. Their relationship had reached to the point from where there appears no possibility of harmonious conjugal relationships or their being living together as husband and wife and discharging the matrimonial duties. This itself amounts to a cruelty, if allowed to continue.” The appeal was allowed and the marriage was dissolved.[Sheenu Mahendru v. Sangeeta, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 376, decided on 23-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: M.G. Giratkar, J. refused to interfere with an order of the Judicial Magistrate as confirmed by the Sessions Judge, whereby the application filed by the applicant under Section 12 and 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was dismissed.

The applicant married to the respondent in 1999, However, a decree of divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 had been passed by the family court in 2008 at the instance of the husband. The application under the DV Act was filed by the applicant in 2009, i.e., subsequent to the grant of divorce. The respondent resisted the application on the ground that there was no “domestic relationship” between them and therefore any application under DV Act was not maintainable. The application was rejected by the Judicial Magistrate as well as the Sessions Judge. Aggrieved thereby, the applicant filed the present revision application.

Amruta A. Ghonge, Advocate led arguments for the applicant. Per contra, R.N. Sen, Advocate appearing for the respondent, resisted the application.

After perusing a conspectus of decisions of the Supreme Court as well as High Courts, the Court came to the conclusion that no relief could be granted to the applicant. It was observed: “In the present case, divorce was granted by the family Court vide order dated 30-06- 2008. Application under the DV Act was filed in the year 2009. At the time of filing of application under the DV Act, the applicant was not the wife. There was no domestic relationship between them. Hence, orders passed by the learned JMFC, Nagpur and maintained by Additional Sessions Judge, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal No. 235 of 2015 are perfectly legal and correct.” In such view of the matter, the revision application was dismissed. [Sadhana v. Hemant, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 659, decided on 18-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J., allowed withdrawal of an appeal with the liberty to file a fresh petition on account of “technical defect”.

In the present case, the counsel for the appellant submitted that the client actually intended to file a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. And the cause of action and ground for the petition are entirely different from Section 12 of the same Act, which forms the subject-matter of the present appeal. Therefore, on account of “technical defect”, the appeal is bound to fail. However, the counsel for the respondent submitted that the very basis for withdrawal of the appeal is some kind of medical report that is available on the record and has been submitted in compliance to the orders passed by the learned Mediator in the case. Although, the same has not been open yet.

The Court allowed the application dismissing the present appeal as withdrawn with liberty to the appellant to file appropriate proceedings under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. And directed that report submitted before the learned Mediator shall not be used as evidence by either of the parties, however, that will not debar them to proceed in accordance with law for having either of the parties medically examined under the law.[Ajay Kumar v. Anjana Verma, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 279, Order dated 08-03-2019]