The Delhi High Court has held that spouse being subject to false complaints and unnecessary litigation constitutes cruelty and is a valid ground for divorce under Section 13(1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

An appeal was filed before the High Court under Section 19 of Family Courts Act, 1984 read with Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 by the wife against an order of the Family Court granting divorce to the husband on grounds of cruelty.

A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna held that “during the two years of their matrimonial life, the parties barely resided together for ten months in all and even during that time there were various acts of the cruelty of being subjected to false complaints and civil as well as criminal litigation, committed by the appellant towards the respondent.”

Advocate Kunal Rawat represented the Appellant and Advocate Shyuk Kumar represented the Respondent.

The Court noted, “the appellant consumed Allout mosquito repellent liquid in an attempt to commit suicide. She even wrote a suicide note Ex.PW1/3, wherein she stated that her husband and the in-laws were good people who had given her love and affection but she was unable to reciprocate the same sentiments and she completely exonerated them from her attempt to commit suicide. The appellant, however, in her testimony tried to wriggle out of her own admissions and suicide note by claiming that she was compelled to write the suicide note. She, however, admitted in her cross-examination that at the time of her attempting suicide in the noon, her husband was not even present as he was at his place of work.

The Court said, “Such conduct of the appellant in attempting suicide and then trying to put the blame on the husband and his family members is an act of extreme cruelty as the family remanded under constant threat of being implicated in false cases

While considering the facts of the present case the court referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the cases of Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple, (2011) 12 SCC 1 and Narendra v. K. Meena, (2016) 9 SCC 455 to hold that threat to commit suicide and attempt to commit suicide amount to cruelty.

The aforementioned facts were held to be sufficient to cause cruelty to the husband and the divorce was considered to be granted on valid grounds.

The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the family court.

Cause Title: Payal Sethi v. Rohit Sethi, [2024:DHC:148-DB]

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