The Bombay High Court held that the Husband using the phrase "Tula Akal Nahi, Tu Vedi Ahes" in the Marathi language is not necessarily verbal abuse or extreme cruelty unless it is proved that such expressions are used to humiliate or insult someone.

The Court disposed of two Family Court Appeals challenging the maintenance order of the Court. The Family Court had dismissed the Husband’s Petition seeking the dissolution of the marriage and had allowed the Petition of the Wife seeking maintenance.

The Bench comprising Justice Nitin W. Sambre and Justice Sharmila U. Deshmukh observed, “By no stretch of imagination, it can be said that calling the Respondent that “Tula Akal Nahi, Tu Vedi Ahes” amounts to abuse in filthy language or utmost cruelty is coming late at night and shouting if asked for outing. The parties are Maharashtrians and irrespective of any strata of society to which the parties belong, these are common utterances in Marathi language and cannot be considered as abuse in filthy language, unless the context in which the utterances were made demonstrate that the same was for the purpose of humiliating and insulting the person. The Respondent has not given the details of the incidents during which such utterances were made and as such simply by mouthing these words, it cannot be said that the Respondent was abused in filthy language”.

Advocate Laxmikant M. Shukla appeared for the Appellant, and Advocate Shreesh Oak appeared for the Respondents.

The Appellant-Husband approached the High Court by way of Family Court Appeals challenging the maintenance order and dismissal of his divorce Petition passed by the Family Court. The Appellant contended that the Respondent had ruined his family's reputation in the community by alleging that he was in an illicit relationship and abused her. The Respondent, on the contrary, contended that the Husband used to come home late at night and abused her by calling her crazy in Marathi language.

Furthermore, the Court observed that to determine whether the Respondent's behavior constituted "cruelty" under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), the social status of the Petitioner should be taken into consideration. The Court observed that the Petitioner comes from a privileged background, and the Respondent's false accusations against him and his parents have damaged his reputation in his community. The Court held that the Respondent’s actions constitute cruelty and cannot be protected by Section 23(1)(a) of the HMA. Such filing of an FIR has caused significant emotional distress to the Appellant, which also qualifies as "cruelty." Therefore, the Court referred to the Supreme Court in the case of V. Bhagwat vs. D. Bhagwat (Mrs) [(1994) 1 SCC 337] and held that the Appellant is entitled to a decree of dissolution of marriage.

We do not think that this is a case, where the appellant could be denied relief by invoking Section 23(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act. On the contrary, the allegations of illicit relationship and the lodging of FIR making reckless and false allegations has subjected the Petitioner to serious traumatic experience which can safely be termed as 'cruelty' coming within the purview of Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act. Therefore, we hold that the appellant is entitled to the decree for dissolution of marriage under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act”, the Bench noted.

The Court referred to Section 3(b) of The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA) and observed that the Respondent's demand for housing was reasonable. The Court noted that the Appellant was responsible for providing suitable housing for the Respondent. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the order of the Family Court and instructed the Appellant to either offer a flat near the Respondent's parental home or pay Rs. 30,000 per month to cover the accommodation expenses.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Appeals.

Cause Title: Mr. Sameer Arjun Waghmare v. Mrs. Sunita Sameer Waghmare

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