The Delhi High Court in a divorce case said that the vindictiveness aimed to erode a father-daughter relationship is not only an act of extreme cruelty to the father but also gross inhumanity to the child.

An appeal was filed under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 by the husband against the judgment by which his petition under Section 13(i)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA) was dismissed.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed, “Howsoever abysmal the differences maybe between the spouses, but in no realm can the act of the aggrieved spouse of igniting animosity and hostility in the minor child in an attempt to use the child as a weapon to get even with their spouse, could be justifiable. Such vindictiveness aimed to erode a father-daughter relationship is not only an act of extreme cruelty to the father but also gross inhumanity to the child.”

The Bench said that the conduct of making unsubstantiated allegations of adultery coupled with involving the child in disputes between the parties, can be termed as nothing but an extreme act of cruelty.

“This is a clear case of parental alienation where the respondent has not even spared her children and has involved them in her differences, with the appellant”, it remarked.

Advocate Chandan Kumar Mandal appeared for the appellant/husband while Advocate Mukesh Kumar appeared for the respondent/wife.

In this case, the parties got married in 1998 and two daughters were born from their wedlock in 1999 and 2004, respectively. The husband asserted in his divorce petition that he was working in Indian Army at the time of marriage and the wife was a PHD in Management and working as a lecturer. The temperamental differences between the parties grew and the wife left the matrimonial home without any justifiable cause. Eventually, the wife joined the matrimonial home but continued to receive the maintenance from the Army authorities.

Despite getting a handsome salary, she never contributed to the household expenses and made derogatory remarks against the husband for being less qualified than her. Thereafter, she withdrew herself from the company of the husband but on a settlement, the parties started residing together. However, the wife continued to be indifferent and refused to establish conjugal relationship. She in her petition contended that she was subjected to grave physical violence by the husband and also caught him red-handed with another strange lady at his residence. She claimed that the husband used to beat her and her two daughters.

The High Court after hearing both sides observed, “It is unfortunate that despite the respondent being educated, she was unable to manage her sentiments and emotions, when it came to her husband. She has made adulterous allegations against the appellant and according to her, she had even taken the phone number and the photographs of the lady. However, significantly nothing has found its way to the present proceedings and no cogent evidence of the same has surfaced. Making such unwarranted allegations of adultery without any corroboration, is an act of mental cruelty as held in the case of Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, (2003) 6 SCC 334 and A. Jayachandra v. Aneel Kaur, (2005) 2 SCC 22. Similar observations were also made in the case of Jayanti vs Rakesh Mediratta, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 5760.”

The Court further said that the differences between two adults may arise due to myriad reasons, some may be temperamental or factual, but the irrationality of the conduct of the respondent is brought forth by her conduct of involving in eight years old child, in their disputes. It said that the petitioner and the respondent may not have been able to generate mutual affection, respect and understanding due to their differences, but it does not justify the act of the respondent in embroiling their minor daughter in their fights.

“Taking a small daughter along with her with a specific design to the house of the appellant and then to make allegations of adultery and call the Police, is an act of ruining the psyche of a child and turning her against her father. A person may be a bad husband but that does not lead to the necessary conclusion of he being a bad father. The act of the respondent in trying to turn the children against their father and even making her write a complaint against her father, is a clear case of parental alienation, which in itself is an act of grave mental cruelty”, it added.

The Court also noted that there is not an iota of evidence that after the parties separated, there was any effort made for re-conciliation and rather, the testimony of the appellant shows that having separated from each other, the respondent repeatedly visited the rented accommodation and made complaints to the police. It said that the acts of the respondent reflect her non-re-conciliatory attitude and also establishes that she had withdrawn from the company of the petitioner and abandoned her matrimonial relationship for no justifiable reason.

“For a couple to be deprived of each other’s company and denial of conjugal relationship by the other spouse, with no effort by the respondent/wife to resume matrimonial relationship, is an act of cruelty as is held in the case of Samar Ghosh v. Jaya Ghosh (2007) 4 SCC 511. … the evidence on record proved that there is no chance of reconciliation between the parties and such long separation peppered which false allegations, Police reports and criminal complaints and further aggravated by parental alienation, can only be termed as acts of mental cruelty. This dead relationship has become infested with acrimony, irreconcilable differences and protracted litigations; any insistence to continue this relationship would only be perpetuating further cruelty upon both the parties”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal, set aside the impugned judgment, and granted divorce to the husband on the ground of cruelty.

Cause Title- ABC v. XYZ (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:1698-DB)


Appellant: Advocates Chandan Kumar Mandal, G.K. Chauhan, and Rajeev Kumar Tomar.

Respondent: Advocate Mukesh Kumar

Click here to read/download the Judgment