The Karnataka High Court granted divorce to a wife on the ground of mental cruelty stating that unfounded allegations on the character of a spouse shake the edifice of marriage.

The Bench noted that the husband had accused the wife of having an affair with her colleague and concluded that such unfounded and baseless allegations constituted mental cruelty. “Apart from that, the allegation is reckless as well as scandalous,” the Court added.

A Division Bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman and Anant Ramanath Hegde observed, “The institution of marriage rests on the mutual trust, confidence, love and respect between the couple. When one spouse makes an allegation suspecting the character of the other and if that allegation is not substantiated, the Court has to hold that the allegation is unfounded. The unfounded allegation on the character of a spouse shakes the edifice of institution of marriage. In such a situation, it would be extremely difficult for the spouse to live peacefully in matrimony.

Advocate Vinaya Keerthy M represented the petitioner, while Advocate Anandeeshwara D R appeared for the respondents.

As per the wife, she and her husband had a cordial relationship for two years after their marriage. However, she was later accused of having an extramarital affair with her colleague and was even subjected to physical assault. The wife alleged that the husband had even insisted she go for an abortion alleging that she was impregnated by another person.

The Court held that such baseless allegations on a spouse’s character amounted to mental cruelty. “The Court has to accept the evidence of the petitioner who has stated that the conduct of the respondent has resulted in mental cruelty. Thus, the petitioner is justified in seeking petition for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty,” the Court added.

The Court set aside the judgment of the family court which previously rejected her divorce petition seeking dissolution of marriage under Section 13(1)(i-a)(i-b) of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), prompting her to appeal before the High Court.

Consequently, the Bench allowed the dissolution of marriage between the couple on the grounds of mental cruelty but stated that the grounds of desertion were not proved. The Court also took note of the wife expressing her willingness to forego any claims for alimony or monetary benefits.

It is also relevant to state that when a petition is filed seeking dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty and desertion, the law does not mandate that both the grounds are to be established to grant the decree for dissolution of marriage. Even if one of the grounds is established, that would be sufficient to grant a decree for dissolution of marriage,” the Court remarked.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal.

Cause Title: X v. Y (Neutral Citation: 2024:KHC:13192-DB)


Appellant: Advocate Vinaya Keerthy M

Respondent: Advocate Anandeeshwara D R

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