The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur Bench has held that in case of accusations and allegations in a matrimonial dispute, regard must also be given to the context in which they were made. The Court noted that what is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case.

A Division Bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Virender Singh asserted, “It is not necessary to prove that the mental cruelty is such as to cause injury to the health of the petitioner. While arriving at such conclusion, regard must be had to the social status, educational level of the parties, the society they move in, the possibility or otherwise of the parties ever living together in case they are already living apart and all other relevant facts and circumstances which it is neither possible nor desirable to set out exhaustively. What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case. It is a matter to be determined in each case having regard to the facts and circumstances of that case. If it is a case of accusations and allegations, regard must also be had to the context in which they were made.”

The Bench was dealing with a case wherein a plea was filed by a wife against the decree of divorce which was granted by the Family Court only on the ground of mental cruelty.

Advocate Ruchika Goel appeared for the appellant i.e., the wife while Advocate Rahul Diwakar appeared for the respondent i.e., the husband.

Brief Facts -

The appellant and the respondent were married and blessed with a son but their marriage could not work. As per the averments of the wife, behaviour of the respondent towards her was very cruel, rude, disrespectful, and disgraceful as a result of which she along with her minor son left his house and came to her father's place. The matrimonial litigations flared up between both and thereafter the respondent presented an application for divorce before the Pachas (arbitrators) of the society, but the ‘Panch’ of the society refused to give any order in his favour.

The respondent then filed a petition seeking divorce at Jaipur which was subsequently transferred to Bhopal by the Supreme Court. The respondent lodged a cross FIR against the appellant under Section 363 of the IPC alleging that she had kidnapped her own son and the appellant preferred a petition before the High Court which was allowed. On challenge by the respondent, the Supreme Court upheld the order of the High Court and the divorce was sought on the ground of cruelty and desertion.

The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “The learned Family Court has discussed the entire evidence and has reached to the finding that the husband has proved the cruelty. The evidence available on record and as discussed above would suggest in definite terms that the behaviour of the appellant-wife was not respectful towards the respondent or his family member. The same would construe as a cruelty towards the husband. The evidence also goes to show that reason assigned by the appellant to leave her matrimonial house is not satisfactory and also that without any just and reasonable cause, she is residing separately from the husband. Both the parties are living separately since 13.08.2013 and no cohabitation took place between them since then.”

The Court noted that the wife was not much willing to stay with her husband and hence, the Family Court rightly granted the divorce decree on the ground of cruelty.

“Keeping in view the principles of law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid cases, the facts and circumstances of the case as well as the evidence available on record, we cannot say that there is any much less clinching material to show that the impugned judgment and decree calls for no interference”, said the Court.

The Court held that there is no perversity in the findings recorded by the Family Court and its judgment is just and proper warranting no interference of the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title- Santosh Meena v. Siddharth B.S. Meena

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