The Delhi High Court has granted divorce to a woman on the ground of desertion observing that no law gives husband the right to subject his wife to beatings and torture.

The Court was dealing with a matrimonial appeal under Section 19 of the Family Court Act, 1955 filed by the appellant/wife against the judgment and decree passed by the Judge of Family Court vide which her petition under Section 13(1)(ia) and (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA) for grant of divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion was dismissed.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna held, “It is also pertinent to refer to another set of medical documents of 24.10.2014 and of subsequent dates, of DDU Hospital. In the absence of any rebuttal by the respondent it has to be held that her testimony of being subjected to physical assault stands corroborated by the medical documents. Merely because the parties got married and the respondent was her husband, no law gave him the right to subject his wife to beatings and torture. Such conduct of the respondent necessarily qualifies as physical cruelty entitling the appellant to divorce under Section 13(1) (ia) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.”

The Bench said that the petition for divorce has been filed after more than two years of separation and therefore, the appellant is also entitled to divorce on the ground of desertion under Section 13 (1) (ib) of the HMA.

Advocate Nikhil Mann appeared for the appellant i.e., wife while Advocate Koplin K. Kandhari appeared for the respondent i.e., husband.

Factual Background -

The parents of the respondent had expired long ago and hence he was living with his maternal aunt and her family. The appellant claimed that soon after the marriage, she was subjected to physical and mental torture and various atrocities were meted out to her which she continued to tolerate in the fond hope that with passage of time, thing would get settled. However, the atrocities of the respondent and the family members increased day by day since their sole aim was to get rid of the appellant so that they could marry of the respondent to some other girl of some affluent family.

The appellant became pregnant but was forcibly administered the medicine with resulted in the abortion of the child and despite her repeated requests, she was not taken to the doctor, but was rather abused and humiliated. Because of the physical and mental torture, it became impossible for her to continue to live in her matrimonial home. It was alleged that the respondent had illicit relationship with his sister-in-law. The appellant finally made a complaint under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act and also registered an FIR against the respondent and his family members. However, the Family Court held that the appellant was unable to prove her assertions aggrieved by which she was before the High Court.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel for both parties noted, “The petitioner has further deposed that she was left at her parental home on 11.05.2013 in an injured condition and thereafter despite her efforts, the respondent failed to take her back to the matrimonial home. Again, the respondent has not explained the circumstances in which the appellant had been left at her matrimonial home. He has also not countered the testimony of the appellant that she was not brought back to the matrimonial home, for which there existed no reason.”

The Court said that the respondent had failed to resume the companionship with the appellant and thus not only there existed physical separation but it was also coupled with “animus” of not bringing back the appellant to the matrimonial home.

“… the respondent had no intention of resuming the matrimonial relationship which also got reflected when he chose not to contest the petition. … Before concluding it is also significant to note that the respondent who is present in the Court has also stated that he has no objection to the grant of divorce”, added the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal and dissolved the marriage between the appellant and respondent.

Cause Title- Rekha Sehrawat v. Amarjit Singh (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:6162-DB)

Click here to read/download the Judgment