The Delhi High Court recently held that grave and uncorroborated allegations of the spouse amounts to cruelty and is a valid ground for seeking divorce under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna stated, “Every aggrieved person has an absolute right to initiate appropriate legal action and approach the State machinery, however, such allegations have to be supported by cogent evidence. Though filing of a criminal complaint per-se does not amount to cruelty, grave and uncorroborated allegations amounts to cruelty.”

In the present case, the Appellant approached the High Court after his petition under Section 13(1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), seeking dissolution of marriage with respondent-wife on the grounds of cruelty, was dismissed by Family Court.

Marital discord between the parties started after an altercation between the parties and they registered cross-complaints. Respondent went on to register a dowry case against the Appellant under Sections 498A, 323 & 406 IPC, in which Appellant was acquitted on appeal.

Advocate Jatiin Mongia appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Hemant Kumar Srivastava appeared for the Respondent.

The High Court clarified the meaning of ‘cruelty’ by mentioning the Apex Court judgment in Ravi Kumar Vs. Julmidevi (2010) 4 SCC 476 which had categorically held that “reckless, false and defamatory allegations against the husband and family members would have an effect of lowering their reputation in the eyes of the society” and as per the High Court, it amounts to ‘cruelty’.

The Court further stated the case of Narendra Vs. K. Meena (2016) 9 SCC 455, where, according to the Court, it was observed by the Supreme Court that asking a son to separate from his family amounts to cruelty. As per the Court, the judgment stated that, for a Hindu son in India, it is not a common practice or desirable culture to get separated from his family after marriage and a son has a moral and legal obligation to take care of his parents when they become old and have negligible or no income.

Division Bench further reiterated that instances of cruelty are not to be taken in isolation but the cumulative effect of facts and circumstances emerging from evidence on record and then drawing a fair inference whether a spouse has been subjected to mental cruelty due to conduct of the spouse has to be culled out.

In the present case, the Court noted that the wife had no intention to live with the joint family as she frequently left for her parent's house. The Court further recognised that she ignored her matrimonial obligations even after efforts by the appellant when he arranged a separate accommodation to keep her happy.

Consequently, the High Court set aside the impugned judgment and granted divorce to the petitioner while holding the appellant was subjected to cruelty at the hands of the respondent-wife.

Cause Title: Pramod v. Umesh @ Poonam (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:1832-DB)


Appellant: Adv. Jatiin Mongia & Adv. Anatesh Bannon

Respondent: Adv. Hemant Kumar Srivastava & Adv. Amit Kumar

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