A Chhattisgarh High Court Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal has revoked a decree of divorce, while holding that the burden of proof to establish cruelty was not discharged adequately.

Further, the Court observed that "it is not expected that the wife should be treated as hired chattel or a bonded labour to stay under the conditions imposed by the husband."

Senior Advocate Fouzia Mirza appeared for the appellant, while Counsel Shashank Thakur and Counsel Priyanka Rai Mishra appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the appellant was in appeal against a decree of divorce granted by the Family Court. The husband had received a decree of divorce on the grounds of cruelty, while he had alleged that the wife always picked up fights with him over trivial issues.

The respondent-husband had alleged that the wife remained insistent that she will not live with his parents, and would only reconcile the differences in their marriage if he broke off his relationship with his parents.

However, the wife claimed that she was harassed and tortured for dowry by her in-laws, and that her husband had threatened her with "dire consequences", owing to which she was forced to live at her parents' house.

On hearing the parties and perusing the records, the Court observed that the fact that the wife never wanted to stay with the husband was contradictory, and the conduct of the husband was not plausibly explained.

In similar context, it was said that, "The husband cannot be allowed to take advantage of his own deeds and looking to the nature of allegations which have been stated by him except the trivial facts, it appears that no severe allegations have been made against the wife".

Holding the burden of proving cruelty had not been discharged properly by the husband, the Court set aside the decree of divorce. The Court also directed that the husband pay a monthly maintenance of Rs. 10,000 /- to the wife.

Cause Title: Smt. Priya Sharma v. Sanjit Sharma

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