The Delhi High Court observed on Wednesday that despite the wife receiving payment of Rs. 1 crore, 80 lakhs from her husband, and her persistence for an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, it shows her ill intention to mentally harass him.

"Even if it is taken that respondent had failed to financially support the appellant during the period they lived together but despite having received payment of Rs.1 crores 80 lacs from respondent, the appellant had pressed her application under Section 24 of the Act in present proceedings, this shows her ill intention to mentally harass the appellant", the Court opined.

The Court was hearing an Appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, filed by the appellant-wife against the judgment and decree dated November 29, 2018, passed by the Family Court, whereby the petition seeking dissolution of marriage under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, filed by the respondent, had been allowed.

The Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna also emphasized on its earlier decisions that the sacrosanct bond of marriage is based upon faith and trust, and so raising false allegations of illicit relationships is the ultimate kind of cruelty that drives the spouses apart and shakes the foundation of marriage.

The Bench noted that the appellant-wife had filed a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act in Mumbai, which was later withdrawn. Subsequently, a similar petition was filed in Delhi against the respondent-husband.

"The appellant in her cross-examination admitted that lump sum amount of Rs.2 crores was paid to her in the year 2015-2016 towards full and final settlement; and it is so evident from her statement recorded on 28.08.2015 in the proceedings under Domestic Violence Act, 2005, wherein, she stated that “I have settled my financial issues with my husband in pursuance of the settlement so I am withdrawing my interim maintenance application as not pressed," the Court noted.

The Court referred to Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Ravi Kumar Vs. Julmidevi (2010) 4 SCC 476 which 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 it amounts to cruelty.

The marriage between the parties took place on April 15, 1973, in New Delhi and was registered in Mumbai. Both parties are Hindus and American citizens holding 'Overseas Citizen of India' status. Two children were born out of wedlock.

The respondent-husband sought divorce from the appellant-wife after about 41 years of marriage. He alleged that the appellant had marital discords with him from the beginning of their marriage and left for London after packing her bags. The respondent got a job in London and later in Chicago, USA, where the appellant-wife joined him during her pregnancy. However, he alleged that the appellant's mother made their lives miserable during their stay in Chicago.

The husband also alleged that he and his family were subjected to mental and physical cruelty by the appellant and he (being the husband) has the right to live in the company of the appellant, who has deprived him of the same. He stated that when he expressed his intention to move in with another person with whom he was having an extramarital affair, it led to further discord in the marriage.

On the other hand, the appellant-wife filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act in Delhi and later withdrew the case filed in Mumbai. She claimed to have sent several notices to the respondent through his counsel and filed a complaint in Mumbai. The appellant-wife denied subjecting the respondent to mental and physical cruelty and contended that the divorce petition filed by the respondent was a counter-blast of the Domestic Violence Petition filed by her.

The Bench opined, "It is abundantly apparent that the appellant barely sees any good in respondent and by stretching multiple litigations against him and his sister, she has made it clear that there is no scope for their reunion. Moreover, despite living separately since the year 2013, she has never made an effort to reconcile the disputes."

"In the light of above, the present appeal filed by the appellant against the judgment dated 29.11.2018 passed by the learned Family Court in HMA No. 1036/2014, is hereby dismissed. Consequently, the marriage of the parties stand dissolved under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Decree sheet be prepared accordingly," the Court ordered.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the Family Court judgment.


Petitioner: Advocate Kunal Kishore

Respondent: Advocate Jivesh Kr. Tiwari

Cause Title: Kitty Bhardwaj v. Lalit Pyare Lal Bhardwaj [MAT.APP.(F.C.) 56/2019 & CM APPL. 9026/2019]

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