Spread the love

The Delhi High Court recently observed that if a wife attempts to commit suicide and then tries to blame the husband and in-laws for the same, then it amounts to  extreme cruelty and it can be a ground for divorce. 

A Division Bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna while rejecting an appeal contesting the family court’s decision to grant her  husband a divorce based on allegations of cruelty held that such conduct of the  wife might lead to keep the husband and his family under constant threat of being  implicated in false cases. 

In this case, the couple got married in 2007 and had a child together out of this  wedlock. The husband (hereinafter referred to as the respondent) claimed that the  wife (hereinafter referred to as the appellant) deserted their marital home just four  months after their marriage and alleged that she filed a police complaint, stating  that a substantial dowry was provided and that excessive demands for dowry were  made by his parents. Her uncle Shri Rakesh Pankaj also filed a false criminal case under Section 379 IPC for theft of the car in which the respondent had to seek anticipatory bail. 

The appellant thereafter filed a petition wherein serious allegations were leveled  against the respondent that he was already married at the time of his marriage to  the appellant and sought annulment of their marriage. Subsequently, the matter was  compromised, and the Petition was withdrawn by the appellant whereby she  submitted that she had filed the petition for nullity of marriage on the  misinformation she got against the respondent/husband. 

The Court also observed that the appellant also tried to commit suicide by  consuming mosquito repellent liquid. After reviewing the accusations, the Court  observed that despite the wife’s assertion of being coerced into writing the suicide  note, during her cross-examination, she acknowledged that her husband wasn’t  present at home when she attempted to take her own life. 

The Court also observed that despite numerous complaints filed by the appellant,  many resulted in acquittals, she persisted in filing appeals to secure the  imprisonment of her husband and his family members. The Court rightly held that, 

It has been rightly observed by the learned Addl. Principal Judge, Family Court  that the appellant had not been able to bring on record any document or any  cogent evidence to prove that the respondent was married at the time of his  marriage with the appellant. Her allegations were based on misinformation as had  been admitted by the appellant before the Family Court. The respondent for about  two years was not only subjected to civil, but also criminal cases against him on  unsubstantiated allegations arising from misinformation.” 

In the case of Pankaj Mahajan V. Dimple, 2011 it was held by the Supreme  Court that the repeated threats to commit suicide and the attempt to commit suicide  was held to be an action amounting to cruelty. 

Cruelty as a ground for Divorce 

Besides physical harm, subjecting a woman to mental stress, compromising her  peace of mind for a spouse, or causing continual mental agony constitutes mental  cruelty. Yet, understanding an individual’s psychology remains elusive, and given  the variability in sensitivities, accusations of cruelty may not always be entirely  factual. In the groundbreaking ruling of Mayadevi Vs. Jagdish Prasad in  February 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that both spouses, not just women but also  men, can seek divorce on grounds of mental cruelty. In this instance, the  respondent applied for divorce citing a persistent pattern of cruelty from his wife,  alleging she withheld food from him and their children, attributing blame to the  husband and his family members. 

Therefore, a man is equally eligible for divorce in the face of any form of inflicted  cruelty.” 

Case Name- Ms. Payal Sethi V. Sh. Rohit Sethi 

Anshra Zafar, a 2nd year student pursuing B.A.LLB (Hons) from IILM University,  Greater Noida, 4th Semester. An intern under Legal Vidhiya

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are intended solely for informational purposes. Accessing or using the site or the materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this site is not to be construed as legal or professional advice, and it should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Additionally, the viewpoint presented by the author is of a personal nature.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *