(Prayer: MFA No.101906/2016 Is Filed Under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act, 1984, against the judgment and decree dated 07.04.2016 passed in M.C. No.63/2014 on the file of the judge, Family Court, Belagavi, allowing the petition filed Under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.M.F.A. No.101907/2016 is filed Under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act, 1984, against the judgment and decree dated 07.04.2016 passed in M.C. No.80/2014 on the file of the judge Family Court, Belagavi, dismissing the petition filed under Section.13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act.)Nataraj Rangaswamy, J.1. These two appeals are filed by the wife challenging the common Judgment and Order passed by the Family Court at Belagavi in M.C. No.63/2014 and M.C. No.80/2014 dated 07.04.2016.2. In this Judgment, the parties shall henceforth be referred to as husband and wife. M.C. No.63/2014 is filed by the husband for restitution of conjugal rights while M.C. No.80/2014 is filed by the wife for divorce under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.3. The husband filed M.C. No.63/2014 claiming that their marriage was registered on 31.10.2012 without the knowledge of their respective parents and that after the marriage was registered, they informed their parents and that their parents accepted their marriage and that the wife joined the husband to lead a married life. He stated that they lived for one month peacefully and happily and that the marriage was consummated and after about one month, his in-laws requested that the wife be sent to their house for few days and after she went to her parental house, she did not return. The husband went to his in-laws with an intention to bring back his wife, but his in-laws assured that she would be sent soon, but did not. Later, the husband realized that his wife was avoiding him and whenever he tried to contact her and when he went to the house of in-laws, he was not treated properly by his in-laws and other members of the family. As such, he stated that there was separation for more than one year. He, therefore, contended that his wife was under the control of her parents and she was being restrained by her parents from coming in contact with her husband. With these contentions, he filed a petition contending that his wife had withdrawn from his company without there being any justifiable reason though he was willing to lead a married life with his wife. Therefore, he sought for restitution of conjugal rights.4. The wife filed her statement, accepted the fact that the marriage was registered, but contended that she never lived with her husband for one month as alleged. She also contended that the marriage was not consummated. She contended that her husband was having links with antisocial elements and also involved in antisocial activity. She claimed that her husband was arrested by the Maharashtra Police in Pune when he was found possessing leopards hide and was attempting to sell the same and the same was published in all leading news papers and also circulated in the internet. She claimed that because of the illegal activity of her husband, she could not face the society and she became a recluse and had to abandon her MBA studies and she contended that she did not want to lead a matrimonial life with her husband.5. Close on the heels of the above petition, the wife filed a petition in M.C. No.80/2014 for divorce on the very same ground, namely, that the husband had cheated her stating that he was from a rich family and that after the marriage, he would arrange for separate residence. She also contended that her husband had assured to inform the marriage to his parents and that he would take her to her parents and live with them. She also claimed that she came to know about her husband being imprisoned for 10 to 15 days by the Pune Police in respect of an offence committed by her husband under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as he was found in possession of a leopards hide and was attempting to sell it. She claimed that this news was circulated in the major newspapers and also in the internet causing severe damage to her reputation since all her friends and relatives started teasing her that her husband was a criminal. She also claimed that she went into depression and she could not complete her MBA studies and became a recluse in her parents house. With these, she contended that she did not want to continue to live with her husband and therefore, sought for divorce.6. The husband filed his objections contending that all the allegations were false and further contended that this petition was only a counterblast to the petition filed by him for restitution of conjugal rights .7. The Trial Court treated M.C. No.80/2014 as the main petition and permitted the parties to adduce evidence. The wife entered the witness box and deposed as PW.1 and her father deposed as PW.2 and they marked Exs.P1 to P5(a) while the husband examined himself as RW.1.8. Ex.P1 is the memorandum of marriage while Ex.P2 is the marriage registration certificate. Ex.P3 is the charge sheet filed by the Pune Police Station accusing the husband of offences punishable under Sections 9, 40, 43, 49 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Ex.P3 is translation of the charge sheet. Ex.P4 is the statement of the complainant. Ex.P4(a) is the English translation of Ex.P4. Ex.P5 is the FIR registered and Ex.P5(a) is the translation of the FIR. These documents indicate that the husband was an accused in a crime registered by the Pune Police Station and it was found that the accused was in possession of a leopards skin, which he was attempting to trade off.9. Now coming to the oral evidence, while cross- examining PW.1, the wife, it is stated that the wife threatened her husband that she would commit suicide in case if he did not marry her and that the wife compelled him to marry her. The wife categorically stated that even if the Court passed an order, she would not join her husband. When PW.2, the father of the wife was cross- examined, he was accused of not allowing the wife to join the husband. Except this, nothing is elicited from PW.2. On the other hand, when the husband was cross- examined, he disclosed that he was one year younger than his wife. He admitted that the house, where his wife was living was purchased by his father-in-law and that he was unaware that it was purchased in the year 2001. He admitted that he was accused in an offence registered by the Pune Police Station under the Wildlife Protection Act and admitted that the news of his involvement in the crime was published in the newspapers in Pune and also in the internet. He also admitted that as on the date the matrimonial dispute was taken up for trial, the case was still pending before the Court in Pune. He also admitted that he was accused of being in possession of leopard skin, which was valued at a sum of Rs.9,00,000/-. The Trial Court noticed that there was no sufficient material on record to hold that the husband was cruel to the wife and that mere registration of a criminal case would not amount to cruelty and thus, held that the marriage between them was not irretrievably broken and that there are chances of reunion between the parties. The Trial Court held that the wife was staying away from her husband at the behest of her parents and therefore, the Trial Court dismissed the petition for divorce and allowed the petition for restitution of conjugal rights.10. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid common judgment, the wife has filed these appeals.11. It is true that a superficial examination of the case would disclose that there is no substantial ground for grant of divorce in the case. However, we have noticed the facts and circumstances under which the marriage was brought about, the immaturity of the husband and wife which lead to their marriage. The husband in his objections statement contended that he was not involved in any crime as alleged by the wife. But, later when the wife placed on record the documents such as the complaint, the charge-sheet filed against the husband, the husband admitted the same and accepted that the case was still going on before the Court in Pune. He admitted that his involvement in the criminal case was reported in the news papers and also circulated in the internet.12. In this context, it is profitable to refer to the judgment rendered by the Hon`ble Apex Court in the case of Samar Ghosh v. Jaya Ghosh reported in (2007) 4 Supreme Court Cases 511, wherein it is held as under:“101. No uniform standard can ever be laid down for guidance, yet we deem it appropriate to enumerate some instances of human behaviour which may be relevant in dealing with the cases of mental cruelty. The instances indicated in the succeeding paragraphs are only illustrative and not exhaustive.(i) On consideration of complete matrimonial life of the parties, acute mental pain, agony and suffering as would not make possible for the parties to live with each other could come within the broad parameters of mental cruelty.(ii) On comprehensive appraisal of the entire matrimonial life of the parties, it becomes abundantly clear that situation is such that the wronged party cannot reasonably be asked to put up with such conduct and continue to live with other party.(iii) Mere coldness or lack of affection cannot amount to cruelty, frequent rudeness of language, petulance of manner, indifference and neglect may reach such a degree that it makes the married life for the other spouse absolutely intolerable.(iv) Mental cruelty is a state of mind. The feeling of deep anguish, disappointment, frustration in one spouse caused by the conduct of other for a long time may lead to mental cruelty.(v) A sustained course of abusive and humiliating treatment calculated to torture, discommode or render miserable life of the spouse.(vi) Sustained unjustifiable conduct and behaviour of one spouse actually affecting physical and mental health of the other spouse. The treatment complained of and the resultant danger or apprehension must be very grave, substantial and weighty.(vii) Sustained reprehensible conduct, studied neglect, indifference or total departure from the normal standard of conjugal kindness causing injury to mental health or deriving sadistic pleasure can also amount to mental cruelty.(viii) The conduct must be much more than jealousy, selfishness, possessiveness, which causes unhappiness and dissatisfaction and emotional upset may not be a ground for grant of divorce on the ground of mental cruelty.(ix) Mere trivial irritations, quarrels, normal wear and tear of the married life which happens in day-to-day life would not be adequate for grant of divorce on the ground of mental cruelty.(x) The married life should be reviewed as a whole and a few isolated instances over a period of years will not amount to cruelty. The ill-conduct must be persistent for a fairly lengthy period, where the relationship has deteriorated to an extent that because of the acts and behaviour of a spouse, the wronged party finds it extremely difficult to live with the other party any longer, may amount to mental cruelty.(xi) If a husband submits himself for an operation of sterilization without medical reasons and without the consent or knowledge of his wife and similarly, if the wife undergoes vasectomy or abortion without medical reason or without the consent or knowledge of her husband, such an act of the spouse may lead to mental cruelty.(xii) Unilateral decision of refusal to have intercourse for considerable period without there being any physical incapacity or valid reason may amount to mental cruelty.(xiii) Unilateral decision of either husband or wife after marriage not to have child from the marriage may amount to cruelty.(xiv) Where there has been a long period of continuous separation, it may fairly be concluded that the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. The marriage becomes a fiction though supported by a legal tie. By refusing to sever that tie, the law in such cases, does not serve the sanctity of marriage; on the contrary, it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of the parties. In such like situations, it may lead to mental cruelty.13. Further, the Apex Court in the case of Gurbux Singh vs Harminder Kaur reported in (2010) 14 Supreme Court Cases 301, has held as follows:“14. Cruelty has not been defined under the Act. It is quite possible that a particular conduct may amount to cruelty in one case but the same conduct necessarily may not amount to cruelty due to change of various factors, in different set of circumstances. Therefore, it is essential for the appellant, who claims relief, to prove that a particular/part of conduct or behaviour resulted in cruelty to him. No prior assumptions can be made in such matters. Meaning thereby that it cannot be assumed that a particular conduct will, under all circumstances, amount to cruelty, vis--vis the other party. The aggrieved party has to make a specific case that the conduct of which exception is taken amounts to cruelty.”14. The High Court of Kerala in the case of Mohanan v. Thankamani reported in ILR 1995 (1) Kerala 83 was dealing with a case wherein the wife was convicted for the offence of murder of two minor children, which was held to be sufficient to constitute cruelty to dissolve the marriage between the parties by the Kerala High Court. The relevant portion of the said judgment is reproduced hereunder:-“2. ..Even a single act of violence which is of grievous and inexcusable in nature satisfies the test of cruelty. The allegation that the respondent had killed her children is not a matter to be trifled with, in the petition itself the allegation that the respondent had killed her children is specifically stated. Conviction by the Sessions Judge against the respondent under Section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860 is not a matter in dispute. Pendency of the appeal is not a mitigating factor. Eventual acquittal in the criminal case would not be sufficient to assuage the embittered feelings of the father (appellant). The single act of violence against the children establishes the cruel conduct of the respondent. Even if it is assumed that the respondent had not treated the appellant with cruelty the crime perpetrated against the children would certainly amount to cruelty to him also.”15. It may be noted that Rajasthan High Court in the case of Vimla Bai v. Panchu Lal reported in AIR 2007 Raj. 99 while dealing with a case wherein the wife was involved in a murder case, has held as under:“11. Cruelty as a ground of divorce under Section 13(1)(ia) is a conduct of such type that the husband could not reasonably be expected to live with the wife. In our opinion, involvement of the appellant wife in a murder case amount to cruelty and learned Family Court has rightly granted decree of divorce. We find no infirmity in the impugned judgment and decree.”16. The Delhi High Court in the case of Swati v. Arvind Mudgal reported in 2015 SCC online Del 6930 has opined that the offence of murder committed by the respondent therein resulting in life imprisonment, had caused immense pain, agony and apprehension in the mind of the petitioner therein that it was not safe for her to stay with the respondent therein anymore which was sufficient to dissolve the marriage on the ground of cruelty.17. It is seen that the wife was pursuing her MBA Degree and that the husband was pursuing his BBM., and when they were in College, they fell in love and without the notice and knowledge of the parents, they got married. The wife has attempted to place on record certain facts to indicate that the husband by giving a false address of the wife, submitted an application for registration and that they were instrumental in getting the marriage registered. In addition, during the course of cross-examination of PW.1, it is sought to be portrayed as if the wife was compelling the husband to marry her and that she had threatened that she would commit suicide if she was not married. The husband has attempted to portray the wife in bad light. It is, therefore, clear that both the husband and wife were immature and the outlandish behaviour of the husband in attempting to become rich overnight landed him in a criminal case. The wife who is an educated lady has stated in her petition that this criminal case registered against her husband spread like wild fire and that all her friends and relatives started enquiring and teasing her which resulted in a me
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
ntal abuse and cruelty. She claimed that she discontinued her MBA studies because all her friends and peers started enquiring about the involvement of her husband in the crime. She also claimed that she became a recluse and fell into depression. It is true that cruelty is not defined, but is very abstract and each case will have to be decided based on the facts and circumstances. In the present case, it is seen that the wife was the eldest of the two siblings and she was pursuing her education and hailed from a conservative family. The wife entered into wedlock even while she was in college and without information to her parents. It looks as if the wife was forced into the marriage and the same was not disclosed to her parents. Notwithstanding this, the criminal case registered against the husband is not something that could be ignored, but stirs the conscience of any law abiding citizen. If a man who has just entered wedlock indulges in such a heinous crime unmindful of the consequences that will turn around on the family, it could definitely cause severe mental trauma to the wife. The wife would have had her own impressions about her husband and if the husband indulges in such criminal activities, this amounts to a mental cruelty and since cruelty is a state of mind, if the wife is unwilling to accept him as a husband, in the fitness of things, it is proper that this Court would come to the rescue of two young people and set them free by a decree of divorce.Hence, both the appeals are allowed. The common Judgment and Decree dated 07.04.2016 passed by the Family Court, Belagavi, in M.C. Nos.80/2014 and 63/2014 is hereby set aside. The petition in M.C. No.80/2014 filed by the wife for divorce is allowed and the petition in M.C. No.63/2014 filed by the husband for restitution of conjugal rights is dismissed.