Wife bent upon destroying husband's career & reputation amounts to 'mental cruelty'

Wife bent upon destroying husband's career & reputation amounts to 'mental cruelty'

Devesh Yadav Vs Meenal

Punjab and Haryana HC

08/04/2022

FAO-M-208 of 2013

About/from the judgment:

The High Court recently observed that if the wife is bent upon destroying the career and reputation of her husband by making complaints against him to his senior officers, then it would amount to mental cruelty and the same would entitle the man to divorce.

The Court observed thus, while hearing a plea filed by an Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel who sought a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion.

Consequently, the Court granted a decree of divorce and allowed the plea while noting that the marriage between the parties had broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of their coming together, or living together again.

The case in brief

Essentially, the appellant-husband had moved to the High Court seeking setting aside of judgment and decree passed by the District Judge, Rohtak in 2013, whereby his petition filed under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, had been dismissed.

The husband submitted before the HC that the respondent (WIFE) deserted him in April 2002 and since then, she had not returned to her matrimonial home. It was further alleged that his wife had failed to discharge her matrimonial duties and obligations and rather, she had ill-treated and mal-treated the appellant, causing physical and mental cruelty to him.

The Husband/appellant also submitted that he instituted divorce proceedings in 2006, however, later on, the matter was compromised between them as she had agreed to withdraw her complaint made against him to the Air Force authorities as well as the application for maintenance filed before the Senior Air Force Officer.

However, the Husband submitted, despite the compromise and withdrawal of divorce proceedings by him, the wife did not withdraw the complaint and the application for maintenance before the Senior Air Force officer and even did not join back the appellant-husband.

Apart from that, in the year 2010, she even lodged an FIR against the appellant-husband and his parents u/s 498-A, 406, 313, 323, and 506 IPC. During the investigation, the parents of the appellant were found innocent, however, the appellant had to face the trial for about 4½ years, before he was acquitted of the charges as the allegations leveled by the respondent against the appellant were found to be false.

Against this backdrop, the husband moved the Family Court seeking a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion, however, the family Court dismissed his plea by taking into account the submission of the respondent-wife that she never deserted the appellant nor caused any cruelty to him.

Now challenging the order of the family court, the Husband moved to the HC.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court observed that the filing of the complaint and initiation of criminal proceedings, which were found to be baseless and false, did cause harassment and torture to the husband and his family and that even one such complaint is sufficient to constitute matrimonial cruelty, as had happened in the instant case.

Further, noting that the respondent-wife was bent upon destroying the career and reputation of the appellant-husband as she made complaints against him to his senior officers in the Air Force, the Court observed thus:

"The conduct of the respondent-wife in filing a complaint making unfounded, indecent and defamatory allegations against her husband and parents-in-law indicates that she made all attempts to ensure that appellant and his parents are put in jail and the appellant is removed from his job. We have no manner of doubt that this conduct of respondent-wife has caused mental cruelty to the appellant-husband."

Against this backdrop, noting that the appellant-husband and the respondent-wife had been living separately since April 2002, and all the efforts of reconciliation had failed, the Court allowed the instant appeal filed by the husband keeping in view the extra-ordinary facts and circumstances of the case.

Consequently, the Court set aside the judgment passed by the District Judge, Rohtak, and a decree of divorce was granted accordingly in favor of the appellant-husband. However, the Court directed the appellant-husband to make an F.D. of `20 lakhs as permanent alimony in the name of the respondent-wife.

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