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Wife making serious unproved allegations of criminal conduct against husband constitutes 'cruelty' for the purpose of divorce

Wife making serious unproved allegations of criminal conduct against husband constitutes 'cruelty' for the purpose of divorce

Neelam Vs Jai Singh

Delhi HC


MAT.APP.(F.C.) 106/2021

About/from the judgment:

The High Court recently observed that a wife making serious allegations of criminal conduct against her husband and his parents, which she was unable to prove in Trial Court, amounts to an act of "cruelty".

The Bench thus upheld the divorce decree granted to the husband by a Family Court and dismissed the wife's appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act.

The Family Court had returned a finding that the husband was subjected to mental cruelty owing to the fact that he and his parents were acquitted in a case, lodged at the instance of his wife, involving Section 498A IPC. An appeal against the said acquittal was also dismissed.

It was however the case of the appellant-wife that when her husband and in laws had applied for bail, the same was not opposed by her and that she had also filed a petition to seek restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

"In our view, merely because the appellant may not have opposed the bail application moved by the respondent and his parents, is not sufficient to efface the irresponsible conduct of the appellant. The mere fact that she made serious allegations of criminal conduct against the respondent and his parents – which she could not establish before the Court, was sufficient to constitute acts of cruelty against the respondent," the Court said.

It added:

"How can the respondent be expected to allow the appellant into his life in these circumstances? The faith and trust – which is the foundation of a matrimonial bond stood completely demolished by the aforesaid conduct of the appellant. For a man to see his parents to be taken into custody and being incarcerated even for a single day would have caused immense and untold pain and agony to him. Admittedly, the appellant perused her allegations against the respondent and his parents in appeal as well. Did she not know that their conviction would have led to their being sentenced to imprisonment? Therefore, her conduct of not opposing the bail application is neither here, nor there."

Accordingly, finding no merit in the appeal, the Court dismissed the same.

However, on the submission of appellant wife that she would be entitled to permanent alimony and the husband was obliged to maintain their minor child who was in her custody, the Court issued notice to the husband on the aspect of grant of permanent alimony to the wife and for grant of maintenance for the child.

Read the Judgment


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