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Husband who got acquitted after trial in 498A IPC case can seek divorce on the ground of cruelty
Rani Narasimha Sastry Vs Rani Suneela Rani
Civil Appeal No. 8871 of 2019
About/from the judgment:
"When a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband."
The Apex Court has observed that when a husband undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence levelled by his wife under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code, it cannot be said that no cruelty has meted on him.
In this case [Rani Narasimha Sastry vs. Rani Suneela Rani], the High Court had refused to grant divorce to the husband by observing that merely because the wife had sought for maintenance or had filed a complaint against him for the offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC, they cannot be said to be valid grounds for holding that such a recourse adopted by her amounts to cruelty.
Disapproving this view taken by the High Court, the bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha noted that averments, accusations and character assassination of the wife by the husband in the written statement constitutes mental cruelty for sustaining the claim for divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Act. It said:
The above observation of the High Court cannot be approved. It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution for redressal for his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot ipso facto be treated as cruelty. But when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband.
Regarding this, the bench further noted:
In the present case the prosecution is launched by the respondent against the appellant under Section 498-A of IPC making serious allegations in which the appellant had to undergo trial which ultimately resulted in his acquittal. In the prosecution under Section 498-A of IPC not only acquittal has been recorded but observations have been made that allegations of serious nature are levelled against each other. The case set up by the appellant seeking decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty has been established
Observing thus, the bench concluded that the husband has made a ground for grant of decree of dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty.
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