The Punjab and Haryana High Court in its order dated April 08, 2022 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 thus, the man will be entitled to divorce.
The Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma made these observations 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.
The Court also considered the fact that the marriage had broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of their coming together, or living together again, since the wife had left her matrimonial home in 2002.
Parties got married in 1998 and had a son in 1999. Husband is working with Indian Air Force (IAF). As per the husband, the respondent (wife) deserted him in April 2002 and since then, had not returned to her matrimonial home.
The husband 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.
In 2013, District Judge, Family Court Rohtak, dismissed husband’s petition filed under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce.
Thus, the appellant-husband had moved the High Court seeking to set aside the Trial Court judgment.
Allegations by Husband
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.
Apart from that, in the year 2010, she even lodged an FIR against the appellant-husband and his parents under sections:
of the IPC.
Husband & Family Acquitted From Criminal Charges
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 levelled by the respondent against the appellant were found to be false.
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.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
At the outset, the Court observed that the filing of the complaint and initiation of criminal proceedings, were found to be baseless and false.
The High Court thus noted that there was harassment and torture to the husband and his family, since not even one complaint by the wife was sufficient to constitute matrimonial cruelty on her.
Wife Destroyed Husband’s Career, Reputation
The court also made strong remarks stating 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 said,
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.
Marriage Broken Down Irretrievably
Next, the high court noted 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 thus allowed the instant appeal filed by the husband keeping in view the extra-ordinary facts and circumstances of the case.
The high court cited the below cases to consider ‘refusal of spouse to consent for divorce after several years of separation’ as mental cruelty to husband:
- Samar Ghosh (Supreme Court)
- K. Srinivas Rao vs. D.A. Deepa (Supreme Court)
- Naveen Kohli (Supreme Court)
The High Court set aside the judgment passed by the District Judge, Rohtak, and a decree of divorce was granted accordingly in favour of the appellant-husband.
The High Court also directed the appellant-husband to make a a fixed deposit of Rs 20 Lakh as permanent alimony in the name of the respondent-wife.
READ ORDER | Wife Bent Upon Destroying IAF Officer Husband's Career & Reputation: Punjab & Haryana HC Grants Divorce After 20-Years Separation— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) April 11, 2022
▪️False #498A filed on husband & his parents – all acquitted
▪️Wife granted Alimony@narendramodi @KirenRijijuhttps://t.co/NbFZxhfiUf
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Wife Trying To Inflict Mental Cruelty On Husband Through False Criminal Proceedings Ground For Divorce | Punjab & Haryana High Court
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