HC: Mere slapping of a criminal case on a spouse is not ground enough to break an alliance
Cancelling the divorce decree granted on the grounds of mental cruelty, Justice Kailash Gambhir said in a recent judgment that the impact of alleged cruelty on the mind of the spouse also needed to be factored in before concluding that the marriage had broken down.
“An isolated or stray incident, an angry look, a random quarrel, a sugar coated insult or a taunt can not lead the court to grant a decree of divorce. The question that needs to be addressed is that whether the cruelty alleged is antithetic to love and affection, the two basic pillars of matrimony, and whether it has poisoned and polluted the bond of conjugal kindness to such an extent that marriage itself has become a Damocles’ sword for the parties,” Justice Gambhir said while ruling in favour of the wife who had appealed against the divorce order.
The husband had claimed divorce on the ground that his wife had lodged criminal cases of harassment and cruelty against him and his family members.
“As per the settled position of law, looking into the background of the aforementioned criminal cases filed by the wife, it is difficult to accept the argument of the counsel for the husband that the same were filed by the wife just with a view to harassing her husband and the same were without any basis,” the court said while referring to Supreme Court judgments.
The high court accepted the wife’s arguments that the circumstances, including an alleged assault on her and also a murder attempt by the accused, had forced her to register the criminal cases.
“The conduct should be something much more than the ordinary wear and tear of married life and should touch a certain pitch of severity. What may be cruelty in one case may not be cruelty in the other case and each case has to be seen from the prism of its own peculiar fact and situation,” the court said.
It rejected the husband’s submission that his wife had started harassing him on one pretext or the other like a separate residence, getting her pregnancy aborted without his consent, and alleging that her life had been ruined by marrying a clerk.
According to the wife’s appeal, they got married according to Hindu rites in April 1994. But their relationship turned sour after a few years, following which her husband had moved a petition before the trial court for divorce. The divorce was granted in May 2009.