Delhi High Court upheld a divorce decree passed by the Family Court of a Judicial Officer on account of a series of false accusations and other such complaints by the wife which amounted to mental cruelty.
The Judicial Officer sought a divorce decree from the family court under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) was allowed based on the appellant/wife having indulged in every form of cruelty accusation which included demand for dowry, complaint under Section 498A of IPC, leading a promiscuous life eliciting relations with several women. There were several complaints made out against the respondent/husband to the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of Allahabad and other District Judges. The appellant/wife also gave media interviews relating to such allegations.
The Family Court taking note of this concluded summing up that the entirety of litigations and proceedings have brought upon a great deal of mental harassment and thereby leading to mental cruelty. It was also noted that the acts committed by the wife were clearly vindictive and reconciliation was not possible under any circumstance. This is an irrevocable fragmentation of marriage. An appeal was thus filed by the wife under Section 19 of the Act by the wife against the judgment passed by the Family Court in this matter.
The appellant/wife contended that Family Court has erred in passing the decree since it only relied upon the accusations made by her against the respondent mentioned either in her written statement or adduced in the course of her witness examination. Furthermore, there was no pleading made in this regard nor any evidence which could ascertain cruelty as a ground for the divorce decree.
It was also argued by the appellant/wife that tenet of irretrievable breakdown of marriage relied upon by the Family Court was not available to either party.
However, the respondent/husband argued that the doctrine of irretrievable marriage is not a ground for granting a divorce decree, however, it is a factor coupled with the ground of cruelty.
The Division Bench comprising of Justices GS Sistani and Jyoti Singh noted that events emerged out of the evidence of the parties were admitted and that witness testimony could be relied upon by the Courts. The Court also relied on the appellant’s cross-examination which revealed that the father of the appellant persuaded her to make such criminal complaints to “teach him a lesson”.
The Court thus justified that the decree of divorce on grounds of mental cruelty was proper and that such cruelty was occasioned by “making his life miserable by leveling false allegations against him” and further opined:
“Taking into account all the complaints made by the appellant/wife and her father against the respondent/husband, it can be inferred that the appellant/husband has been treated with mental cruelty and faced ignominy being a Judicial Officer. We are of the view that the decree of divorce granted by the Family Court deserves to be affirmed on the ground of mental cruelty.”
The appeal was dismissed and decree of divorce upheld.