The Supreme Court in the present case (Rani Narasimha Sastry v. Rani Suneela Rani) has observed that a husband charged with Section 498A of IPC by his wife has undergone trial and has been rightly acquitted can seek divorce on grounds of cruelty. It can be said that cruelty has been meted to him.
The High Court in this case refused to grant a decree of divorce to the husband because of reason in which the wife sought for maintenance or pursued charges against the husband which is an offence under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. Complaints filed under such sections cannot be held as ground of cruelty for the purposes of divorce.
The Division Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha dissented to the view of High Court and observed:
“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 8 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.”
The bench observed that the charges under Section 498A of IPC are of high gravity and the husband has undergone trial which resulted into his acquittal. There has been recording of serious allegation being levelled against each other. The appellant/husband in the present case seeking divorce decree has rightly established ground of cruelty.
“In view of forgoing discussion, we conclude that appellant has made a ground for grant of decree of dissolution of marriage on the ground as mentioned in Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. We allow the appeal of the appellant and grant decree of divorce.”