An appeal was raised by Smt Aparna Dey, in the High Court of Tripura, challenging the legality of an impugned judgement of the Family Court, Agartala. The appeal was preferred u/s 28 of the HMA, 1955 & u/s 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984.
Smt Aparna Dey & Shri Alok Dey got married on 31-07-2002 according to the Hindu customs & rituals. A daughter was born from the marriage on 28-07-2003.
In the petition filed before the Trial Court, the husband alleged, he was diagnosed with cancer in one of his eyes, 2 years after his marriage. He had only a small motor part business at Agartala, which he had to close because of his ailment. His wife started abusing & avoiding him because of his blindness. On 12-01-2002, in the absence of the husband, the wife along with their daughter left the house & went to her parental home.
On contacting his brother-in-law, he said that his sister will not live with a blind person. His wife never returned to his house despite several requests made by the husband & his relatives. His wife always misbehaved with them on being persuaded to resume the conjugal life.
She approached the State Legal Services Authority, where both the husband & wife were advised to have a vacation together outside the State. The husband even booked tickets for Chennai, but before they left for Chennai, his wife lodged a complaint u/s 498A & IPC at Women P.S against him & his sister, Smt Debika Das. Both of them were arrested.
After the trial, they were convicted & sentenced to imprisonment & fine. The Sessions Judge, allowed the appeal of the husband & acquitted them which was challenged by his wife before the H.C. Subsequently, the husband filed for the divorce.
The wife claimed maintenence u/s 125 CrPC. The Trial Court asked the husband for paying Rs 6,000 towards maintenence which was modified by the H.C. in revision. The maintenance was reduced to Rs 4,000.
According to the husband, his wife's attitude changed after he started losing vision. She deserted him on 12-01-2007, without any genuine reason. Lot of false allegations were brought against him & her married sister. That is why, he filed a petition u/s 13 in the Family Court for granting the decree of divorce on the grounds of cruelty & desertion.
According to the wife, she never deserted him, rather she along with her daughter, were thrown out of her rmatrimonial home by her husband. During their marriage, a lot of valuables were given by her parents. But after 1 year of their marriage, she was abused & humiliated by her alcoholic husband for dowry.
After that she approached SLSA, for reconciliation. They were advised to go for a tour but she was not informed about the date of travelling. She wanted to lead a happy conjugal life. Her husband ousted her from his home. Therefore, she prayed for the dismissal of the husband's petition seeking the decree of divorce.
The Trial Court held that she left her husband without any genuine reason & they did not reunite for 11 years which amounts to irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Moreover, the wife made false allegations against the husband & his family for harassing them which is mental cruelty. Thereby the decree of divorce was granted.
The learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted,
The learned counsel appearing for the respondents submitted,
Observation of the Court:
The court went through all the facts & witnesses. The prosecution witnesses stated that the wife used to humiliate his husband for his blindness & before 12-01-2007, there was no discord in the relationship. While the witnesses for the wife, supported her case.
The court stated, that neither the husband nor his family were cruel to her & they did not throw her out. Rather, the wife never showed a positive attitude to continue leaving with her husband even after requests.
The court also referred to some cases relied upon by the Trial Court. In the case of Rani Narasimha Sastry v Rani Suneeta Rani MANU/SC/1837/2019, the Apex Court held that mere filing of complaint against the petitioner won't amount to mental cruelty but, when a person undergoes trial in which he is acquitted, then it cannot be said that no mental cruelty was meted on the husband.
Also in the case of K. Srinivas Rao v D.A. Deepa (2013) 5 SCC 226, the Apex Court stated that though a marriage which has irretrievably broken down is not ground for divorce but it cannot be revived by the decree of Court. The bitterness for each other & drying up of emotions cannot be springed back by some artificial reunion.
The court pointed out that, if the marriage has irretrievably broken down & it's continuation will cause agony to the parties, in such cases to relieve them from pain & anguish, the court may grant the decree of divorce.
The court stated, that when the husband needed the support of his wife, she abandoned him & lebelled allegations for dowry against him. This caused mental pain & suffering to her husband & amounts to mental cruelty.
The court also pointed that they have lived apart for more than 13 years & so there's no chance of restoration of their conjugal life. Efforts have been made to restore their marriage, but irretrievable breakdown of marriage is quite impossible to save. And so, the Trial Court was justified in dissolving the marriage.
The Court disposed off the appeal by ordering the respondent to pay monthly maintenance allowance of Rs 4,000 to the appellant & Rs 6,000 for his daughter.
Quorum: Hon'ble Mr Justice S.Talapatra & Hon'ble Mr Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay.
Case Courtesy: Smt Aparna Dey v Shri Alok Dey.