Punjab and Haryana High Court recently noted that the wife bent upon destroying the career and reputation of the husband by making false complaints to his seniors would amount to mental cruelty and the same would entitle the husband to divorce.
The observations were made while the High Court bench comprising Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma was hearing a plea filed by an Indian Air Force personnel. He had sought a divorce decree on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.
While noting that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of their coming together or living together, the bench allowed the husband’s plea and granted a decree of divorce.
The appellant-husband had approached Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging a Rohtak District Court order. In 2013, a district judge dismissed the petition filed by the husband under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act seeking dissolution of marriage.
The appellant had submitted that the respondent deserted him in 2002 and had not returned since then. The husband also alleged that she failed to discharge her matrimonial duties and obligations, ill-treated and mal-treated him, causing physical and mental cruelty.
In the petition, the husband had mentioned that he had initiated divorce proceedings in 2006. However, later on, the parties compromised. The wife had agreed to withdraw the complaint that she had filed before Air Force authorities and also the application for maintenance filed before a Senior Air Force Officer.
Despite the compromise and withdrawal of the divorce plea, the wife didn’t withdraw her complaint and application before the Senior Air Force Officer. She did not even join her husband.
During the probe, the parents of the appellant were found innocent but the appellant had to face the trial for about four and half years.
The husband, then, approached the Family Court seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. However, the court dismissed his petition considering the wife’s submission that neither she deserted him nor caused any cruelty.
The filing of the complaint and initiation of criminal proceedings, which were found to be baseless and false, did cause harassment and torture to the husband and his family and that even one such complaint is sufficient to constitute matrimonial cruelty, the High Court bench observed.
The bench added that the respondent-wife was bent upon destroying the career and reputation of her husband by complaining against him before his senior officers.
“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,” the bench noted.
Noting that the husband and wife have been living separately since 2002 and there is no chance of reconciliation, the bench allowed the instant appeal of the husband.
In addition to granting a divorce decree to the couple, the bench has asked the husband to make an F.D. of 20 lakhs as permanent alimony to the respondent-wife.