The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court came for the rescue of a woman while observing that the habit of chewing tobacco is not a sufficient ground to grant a divorce decree.
The court upheld the trial court ruling of January 21, 2015, a division bench of Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala and Justice Atul Chandrukar noted that the husband’s allegations are general and omnibus in nature. “It’s the specific allegation that since wife was having a habit of chewing tobacco, he was required to spend a lot of money for her medical treatment. However, he failed to bring on record the medical papers and bills in support of this pleading,” the bench said.
The bench further added, “If the marriage is dissolved, their son and daughter would suffer a big loss and their welfare will be affected. In the best interest of both children, the marital tie shall remain intact. No case is made out by the husband to disturb the trial court’s well-reasoned findings.”
Shankar the appellate/husband had challenged the family court verdict of January 21, 2015, where he had filed a petition seeking dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The couple got married on June 15, 2003, and has one son and daughter.
In the petition, the appellate had mentioned that his wife is addicted to chewing tobacco and therefore she had developed a cyst in her stomach. Due to her ailment, he has to incur all the expenses for her treatment. He also claimed that his wife was not doing the household work, used to quarrel with his parents, and kept going to her parental home without informing him.
The court noted that these allegations aren’t sufficient to form an opinion that he is undergoing acute mental pain, agony, suffering, disappointment and frustration and hence, it’s not possible for him to live in wife’s company.
“These charges are nothing but normal wear and tear in married life. The couple lived together for around nine years and the husband couldn’t produce specific instances of mental harassment to enable this court to adjudicate the case of mental cruelty in his favour. On the contrary, he admitted that in 2008 he was detected HIV positive and wife stayed with him till 2010. The instances of physical and mental harassment, as proved by her, are on better footing than him,” the bench said.
The bench also said that married life should be assessed as a whole and a few isolated instances over certain periods will not amount to cruelty.
The division bench further stated, “The ill-conduct must be preceded for a fairly lengthy period where the relationship has deteriorated to an extent that because of the acts and behaviour of a spouse, one party finds it extremely difficult to live with another. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels, normal wear and tear of married life, which happens in day to day life in all families, wouldn’t be adequate for divorce.”