High Court Rules False Infidelity Charge is Cruelty, Grants Divorce

Imputing an illicit relationship and not being able to even ‘probablise it’ provides sufficient grounds for divorce, the High Court has ruled.

Published: 12th January 2014 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2014 09:17 AM   |  A+A-

Imputing an illicit relationship and not being able to even ‘probablise it’ provides sufficient grounds for divorce, the High Court has ruled.

A division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunatha and Justice A V Chandrashekar passed an order in favour of Suresh, who had sought a divorce from Kavya, his wife of 25 years (both names changed).

She suspected his fidelity, called him impotent, filed a false criminal case and even tried to choke him to death, all of which amounts to cruelty, the court said.

The bench observed that Suresh had been able to substantiate that he had been subjected to cruelty.

Persistent Hostility

In the court’s view, persistent hostility of a spouse amounts to cruelty. And so is initiating a false complaint and causing loss of standing in society.

When a serious written allegation is made against the husband, imputing an illicit relationship, it constitutes mental cruelty. Initiating false criminal proceedings also amounts to cruelty under the Hindu Marriage Act, the bench ruled. Suresh (46) and Kavya (50) were working in a bank and fell in love. They got married on August, 24, 1989, despite opposition from their families that they belonged to different castes, and the bride was older than the groom.

Six months later, Suresh developed a health problem and underwent an operation of the testes, one of which had to be removed. He went in for surgery as doctors had told him it could lead to cancer otherwise. The couple pulled on till 1999. But serious problems arose when the wife started saying he was having an affair with an engineering student. Suresh tried his best to convince her it wasn’t true.

Kavya also started cursing him saying she could not conceive because of his operation. In November 2003, when Suresh was asleep, Kavya thrust a pillow on his face in an alleged effort to kill him. Suresh survived, thanks to his family. That was when he decided to seek divorce. He filed a petition before the family court, which denied him a divorce.

He went in appeal to the High Court. There, Kavya denied she had accused Suresh of an affair. But her written statement showed otherwise.

On July 21, 2008, Kavya filed a criminal complaint against Suresh and his family, accusing them of theft in the house, and the case is pending. However, they got bail.

Three days later, Kavya filed another complaint accusing Suresh and his relatives of cruelty. She argued against grant of divorce.

The high court observed that she was not willing to stay with Suresh, restituting conjugal rights, since she had made an allegation about an affair and pursued it before the trial court.

The bench observed that the trial court had ignored important points, and allowed the divorce on grounds of cruelty. It dissolved their marriage with immediate effect.

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