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Forcing Husband to Stay Away from his Parents and Character Assassination of Husband by Wife amounts to Cruelty

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Forcing Husband to Stay Away from his Parents and Character Assassination of Husband by Wife amounts to Cruelty

Narendra vs. K. Meena [Civil Appeal No. 3253 of 2008]
The facts of the case are that the appellant, namely Narendra, approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court praying for decree of divorce. The marriage between the both was solemnized in 1992. The appellant filed for the divorce as the respondent had become cruel because of her highly suspicious nature and she used to allege him of extra- marital affair on baseless grounds. The Respondent was also forcing the Appellant to leave his parent’s home and live separately with her and in this case, it would be more cruel for the appellant to stay only with her and with her such suspicious nature and behaviour. The Trial Court granted the decree of divorce to the appellant on this basis but the High Court set aside this decree. So, the appellant approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The main issue of the case was that if the respondent forcing her husband to stay away from his parents amounts to cruelty or the character assassination of appellant by the respondent amounts to mental cruelty?

The appellant argued that the High Court failed to notice that the allegations of character assassination and forcing him to stay away from his family have caused the appellant mental cruelty even though the appellant have provided the Court with enough evidences to rely on. The High Court had committed a grave mistake in the process of re-appreciating the evidence as provided by the appellant. The appellant also said that not only this but there are other incidents too where he had been subjected to mental cruelty by the respondent. The respondent would very often threaten the Appellant that she would put an end to her life by committing suicide. One day the respondent had a quarrel with the appellant and then she went to the washroom, locked it from inside and poured kerosene on her body. The appellant realized that smell of kerosene was coming from the bathroom then the appellant with the help of this elder brother and neighbours broke open the door of the bathroom and prevented her from committing suicide. This all has caused grave mental cruelty to the appellant and appellant was also able to provide the Court with the evidence of the same. The appellant stated that the respondent alleging him of extra-marital affair was on baseless grounds. The wife has alleged that the appellant had an extra-marital affair with their maid named ‘Kamla’ whereas the appellant had proved that no maid named Kamla had ever worked in the house of the Appellant.

The High Court in its judgement has stated that the appellant has not been subjected to any mental cruelty, which would enable him to get a decree of divorce, as per the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA). The allegations with respect to the character of the Appellant and the extra-marital affair with a maid were taken very seriously by the Family Court, but the High Court did not consider the false allegations made or gave any importance to it. The constant persuasion by the wife for getting separated from the family members of the Appellant and forcing the Appellant to live separately with her only was also ignored by the High Court. The incident with regard to an attempt to commit suicide made by the Respondent was also not considered.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India gave its judgement in the year 2016 and held that the appellant was subjected to mental cruelty by the respondent. Forcing the husband to stay away from his parents and other family members and alleging the husband of an extra-marital affair on baseless grounds by the wife amounts to mental cruelty.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Anjali Swami

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