Giving threats to commit Suicide amounts to Cruelty
Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple [(2011)12 SCC 1
The facts of the case are that the marriage of appellant namely Pankaj Mahajan and respondent Dimple was solemnized on 2 october,2000 and they had one female child out of wedlock. After the marriage, the appellant notices some changes in the behaviour of the respondent. She used to abruptly get very aggressive and suspicious in nature. In her anger, she used to give threat to appellant that she would end her life by committing suicide and frame the appellant and his family member in forged criminal case, unless provided with a separate residence. On one occasion, the respondent even attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the terrace. Therefore, the appellant shifted to a rented hose with the respondent but even after this the respondent continued to behave abnormally and gave constant threat to her husband that she would commit suicide. The appellant approached the Family Court praying for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty and unsound mind of respondent wife. The Family Court after examining the pleadings of the appellant, gave the decree of divorce which was later set aside by the High Court and then the appellant moved with his appeal to the Supreme Court of India.
Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955 defines Divorce and it states that a decree of divorce can be obtained by either party to the marriage on the grounds specified in this provision. Two of those grounds are- Cruelty and Unsound mind of either party to the marriage. The appellant had provided the Court with enough evidence that the respondent is of unsound mind and her disease is incurable. Various doctors, who treated her and other witnesses were also examined. It was found that the respondent indeed was suffering from some bipolar disorder which is incurable.
The appellant also proved by providing enough evidence that he was a victim of cruelty caused by the respondent. There are several incidents that prove that the respondent’s conduct was as such that caused the appellant mental pain and suffering. These conduct of respondent are – The respondent used to slap the appellant and assaulted him; one time she pushed the appellant from the staircase resulting into fracture of his right forearm; not preparing food and not taking care of their child; insulting the parents and misbehaving with them; repeated fits of insanity and abnormal behaviour of the respondent; misbehaving with the colleagues and the relatives of the appellant causing humiliation to the appellant; forcing the appellant to live separately from his parents; causing nuisance to the landlord’s family and causing the same landlord to force the appellant to vacate the premises and giving repeated threats to commit suicide and even trying to commit suicide on one occasion. All these conducts of the respondent are proved to cause mental pain and suffering to the appellant and it is certain that there is no possibility to unite the chain of marital life between the appellant and the respondent.
It was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of the India that the conduct of the respondent in present case can be termed as ‘cruelty’ and it was recognized that giving threats to commit suicide or bringing the end to life cause mental cruelty to the spouse. To constitute cruelty conduct complained should be of grave nature and good enough to give an idea that two spouses cannot cohabit under those circumstances. The Court observed that these conducts of respondent are enough to prove that the appellant has suffered mental cruelty and should be provided with the decree of divorce.
Marriage | Dowry | Cruelty | Domestic Violence | Divorce | Stridhan | Maintenance
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Anjali Swami