Elaborating upon the scope of cruelty within a marriage, the Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal filed before it challenging the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Family Court wherein the marriage was dissolved on the grounds of cruelty committed by the appellant/wife. The Respondent/Husband was being accused by his wife of having illicit relationships with his Bhabhi/Sister-in-Law. The Husband filed a petition seeking divorce from the wife giving reference to a list of incidences which attempted to highlight the behaviour of the wife. The Husband further placed reference to instances wherein the Wife alleged to commit suicide upon non-fulfilment of her demands. During the Trial, the Hon’ble Family Court placed reference to the evidences and statements of witnesses and Police officers who had attempted to resolve the disputes on several occasions. The Hon’ble Family Court, in its judgment dated 31.10.2017, dissolved the marriage on the grounds of the Husband facing cruelty by the Wife wherein it was observed that

“53. The respondent though levelled these serious allegation against petitioner in her written statement.

But the respondent has not made even a whisper of above allegations in her deposition. The above allegations levelled by the respondent regarding the illicit relations of petitioner and his sister-in-law (Bhabhi) in WS has not been substantiated by her as she has not made a single averment in her deposition in this regard nor she has led any other evidence to substantiate the said allegation.”.

In the appeal, the Appellant stated that the judgement was passed without placing any reference into the evidence that the petition filed by the Husband was on false and concocted facts and that there was improper appreciation of evidence. The High Court placed reference upon the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi (1988) 1 SCC 105 wherein the Apex Court observed that “cruelty may be mental or physical, intentional or unintentional.” Reference was also placed upon various other judgements such as Savitri Pandey v. Prem Chandra Pandey (2002) 2 SCC 73, Parveen Mehta v. Inderjit Mehta (2002) 5 SCC 706, V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat (1994) 1 SCC 337 which explained the condition and/or situations that came within the purview of the definition of cruelty. The High Court further observed that it was the Husband who had succeeded in proving the facts of the abusive and cruel nature of the Wife not only towards the Husband but also towards other members of the family too. The High Court dismissed the appeal as there was no infirmity or illegality in the judgement of the Family Court.


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Judgment: S Versus M.K