Repeated cases and complaints against spouse can amount to “cruelty”- SC
The Apex Court, while hearing a review petition, observed that in case repeated cases and complaints are being filed against a spouse, the same can amount to “cruelty” for the purpose of seeking divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The bench further referred to such conducts and observed that even though repeated filing of cases occurred after the divorce petition, the husband would be eligible to seek divorce on ground of irretrievable marriage and cruelty.
In the instant case, the wife left the company of her husband on the first day of marriage. Upon her refusal to stay with her husband, the latter filed for a divorce on the ground of cruelty. The trial court allowed the divorce petition, and later, the same had been restored by the High Court.
Subsequently, the wife preferred a review petition questioning the jurisdiction of High Court to allow the decree of divorce, and the same had been allowed.
The bench noted that after the filing of divorce petition, the respondent-wife had resorted to filing multiple cases in courts, including disciplinary proceedings against her husband who worked as an Assistant Professor, made representation before his college to initiate disciplinary proceedings, sought information about her husband’s remarriage, abused the process of RTI.
Moreover, the respondent-wife lodged a criminal complaint under Section 494 of Indian Penal Code. The bench observed that such continued acts displayed disintegration of marital unity and parties’ marriage. Further, it stated that continuous allegations and litigative proceedings amounted to cruelty.
The bench placed reliance on a number of precedents and explained legislature’s reluctance in introducing irretrievable breakdown as a ground for divorce. It further observed that families are arranged on the idea of mutual expectation of support, respect and amity, which had been missing in the instant case.
The Supreme Court therefore, allowed the appeals and dissolved the marriage.
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