Cruelty on Husband under Hindu Marriage Act
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Cruelty on Husband under Hindu Marriage Act

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 23-Feb-2024

Source: Delhi High Court

Why in News?

Recently, the bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna held that “There is no doubt that there can be regular fights between the couple which are normal wear and tear of the married life, but certainly there is fine thin line which has to be taken care”.

  • The aforesaid observation was made in the matter of X v. Y.

What was the Background of X v. Y Case?

  • The wife alleged that her marriage with her husband was solemnized under Arya Samaj when they were minors.
  • The wife further alleged there was much interference from her husband’s family in the marriage.
  • They also had a son out of that marriage.
  • And, both husband and wife have been living separately since 2004.
  • The complaint was filed by the husband on the ground of cruelty by the wife under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA).

What were the Court’s Observations?

  • The Delhi HC held that “Even though the incidents narrated by the appellant do not implicate the respondent if viewed in isolation, but altogether demonstrate her non adjusting attitude, due to which appellant had to suffer public humiliation and thereby, suffered mental cruelty”.

What is Cruelty on Husband under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955?

  • About:
    • Section 13(1)(i-a) of HMA provides cruelty as a ground for seeking divorce.
    • Cruelty, as defined in the Act, includes both physical and mental cruelty.
    • Any party, whether husband or wife can seek divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of HMA.
  • Landmark Cases:
    • Dastane v. Dastane (1975)
      • Supreme Court noted that the act of the wife constituted mental cruelty upon the husband, however, did not grant divorce because of the continued sexual relations between the couple.
    • Mayadevi v. Jagdish Prasad (2007)
      • The case involved a wife, married in 1993, accused of frequent money demands, threats, and cruelty towards her husband and children.
      • She allegedly abused, threatened, and ultimately caused the death of three children.
      • Despite pending criminal appeal, courts found her guilty of mental and physical cruelty, granting the husband a divorce decree.
    • Vishwanat v. Sau. Sarla Vishwanath Agrawal (2012)
      • The appellant and respondent (wife) married in April 1979.
      • The appellant filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences and mental cruelty, alleging the respondent's disrespectful behavior towards family and indifference to the appellant's mother's health.
      • The wife went public in newspapers, alleging that her husband was both a womanizer and a drunkard.
        • Additionally, she fabricated false accusations against him.
  • The court found in favor of the appellant (husband), granting divorce.