Delhi High Court has ruled that a wife making serious and unproven allegations of criminal conduct against her husband and in-laws tantamount to cruelty.
A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was hearing a woman’s appeal against the judgment of a family court that had granted a divorce to the husband. The court dismissed the wife’s appeal.
The Court observed that a wife making serious unproven allegations of criminal conduct against her husband and his parents amounts to cruelty as a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
“The mere fact that she made serious allegations of criminal conduct against the respondent and his parents – which she could not establish before the Court, was sufficient to constitute acts of cruelty against the respondent,” the court said
The couple had married in December 2007 and both were blessed with a child in November 2011. Later, the woman registered a complaint with the police under Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code in 2013.
The husband and his parents were subsequently taken into custody. While his parents were released after a day, he was kept in custody for three days. Both the husband and his parents were acquitted in August 2015 and an appeal against the acquittal was also dismissed in January the next year.
After the family court granted the husband a divorce decree on the ground of cruelty, the wife approached the High Court in appeal.
Counsel for the appellant’s wife had argued that she did not oppose the bail pleas of her husband and her in-laws. It was also submitted that she had filed a petition to seek restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the HMA.
“How can the respondent be expected to allow the appellant into his life in these circumstances? The faith and trust – which is the foundation of a matrimonial bond stood completely demolished by the aforesaid conduct of the appellant. For a man to see his parents to be taken into custody and being incarcerated even for a single day would have caused immense and untold pain and agony to him…Did she not know that their conviction would have led to their being sentenced to imprisonment? Therefore, her conduct of not opposing the bail application is neither here, nor there,” the court said