Mumbai: Bombay High Court has ruled that wife calling her husband a womanizer and alcoholic without any proof amount to cruelty.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sharmila Deshmukh in its order passed dismissed an appeal filed by a 50-year-old woman, challenging a November 2005 decree passed by a family court in Pune dissolving her marriage to a retired Army officer.
The man died pending a hearing of the high court appeal following which the court directed for his legal heir to be added as a respondent.
The woman in her appeal claimed her husband was a womanizer and alcoholic and due to these vices, she was deprived of her conjugal rights.
The bench said the wife’s conduct in making unwarranted and false allegations against her husband’s character resulted in damage to his reputation in society and this amounts to cruelty.
The high court in its order noted that apart from her own statement, the woman has not produced any evidence to substantiate her allegations.
The man’s lawyer told the court that the petitioner woman had caused mental agony to her husband by making false and defamatory allegations against him.
The court referred to the husband’s deposition before the family court wherein he had claimed that the petitioner separated him from his children and grandchildren.
“It is a settled position in law that ‘cruelty’ can broadly be defined as a conduct that inflicts upon the other party such mental pain and suffering as would make it not possible for that party to live with the other,” the high court said.
The bench further noted that the petitioner’s husband was an ex-Army man who retired as a Major, belonged to the upper strata of society, and had a standing in society.
“The conduct of the petitioner in making unwarranted, false, and baseless allegations pertaining to the respondent’s character and labeling him as an alcoholic and womanizer has resulted in shredding his reputation in the society,” the high court said.
“Considering the above, we find that the conduct of the petitioner constitutes cruelty within the meaning of Section 13 (1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act,” the court said, adding it was a fit case for grant of divorce.