HC: Forcing husband to keep away from relatives, Cruelty

NAGPUR: Granting relief to a Pune-based architect, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court ruled that demanding separation from husband’s relatives also amounts to cruelty and therefore, he is entitled for divorce.

“The evidence by the husband that wife was continuously pestering and demanding him to stay away from his relatives proves that she treated him with cruelty. On its basis, the husband is entitled to a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty,” a division bench comprising justice Vasanti Naik and justice AM Badar ruled.

The court also struck down Akola family court’s verdict of December 12, 2012, that had rejected the husband’s application for dissolution of marriage on the ground of desertion and cruelty citing that he failed to provide separate accommodation for her.

Ashish and Sunanda got married on December 13, 2006, but she was misbehaving with family members from the beginning. She also used to pester him to stay away from the family and sever all ties. On March 4, 2007, she left for paternal home while refusing to “cohabit” with the family members.

After Ashish filed a petition in the family court, a mediator convinced them to give a last chance to save their marriage. He then arranged a separate accommodation at a chawl on the Pune-Satara highway by paying Rs 40,000 deposit and Rs 4,000 rent, but she demanded a better accommodation in good locality.

Ashish and Sunanda got married on December 13, 2006, but she was misbehaving with family members from the beginning. She also used to pester him to stay away from the family and sever all ties. On March 4, 2007, she left for paternal home .Giving a last chance to their marriage, arranged a separate accommodation at a chawl on the Pune-Satara highway by paying Rs 40,000 deposit and Rs 4,000 rent, but she demanded a better accommodation in good locality.

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Ashish then again moved to the family court for dissolution of marriage but Sunanda opposed it stating that she was tortured by her mother-in-law when she was pregnant. Though family court found that the wife had treated the husband with cruelty, it refused to grant divorce on the ground that the husband can’t take advantage of his own wrong. When Ashish moved the high court, the judges observed that the wife herself was residing in the joint family and failed to prove charges of ill-treatment against in-laws.

“It wasn’t necessary for the husband to secure a separate accommodation for himself and wife, when he had clearly established on the basis of oral and documentary evidence that the wife treated him with cruelty. The acts of cruelty on her part can’t be wiped out only because the husband hadn’t secured accommodation as per her desire,” the judges observed. They pointed out that the wife left the husband’s company for more than a period of seven to eight years without any justifiable cause, and he was entitled to a divorce, more so, when the family court had answered the issue in regard to cruelty in his favour. “When the family court held that the acts on the part of the wife in seeking separate accommodation tantamounted to cruelty then, it couldn’t have proceeded to hold that the husband hadn’t made sincere efforts to arrange for the separate accommodation,” the court said before granting divorce as per Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

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