A division bench of Delhi High Court held as follows,
From Para 50,
50. Hence, it is no more res integra that such reckless, defamatory, humiliating and unsubstantiated allegations by one spouse, which has the impact of publically tarnishing the image of the other spouse, is nothing but acts of extreme cruelty. In the present case as well, the appellant always had doubts on the fidelity of her husband which necessarily led to harassment resulting in mental cruelty to the respondent/husband. The strongest pillars on which any marriage stands is trust, faith and respect, and thus, no person can reasonably be expected to put with such disrespectful conduct of their “significant other” who lacks faith in her partner. Any spouse not only expects their partner to respect them but also envisions that in times of need, the spouse would act as a shield to protect their image and reputation. Unfortunately, here is a case where the husband himself is being publically harassed, humiliated and verbally-attacked by his wife, who had gone to the extent of levelling allegation of infidelity during his office meetings in front of all his office staff/guests. She even took to harassing the woman workers of his office and left no stone unturned to portray him as a womanizer in the office. This behaviour is but an act of extreme cruelty to the respondent/husband.
From Paras 56 and 57,
56. The other act of cruelty relied upon by the respondent was that the appellant/wife used to allege that the respondent/husband was impotent. She compelled him to go for Doppler‟s Impotency Test in which he was found to be fit. Such allegations caused mental cruelty to the respondent.
57. This version has been explained by the appellant who asserted that the respondent/husband suffered losses in his business on account of change of Government policies in regard to the business with European countries because of which he went into depression and took to smoking and drinking. She, out of concern for his health, insisted on his visiting the Doctor. She denied that she got the Impotency Test conducted of the respondent/ husband. The appellant while fanning ignorance about the test being conducted, herself gave the explanation that the respondent had visited the Doctor to address his problem of not being able to perform sexually when under intoxication and irritated and frustrated. The admissions of the appellant establish that the respondent was made to undergo the Impotency Test in which he was found to be fit. Clearly, such averments and allegations about the manhood of a person would not only be depressive but also mentally traumatic for any person to accept.
From Para 58,
58. The appellant had made serious allegations of respondent being abusive, quarrelsome and erratic in his behaviour. However, in her cross-examination she admitted that the respondent used to provide everything to her and the child and that he never made any dowry demands. The allegations of dowry demands by the respondent and his family members clearly get demolished by her own admissions. Learned Addl. Principal Judge has rightly concluded that levelling of such allegations of dowry demands would certainly cause mental cruelty to the respondent and his family members.
From Para 60,
Neeta Amar Vs Vipul Amar on 20 Dec 2023
60. In the case of Prabin Gopal v. Meghna, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2193 in a similar situation, the Kerala High Court observed that the mother had intentionally distanced the child from the father and had deprived the child from the parental love and affection. It was a case of parental alienation where the child, who was in the custody of one parent, had been psychologically manipulated against the estranged parent. It was a strategy whereby one parent intentionally displayed to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent, with the intent to damage the relationship between the child and the estranged parent and to turn the child emotionally against the parent. It was further observed that the child has a right to love and affection of both the parents and likewise, the parents also have a right to receive love and affection of the child. Any act of any parent calculated to deny such affection to the other parent, amounts to alienating the child which amounts to mental cruelty. Since the child was in the custody of the mother, it was held that the mother had breached her duty which she owed as a custodian parent to instil love, affection and feelings in the child for the father. Nothing more can be more painful than experiencing one’s own flesh and blood i.e., the child, rejecting him or her. Such wilful alienation of the child by a parent amounts to mental cruelty to the other parent.