Hon’ble Apex Court has in this judgment, held that giving repeated threats of suicide to husband and making suicide attempts for no reason, or even one such event was sufficient for the Appellant husband to get a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. It is needless to add that such threats or acts constitute cruelty. And the knife also wanted the Appellant to get separated from his family.
The division bench of the Supreme Court destroyed the arguments of respondent, piece-by-piece.
From Para 10, attempts/threats to commit suicide
10. With regard to the allegations of cruelty levelled by the Appellant, we are in agreement with the findings of the trial Court. First of all, let us look at the incident with regard to an attempt to commit suicide by the Respondent. Upon perusal of the evidence of the witnesses, the findings arrived at by the trial Court to the effect that the Respondent wife had locked herself in the bathroom and had poured kerosene on herself so as to commit suicide, are not in dispute. Fortunately for the Appellant, because of the noise and disturbance, even the neighbours of the Appellant rushed to help and the door of the bathroom was broken open and the Respondent was saved. Had she been successful in her attempt to commit suicide, then one can foresee the consequences and the plight of the Appellant because in that event the Appellant would have been put to immense difficulties because of the legal provisions. We feel that there was no fault on the part of the Appellant nor was there any reason for the Respondent wife to make an attempt to commit suicide. No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life. The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing. Such a mental cruelty could not have been taken lightly by the High Court. In our opinion, only this one event was sufficient for the Appellant husband to get a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. It is needless to add that such threats or acts constitute cruelty. Our aforesaid view is fortified by a decision of this Court in the case of Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple @ Kajal (2011) 12 SCC 1, wherein it has been held that giving repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to cruelty.mental
From Para 11, wanted/attempting to get her husband separated from his family
11. The Respondent wife wanted the Appellant to get separated from his family. The evidence shows that the family was virtually maintained from the income of the Appellant husband. It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from the parents upon getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family. In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason, she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her. In the instant case, upon appreciation of the evidence, the trial Court came to the conclusion that merely for monetary considerations, the Respondent wife wanted to get her husband separated from his family. The averment of the Respondent was to the effect that the income of the Appellant was also spent for maintaining his family. The said grievance of the Respondent is absolutely unjustified. A son maintaining his parents is absolutely normal in Indian culture and ethos. There is no other reason for which the Respondent wanted the Appellant to be separated from the family – the sole reason was to enjoy the income of the Appellant. Unfortunately, the High Court considered this to be a justifiable reason. In the opinion of the High Court, the wife had a legitimate expectation to see that the income of her husband is used for her and not for the family members of the Respondent husband. We do not see any reason to justify the said view of the High Court. As stated hereinabove, in a Hindu society, it is a pious obligation of the son to maintain the parents. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income. The persistent effort of the Respondent wife to constrain the Appellant to be separated from the family would be torturous for the husband and in our opinion, the trial Court was right when it came to the conclusion that this constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’.
From Para 12, allegations of extra-marital affair with maid Kamla
12. With regard to the allegations about an extra-marital affair with maid named Kamla, the re-appreciation of the evidence by the High Court does not appear to be correct. There is sufficient evidence to the effect that there was no maid named Kamla working at the residence of the Appellant. Some averment with regard to some relative has been relied upon by the High Court to come to a conclusion that there was a lady named Kamla but the High Court has ignored the fact that the Respondent wife had levelled allegations with regard to an extra-marital affair of the Appellant with the maid and not with someone else. Even if there was some relative named Kamla, who might have visited the Appellant, there is nothing to substantiate the allegations levelled by the Respondent with regard to an extra-marital affair. True, it is very difficult to establish such allegations but at the same time, it is equally true that to suffer an allegation pertaining to one’s character of having an extra-marital affair is quite torturous for any person – be it a husband or a wife.
Finally from Para 15, desertion of husband for over 20 years
Narendra Vs K.Meena on 6 October, 2016
15. Taking an overall view of the entire evidence and the judgment delivered by the trial Court, we firmly believe that there was no need to take a different view than the one taken by the trial Court. The behaviour of the Respondent wife appears to be terrifying and horrible. One would find it difficult to live with such a person with tranquility and peace of mind. Such torture would adversely affect the life of the husband. It is also not in dispute that the Respondent wife had left the matrimonial house on 12th July, 1995 i.e. more than 20 years back. Though not on record, the learned counsel submitted that till today, the Respondent wife is not staying with the Appellant. The daughter of the Appellant and Respondent has also grown up and according to the learned counsel, she is working in an IT company. We have no reason to disbelieve the aforestated facts because with the passage of time, the daughter must have grown up and the separation of the Appellant and the wife must have also become normal for her and therefore, at this juncture it would not be proper to bring them together, especially when the Appellant husband was treated so cruelly by the Respondent wife.
Citations : [2016 SCC ONLINE SC 1114], [2016 SCC 9 455], [2016 SCC CIV 4 519], [2016 DLT 233 149], [2016 KLJ 4 287]
Other Sources :
Forcing the husband to leave his parents, who are dependent on his income, amounts to cruelty