A division bench of Delhi High Court granted divorce to a couple who are separated for over 17 years…
From Para 17,
17. The divorce has been sought on the ground of cruelty. While “physical cruelty” is visible and easy to comprehend and determine, the more challenging aspect is “mental agony” which has been recognized as part of “cruelty” which once established, is a valid ground of divorce. The contours of “mental cruelty” were defined in case of V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat (1994) 1 SCC 337, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that mental cruelty in Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act, 1956 can broadly be defined as that conduct which inflicts upon the other party such mental pain and suffering as would make it not possible for that party to live with the other. In other words, mental cruelty must be of such a nature that the parties cannot reasonably be expected to live together. The situation must be such that the wronged party cannot reasonably be asked to put-up with such conduct and continue to live with the other party. It is not necessary to prove that the mental cruelty is such as to cause injury to the health of the party.What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case. It is a matter to be determined in each case having regard to the facts and circumstances of that case.
From Paras 22 and 23,
22. During the trial, the allegations had not been established as held by the Order of Ld. Mahila Court, South District and amounts to a clear and categorical character assassination of the appellant as well as his family members.
23. It is not under challenge that the criminal proceedings under Section 107/151 Cr.P.C. were initiated against the parties. A Police Station is not the best of places for anyone to visit. It is a source of mental harassment and trauma each time he was required to visit the Police Station, like the “Damocles Sword” hanging over his head, not knowing when a case would be registered against him and he would be arrested. The respondent had done everything to get the appellant and his family entrapped in the criminal case. Such conduct of making false allegations and constant threat of being summoned to Police Station are the acts which severely impact the mental balance and all the acts of cruelty.
From Para 27,
Kulvinder Singh Gehlot Vs Parmila on 22 Aug 2023
27. A law of divorce based mainly on fault is inadequate to deal with a broken marriage. Under the “Fault theory”, guilt has to be proved; divorce courts are presented with concrete instances of human behaviour as they bring the institution of marriage into disrepute. We have been principally impressed by the consideration that once the marriage has broken down beyond repair, it would be unrealistic for the law not to take notice of the fact, and it would be harmful to society and injurious to the interests of the parties. Where there has been a long period continuous separation, it may be fairly surmised that the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. The marriage becomes a fiction, though supported by a legal tie. By refusing to sever that tie the law in such cases does not serve the sanctity of marriage; on the contrary, it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of the parties. The Family Court ought to have visualised that preservation of such a marriage is totally unworkable which has ceased to be effective and would be a greater source of misery for the parties. The Family Court ought to have considered that a human problem can be properly resolved by adopting a human approach. In the instant case, not to grant a decree of divorce would be disastrous for the parties. Otherwise, there may be a ray of hope for the parties that after a passage of time (after obtaining a decree of divorce) the parties may psychologically and emotionally settle down and start a new chapter in life.
Citations: [2023 SCC ONLINE DEL 5122]
Index of Divorce Judgments here.