Sivasankaran Vs Santhimeenal on 13 Sep 2021
Other Sources :
Sivasankaran Vs Santhimeenal on 13 Sep 2021
Other Sources :
The division bench of Apex Court held as follows regarding how to prove non-consummation of marriage under Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Yuvraj Digvijay Singh Vs Yuvrani Pratap Kumari on 2 May, 1969
A party is impotent if his or her mental or physical condition makes consummation of the marriage a practical impossibility. The condition must be one, according to the statute, which existed at the time of the marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings. In order to entitle the appellant to obtain a decree of nullity, as prayed for by him, he will have to establish that his wife, the respondent, was impotent at the time of the marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings.
Citations : [1970 AIR SC 137], [1969 SCC 2 279], [1970 SCR 1 559], [1970 AIR SC 1373]
Other Sources :
The UK case law is here.
The Index is here.
The Husband filed this appeal when his divorce petition was dismissed. Division bench of Kerala High Court relying on landmark judgments, held that the baseless accusation of the wife regd the alleged erectile dysfunction of the husband caused mental cruelty and therefore, granted the Divorce on the ground of cruelty.XXXXX Vs XXXXX on 31 May 2021
Supreme Court talks as follows regarding Mental Cruelty:
The question that requires to be answered first is as to whether the averments, accusations and character assassination of the wife by the appellant husband in the written statement constitutes mental cruelty for sustaining the claim for divorce under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Act. The position of law in this regard has come to be well settled and declared that leveling disgusting accusations of unchastity and indecent familiarity with a person outside wedlock and allegations of extra marital relationship is a grave assault on the character, honour, reputation, status as well as the health of the wife. Such aspersions of perfidiousness attributed to the wife, viewed in the context of an educated Indian wife and judged by Indian conditions and standards would amount to worst form of insult and cruelty, sufficient by itself to substantiate cruelty in law, warranting the claim of the wife being allowed. That such allegations made in the written statement or suggested in the course of examination and by way of cross-examination satisfy the requirement of law has also come to be firmly laid down by this Court. On going through the relevant portions of such allegations, we find that no exception could be taken to the findings recorded by the Family Court as well as the High Court. We find that they are of such quality, magnitude and consequence as to cause mental pain, agony and suffering amounting to the reformulated concept of cruelty in matrimonial law causing profound and lasting disruption and driving the wife to feel deeply hurt and reasonably apprehend that it would be dangerous for her to live with a husband who was taunting her like that and rendered the maintenance of matrimonial home impossible.
As to what constitute the required mental cruelty for purposes of the said provision, in our view, will not depend upon the numerical count of such incidents or only on the continuous course of such conduct, but really go by the intensity, gravity and stigmatic impact of it when meted out even once and the deleterious effect of it on the mental attitude, necessary for maintaining a conducive matrimonial home. If the taunts, complaints and reproaches are of ordinary nature only, the Courts perhaps need consider the further question as to whether their continuance or persistence over a period time render, what normally would, otherwise, not be a so serious an act to be so injurious and painful as to make the spouse charged with them genuinely and reasonable conclude that the maintenance of matrimonial home is not possible any longer. A conscious and deliberate statement leveled with pungency and that too placed on record, through the written statement, cannot so lightly be ignored or brushed aside, to be of no consequence merely because it came to be removed from the record only.
Vijay Kumar Ramachandra Bhate Vs Neela Vijay Kumar Bhate on 16 April, 2003
Citations : [2003 SCC 6 334], [2003 ALLMR SC 3 777], [2003 AIR SC 2530], [2003 SUPREME 3 416], [2003 AIR SC 2462], [2003 SCALE 4 134], [2004 BOMCR SC 2 384], [2003 ALD SC 3 124], [2003 AWC SC 3 2101], [2003 BLJR 3 1658], [2003 DMC SC 1 685], [2003 JCR SC 3 1], [2003 JT SC 4 85], [2003 LW 4 609], [2003 MLJ SC 3 115], [2003 PLJR 2 200], [2003 SCR 3 607], [2003 UC 2 1211], [2003 UJ 2 947], [2003 AIR SCW 2530]
Other Sources :
For the act of asking to do household chores by her Mother-in-law, this women forced husband to setup a separate family ditching the elderly mother-in-law. Family Court fell for it but Kerala High Court (Justice Many Joseph) granted divorce in favor of husband on the ground of cruelty (Mental cruelty).
Married on 17.04.2003
Left the matrimonial home on 10.02.2011
Case no: OP 805/2011
Decision of Family Court, THALASSERY on 21-01-2014
Mat.Appeal.No.137 OF 2014
Decision of Kerala High Court on 20-05-2020
From Para 19,
19. From the above discussion of the pleadings and evidence, it cannot be said that the oral evidence tendered is totally devoid of support of necessary pleadings. Moreover, the respondent has no case that the petitioner was a drunkard at the time when he married her. On the contrary her specific case was that he was lovable and affectionate and their life was smooth, happy and comfortable. Evidence indicates that the respondent and the petitioner’s mother were not cordial and clashes were frequent. Therefore, it is natural for the petitioner to be a scapegoat of the in-differences. It is also natural for a wife in that scenario to make persistent effort to constrain her husband to be separated from the family life and that would undoubtedly be tortuous for him. In the case on hand the petitioner’s turning to be a drunkard can only be taken as the natural outcome of the pressure exerted on him by the respondent to have a separate residence to the exclusion of petitioner’s mother. The persistence of the respondent was
unbearable for the petitioner, could be seen from his conduct of avoidance of the company of the respondent after leaving her at the parental home on 10.02.2011.
From Para 22,
22. No family is totally devoid of clashes among members constituting it. It is common for elders to scold and sometimes abuse youngsters. Making a daughter in law to do the house hold/domestic work is also not something unusual. From the evidence tendered by the respondent, it is all the more clear that the aforestated factors formed the basis for her ill-will to petitioner’s mother.
Hehe Para 24,
24. We have no hesitation to hold that the Family Court was highly unjustified in making the above observations. The Family Court has taken the role of a councilor rather than an adjudicator while doing so. It is after much efforts and counseling that a case comes up before the court for adjudication. Then the role of the court is to adjudicate the issue involved in the case based on the evidence after duly appreciating it. The Family Court is not supposed to advice the remedies to the parties and issuing directions. We are not satisfied with the way in which the Family Court had dealt with the case on hand.
Ranjith.P.C. Vs Asha Nair.P on 20 May 2020
A three-judge bench of Supreme Court delivered this landmark judgment [around topics like Definition of Mental Cruelty; Burden of Proof; Proof beyond reasonable doubt not necessary; Condonation of Cruelty], where in it was held that,
HEAD NOTE in the judgment says,
(i) Normally this Court would not have gone into evidence especially as the High Court itself could not have gone into the evidence in second appeal. Section 100 of the C.P.C. restricts the jurisdiction of the High Court in second appeal to questions of law or to substantial errors or defects in the procedure which might possibly have produced error or defect in the decision of the case upon merits. The High Court came to the conclusion-that both the courts below had failed to apply the correct principles of law in determining the issue of cruelty. Accordingly the High Court proceeded to consider evidence for itself. Under s. 103 C.P.C. the High Court can determine any issue of fact if the evidence on the record is sufficient but if the High Court takes upon itself the duty of determining an issue of fact, its powers to appreciate evidence would be subject to the same restraining conditions to which the power of any court of facts is ordinarily subject. The limits of that power are not wider for the reason that the evidence is being appreciated by the High Court and not by the District Court. While appreciating evidence, inferences may and have to be drawn but courts of facts have to remind themselves of the line that divides an inference from guess work. Normally this Court would have remanded the matter to the High Court for a fresh consideration of the evidence but since the proceedings were pending for 13 years the Court itself went into the evidence.
(ii) The burden of proof in a matrimonial petition-must lie on the petitioner because ordinarily the burden lies on the party which affirms a fact, not on the party which denied it. This principle accords with commonsense, as it is much easier to prove a positive than a negative. The petitioner must, therefore. prove that the respondents had treated him with cruelty within; the meaning of r. 10(1)(b) of the Act. But the High Court was wrong in holding that the petitioner must prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. The normal rule which governs civil proceedings is that a fact is said to be established if it is proved by preponderance of probabilities. Under s. 3 of the Evidence Act a act is said to be. proved when the court either believes it to exist or if considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, in the circumstances, to act upon the supposition that it exists. The first step in this process to fix the probabilities. the second to weigh them. The impossible is weeded out in the first stage, the improbable in the second. Within the wide range, of probabilities the Court has often a difficult choice to make but it is this choice which ultimately determines where the preponderance of probabilities lies. Important issues like the status of parties demand closer scrutiny than those like the loan on a promissory note. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is proof by a higher standard which generally governs criminal trials or trials involving enquiries into issues of quasi-criminal nature. It is wrong to import such considerations in trials of a purely civil nature. Neither s.10 nor s. 23 of the Hindu Marriage Act requires that the petitioner must prove his case beyond reasonable doubt S. 23 confers on the court the power to pass a decree if it is satisfied on the matters mentioned in Clauses (a) to (e) of that Section. Considering that proceedings under the Act are essentially of a civil nature the word ’satisfied’ must mean satisfied on a preponderance of probabilities and not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt. The society has a stake in the institution of marriage and, therefore, the erring spouse is treated not as a mere defaulter but as an offender. But this social philosophy, though it may have a bearing on the need to have the clearest proof of an allegation before it is accepted as a ground for- the dissolution of marriage, it has no bearing on the standard of proof in matrimonial cases. In England, a view was at one time taken that a petitioner in a matrimonial petition must establish his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt but the House of Lords in Blyth v. Blyth has held that the grounds of divorce or the bars to the divorce May be proved by a preponderance of probability. The High Court of Australia has also taken a similar view.
(iii) On the question of condonation of cruelty, a specific provision of a specific enactment has to be interpreted, namely s. 10(1) (b). The enquiry, therefore, has to be whether the conduct charged as cruelty is of such a character as to cause in the mind of the petitioner a reasonable apprehension that it will be harmful or injurious for him to live with the respondent. It is not necessary, as under the English Law, that the cruelty must be of such a character as to cause danger to life, limb or health or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such a danger. It is risky to rely on English decisions in this field although awareness of foreign decisions can be a useful guide in interpreting our laws. The apprehension of the petitioner that it will be harmful or injurious to live with the other party has to be reasonable. It is, however, wrong to import the concept of a reasonable man as known to the law of negligence for judging matrimonial relations. The question is not whether the conduct would be cruel to a reasonable person or a person of average or normal sensibilities but whether it would have that effect on the aggrieved spouse. That which may be cruel to one person may be laughed off by another and what may not be cruel to an individual under one set of circumstances may be extreme cruelty under another set of circumstances. The Court has to deal not with an ideal husband and an ideal wife but with the particular man and woman before it. The only rider is that of s. 23(1)(a) of the Act that the relief prayed for can be decreed only if the petitioner is not taking advantage of his own wrong.
(iv) Acts like the tearing of the Mangal Sutra, locking out the husband when he is due to arrive from the office, rubbing of chilly powder on the tongue of an infant child, beating a child mercilessly while in high fever and switching on the light at night and sitting by the bedside of the husband merely to nag him are acts which tend to destroy the legitimate ends and objects of matrimony. The conduct of wife amounts to cruelty within the meaning of s. 10(1) (b) of the Act. The threat that she would put an end to her own life or that she will set the house on fire, the threat that she will make the husband lose his job and have the matter published in newspapers and the persistent abuses and insults hurled at the husband and his parents are all of so grave an order as to ’imperil the appellant’s sense of personal safety, mental happiness, job satisfaction and reputation.
(v) In any proceeding under the Act, whether defended or not, the relief prayed for can be decreed only if the petitioner has not condoned the cruelty. The wife did not take up the plea of condonation in her written statement. The Trial Court did not frame any issue of condonation. The District Court did not address itself on the question of condonation since it did not find the conduct of the wife to be cruel. The High Court held that the conduct of the wife was not cruel and in any case it was condoned. S. 23 (1) (b) casts obligation on the court to consider the question of condonation. Condonation means forgiveness of the matrimonial offence and restoration of spouses to the same position as he or she occupied before the matrimonial offence was committed. Cruelty generally does not consist of a single isolated act. It consists in most cases of a series of acts spread over a period of time. Law does not require that at the first appearance of a cruel act, the other spouse must leave the matrimonial home lest the continued coharbitation be construed as condonation. Such a construction will hinder reconciliation and thereby frustrate the benign purpose of marriage laws. The evidence on condonation consists in this case in the fact that spouse led a normal sexual life despite the various acts of cruelty. This is not a case where the spouse after separation indulge in stray acts of sexual intercourse in which case the necessary intent to forgive and restore may be said to be lacking. Such stray acts may bear more than one explanation but if during cohabitation the spouses uninfluenced by the conduct of the offending spouse, lead a life of intimacy which characterised normal matrimonial relationship, the intent to forgive and restore the offending spouse to the original status way reasonably be inferred. There is then no scope for imagining that the conception of the child could be the result of a single act of sexual intercourse and that such an act could be a stark animal act unaccompanied by the nobler graces of marital life. Sex plays an important role in married life and cannot be separated from other factors which lend to matrimony a sense of fruition and fulfilment. Therefore, evidence showing that the spouse led a normal sexual life even after serious acts of cruelty by one spouse is proof that the other spouse condoned that cruelty. Intercourse in circumstances as obtained here would raise a strong inference of condonation. That inference stands uncontradicted. the husband not having explained the circumstances In which hecame to lead and live a normal sexual life,
(vi) But condonation of a matrimonial offence is not to be likened to a Presidential pardon which once granted wipes out the guilt beyond the possibility of revival. Condonation is always subject to the implied condition that the offending spouse will not commit a further matrimonial offence either of the same variety as the one condoned or of any other variety. No matrimonial offence is erased by condonation. It is obscured but not obliterated. Condoned cruelty can, therefore, be revived. For revival of condonation it is not necessary that the conduct should be enough by itself to found a degree for judicial separation. The wife in not allowing the husband access to the children cannot be said to have revived the earlier cruelty since the children were of tender age and the only person who could escort them had left or had to leave the matrimonial home for good. The subsequent conduct of the wife has to be assessed in the context in which the husband behaved. The husband persistently accused the wife of insanity and refused to maintain her. In that context, the allegations made by the wife in her letter to the Government cannot revive the original cause of action, though it is true that more serious the original offence the less grave need be the subsequent act to constitute revival.
Narayan Ganesh Dastane Vs Sucheta Narayan Dastane on 19 Mar 1975
Citations: [1975 SCC 2 326], [1975 AIR SC 1534], [1976 LW 89 110], [1975 SCR 3 967]
Indiankanoon.org or Casemine link: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/62494/ or https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5609abb0e4b014971140d07f
The Bombay High Court dismissal judgment that the Supreme Court also dismissed is here.
The Index is here.
Landmark judgment from Justice Shri Dalveer Bhandari regarding Law around Mental cruelty and irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for Divorce under Hindu Marriage Act 1955.Naveen Kohli Vs Neelu Kohli on 21 March, 2006
Citations : [2006 BOMCR SC 5 240], [2006 SUPREME 2 627], [2006 SCALE 3 252], [2006 AIR SC 1550], [2006 JT 3 491], [2006 ALLMR SC 4 190], [2006 MHLJ SC 4 242], [2006 SCR 3 53], [2006 MPLJ SC 3 1], [2006 AIOL 157], [2006 AIR SC 1675], [2006 SCC 4 558], [2006 DLT 128 360], [2006 AIR SCW 1550]
Other Sources :
Other cases wherein Divorce was granted to Husband here.
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 :
In this very good divorce judgment from Hon’ble High Court of Bombay, it is held that the knife caused metal cruelty on husband and his parents for the following reason,
the Appellant established that the Respondent could not substantiate the allegations of cruelty in the criminal case. Even the allegations of cruelty made by the Respondent in the written statement in the present case could not be established by her;
The Appellant and his family members were required to attend Criminal Court on 56 different dates from the year 2001 to 2004. Considering the manner in which the criminal case proceeded, the Appellant and his family members were subjected to humiliation, trauma and agony as set out in the deposition of the Appellant;
The Respondent made a very serious defamatory allegation against the Appellant, both in the written statement and in her evidence, that due to ill treatment by the Appellant, she started suffering from arthritis. The Respondent made no efforts to substantiate the said allegation. Thus, the Respondent made unfounded defamatory allegation against the Appellant;
Not only that the Respondent did not substantiate the said allegation, even the cause of death of her father was not brought on record. Even this allegation is an unfounded defamatory allegation;
Other Source links:
The Index for Defamation Judgments is here.
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