Filing False Complaints against spouse amounts to CRUELTY

In, Second Appeal No. 634 of 2013, decided on 23.12.2015 the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay has ruled that 'False criminal complaint preferred by either spouse it would invariably and indubitably constitute matrimonial cruelty, such as would entitle the other spouse to claim a divorce'

Respondent wife had instituted various proceedings under Dowry Prohibition act and Indian Penal code to coerce the Appellant husband to marry her. After marriage the Respondent Wife withdrew the cases.

After 2 years the Respondent wife again lodged complaints under section 498A read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code against Appellant Husband and his family members owing to which Appellant Husband and his family members faced an arrest.

Appellant Husband filed divorce petition against the Respondent Wife on grounds of cruelty during the pendency of which he and his family members were acquitted of the charges under section 498A read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code.

In 2008 Civil Judge Senior Division, Palghar granted Appellant Husband divorce under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act along with permanent maintenance of Rs. 2000/- per month in favor of Respondent Wife.

The Respondent Wife challenged the order of Civil Judge by a Civil Appeal before the District Judge, Palghar in the year 2008 in which the court set aside the judgment and decree passed by the learned Civil Judge, Senior Division, Palghar in the Marriage Petition.

In the meantime the state challenged the order of magistrate in the criminal case before the Sessions Judge who dismissed the appeal in 2011. The respondent wife filed a criminal revision application before the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay which was dismissed in 2013.

The Appellant then filed the present appeal before the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay against the order of the Additional District Judge, Palghar. The High Court of Bombay has given regard to various decisions of the Apex Court and High Courts in the present appeal such as; "Mental cruelty under section 13(1) (i-a) can 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. 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. The Court must have regard to the social status, educational level of the parties, the society they move in, the possibility or otherwise of the parties ever living together in case they are already living apart and all other relevant facts and circumstances which it is neither possible nor desirable to set out exhaustively"

The Hon'ble High Court has considered that "Filing of such complaint itself which create mental trauma on the husband and the complaint which was seriously prosecuted by the wife by leading evidence of several persons and bringing the said complaint to its logical conclusion which ultimately resulted in acquittal of the husband and his family members clearly amounted to the cruelty committed by the wife upon the husband."

Considering the above the Court has ruled, "That if the false criminal complaint is preferred by either spouse it would invariably and indubitably constitute matrimonial cruelty, such as would entitle the other spouse to claim a divorce", thereby setting aside the order of the Additional District Judge, Palghar.