Suspecting the Character of Wife Shall Amount to Cruelty and Wife Is Entitled to a Decree of Divorce

In the Family Court Appeal No. 33 of 2016 Decided On: 14.09.2016 the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay has held that "suspecting the character of wife, physically assaulting and harassing her as she was coming home late from work place due to the nature of her job are the facts duly established amounting to cruelty and wife is entitled to a decree of divorce. "

In this case Appellant Wife and Respondent Husband got married on 11.03.2000. She was an Engineer whereas her husband was 12th passed. After marriage wife went to Wardha to cohabit with the husband. It is pleaded by the wife that she underwent two miscarriages and in the third pregnancy delivered a male child on 26-12-2004. Appellant Wife took a job at Wardha as it was difficult to maintain the family with the meager salary of the husband. Respondent however went on shifting his job from place to place and appellant used to accompany him. She requested respondent to shift to Pune in the interest of education of child and as Pune and opportunities for Respondent Husband. Respondent Husband refused to shift to Pune. Appellant Wife shifted to Pune along with her four year old child at the house of her brother.

A flat was purchased by Appellant Husband in 2010 in the joint name of her husband and herself. Respondent did not share a single pie towards installments. Respondent Husband all of a sudden shifted to Pune and spent months together without doing any work. He started Laptop Service Center in the year 2011 at home. He did not pay attention and so business went in loss. Respondent used to remain at home without any work and started raising quarrels with the wife on trivial issues for no reasons.

In July, 2011 Appellant Wife could get a job of Senior System Manager in I.B.M. Company and her responsibilities increased as she was required to work in a shift from 01.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Respondent started suspecting character of wife as she was required to remain at the work place till late in the night. He used to abuse her in filthy language saying that she is a characterless lady having relations with many persons and coming late in the house. Due to tremendous mental and physical stress Appellant Wife was required to call her mother to stay with her for some time.

In August, 2012 Appellant Wife came late at home from the office so Respondent Husband started abusing her in filthy language saying that she is characterless and having affair. On intervention of her mother respondent abused her mother too in filthy language and assaulted wife by giving fist blows on her face.

On 10-03-2013 Respondent Husband raised quarrel with his Appellant Wife on the ground that she should not visit her parents at Amravati. He became violent and threw a Laptop of her. He pushed her to the ground & delivered kick blows. She was locked in a room by the husband. Incident was witnessed by eight year old son who suffered tremendous mental shock and was frightened. She called her brother and mother on 11-03-2013. Her brother and mother reached Pune and directly went to Police Station. She was called by her brother on phone and anyhow she could manage to escape from the house and reached the Police Station. Respondent was called at the Police Station. With the help of mediators dispute was resolved in the interest of child and wife came to Amravati on the same day along with the child as it was impossible for her to continue to live with her husband. Subsequently she filed a petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty.

On appreciation of the evidence of parties Family Court came to the conclusion that wife could not prove that husband treated her with cruelty and refused to grant a decree of divorce in favour of wife. By this appeal Appellant / Wife challenges the judgment of the Family Court, Amravati dated 30-12-2015 dismissing the petition filed by Appellant/Wife for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The High Court observed that "It is apparent that learned Judge has not appreciated the evidence of wife in proper perspective keeping in view that certain important facts and serious allegations levelled by her were not at all controverted by the husband leading to the ultimate result that those facts which found place in the pleadings and deposed in evidence were duly proved. Even in the evidence of respondent we find that there is no specific denial to the allegations levelled by wife in paragraph 10 of her pleadings and evidence. Thus on the basis of evidence on record it is clear that conduct of the husband in suspecting the character of wife, physically assaulting and harassing her as she was coming home late from work place due to the nature of her job are the facts duly established amounting to cruelty and wife is entitled to a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty".

Accordingly the Court held that "On careful scrutiny of the material placed on record we find that findings recorded by the Family Court are not in consonance with the evidence adduced by the parties and the learned Judge has also lost the sight of the most important facts elicited in the cross examination of husband. In this premise findings recorded by the Family Court are found to be perverse and need interference in this appeal. Hence we pass the following order.

- Appeal is allowed.
- The marriage between appellant/wife and respondent/husband stands dissolved by a decree of divorce under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act."