Sunday, 21 February 2021

Whether the court should give the wife a divorce if the husband is making unfounded allegations or complaints against her intending to affect her job?

 The learned Judge of the Family Court has considered these

unsubstantiated allegations and has proceeded to hold that this conduct of

the husband caused mental cruelty to the wife. We find in the facts of the

present case that the learned Judge of the Family Court was justified in

recording this conclusion. In K Srinivas Rao Vs. D. A. Deepa

2013(5)Mh.L.J.10 it has been observed in paragraph 14 by the Hon’ble

Supreme Court as under :


“14… Making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations

against the spouse of his or her relatives in the pleadings,

filing of complaints of issuing notices or news items which

may have adverse impact on the business prospect or the

job of the spouse and filing repeated false complaints and

cases in the Court against the spouse would, in the facts of

a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other

spouse.”

It thus becomes clear that making of unfounded allegations

against the spouse or his/her relatives in the pleadings or making

complaints with a view to affect the job of the spouse amounts to causing

mental cruelty to the said spouse.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

NAGPUR BENCH, NAGPUR.

FAMILY COURT APPEAL NO.70 OF 2015

Thalraj @ Anand s/o Jaisingh Khinchi  Vs  Sau. Jyoti w/o Thalraj @ Anand Khinchi,

CORAM : A. S. CHANDURKAR AND PUSHPA V. GANEDIWALA, JJ.

DATED : 10th February, 2021.

Judgment : (Per A.S.Chandurkar, J.)

This appeal filed under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act,

1984 by the husband takes exception to the decree for divorce passed by

the Family Court, Nagpur in Petition No. A-459/2012 on 25.09.2014.

2. The facts in brief are that the appellant and the respondent

were married on 27.04.2008. Out of the said wedlock a child was born on

03.03.2009. Thereafter the appellant and his family members started ill-treating the respondent. During Diwali-2010, the family members of the

appellant quarreled with the respondent and after taking away all the gold

articles she was driven away from the matrimonial house. On 06.12.2010

she filed proceedings under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for

restitution of conjugal rights. These proceedings however were withdrawn

on 25.04.2012. Thereafter on 14.05.2012 the wife filed Petition No.A-

459/2012 seeking a divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. In

the said proceedings it was alleged that the appellant and his family

members were ill-treating the respondent physically as well as mentally.

The respondent used to be abused time and again by the appellant and his

family members as a result of which there were frequent quarrels between

them and the respondent was also beaten on some occasions. She was

required to do all the household work and other family members did not

help her in that work. The respondent was required to approach Mahila

Cell with her grievances and after understanding given to both the parties,

they started residing together. However this arrangement did not

continue for long. The respondent after finding it unsafe to continue the

relationship filed the present proceedings.

3. In the written statement filed by the appellant the allegations

as made were denied. It was denied that there was any occasion to

appear before the Mahila Cell and give any undertaking as pleaded by the respondent. It was also pleaded that the appellant’s sister was residing on

the ground floor and the allegations made against her about ill-treating

the respondent were denied. In the specific pleading it was stated that the

respondent and her family members belonged to ‘Rajput’ caste but they

had obtained spurious caste certificate of belonging to ‘Rajput Bhamta’ for

securing employment.

4. The parties led evidence before the Family Court and after

considering the same the learned Judge of the Family Court held that the

respondent had proved that the appellant was treating with her cruelty. It

was further held that the allegation of desertion was not proved since

continuous period of not less than two years prior to filing of the divorce

petition had not elapsed. Hence by the impugned judgment, the Family

Court proceeded to pass a decree for divorce on the ground of cruelty.

Being aggrieved the appellant has preferred this appeal.

5. Shri P.K.Mishra, learned counsel for the appellant submitted

that the allegations with regard to cruelty being inflicted by the appellant

were not duly proved by the respondent. He referred to the evidence on

record to contend that except normal wear and tear of marital life there

was no substantial evidence brought on record by the respondent to prove

the ground of cruelty. The appellant’s sister was not residing with the

appellant but was residing separately on the ground floor premises of the joint family. There was no truth in the allegation that the appellant’s

sister was interfering in the marital life of the appellant and was illtreating

the respondent. He further stated that the appellant’s brothers

were also residing separately. In fact it was the respondent who had left

the matrimonial house on 06.11.2010 and was not ready to reside with

the appellant. Though it was the fact that the parties had approached the

Mahila Cell, same indicated that the appellant did not intend to separate

from the respondent but wanted to continue the marital ties. It was then

submitted that the appellant had brought on record sufficient evidence to

indicate that the respondent was suffering from epilepsy and this fact was

not disclosed by the family members of the respondent to the family of the

appellant before their marriage. Documentary evidence in that regard

was also placed on record. According to the learned counsel, it was not

open for the learned Judge of the Family Court to give importance to the

allegation made by the appellant with regard to the family members of the

respondent obtaining false caste certificate. Various complaints were

made by the appellant because he was a social worker and this fact could

not be taken into consideration for passing a decree of divorce. It was thus

submitted that the burden to prove cruelty was on the respondent but

without the same being established by the respondent the Family Court

proceeded to grant a decree for divorce. He placed reliance on the

decisions in Uttara Praveen Thool Vs. Praveen 2014 (2) Mh L J 321 and


J Vs. JC 2020 (2) ALL MR (Journal) to submit that the impugned

judgment of the Family Court was liable to be set aside.

6. Per contra, Shri A.B.Bambal, learned counsel for the

respondent supported the impugned judgment. According to the learned

counsel, the Family Court rightly held that the conduct of the appellant

was such that the same resulted in causing cruelty to the respondent.

Besides trying to physically cause hurt to the respondent, the conduct of

the appellant also resulted in mental cruelty. He referred to the written

statement filed by the appellant and submitted that there were no

pleadings therein that the respondent suffered from epilepsy. This aspect

was deposed by the appellant only during the course of his evidence.

Similarly the allegations that the respondent and her family members

belonged to ‘Rajput’ community but obtained false caste certificate of

belonging to ‘Rajput Bhamta’ community to secure employment was not

proved. Making of unsubstantiated false allegations resulted in causing

mental cruelty to the respondent. These aspects were rightly taken into

consideration by the learned Judge of the Family Court and hence it was

submitted that there was no reason to interfere with the impugned

judgment.

7. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties at length and

with their assistance we have perused the records of the case. The


following point arises for consideration :

Whether in the facts of the case the Family Court was justified

in granting divorce on the ground of cruelty ?

8. Perusal of the pleadings of the respective parties indicate that

it is the case of the wife that the husband and his family members illtreated

the wife on various occasions for no justifiable reason and that in

Diwali-2010 by raising such a quarrel she was beaten and her gold articles

were taken away which resulted in the husband inflicting cruel treatment

on the wife. On the contrary, according to the husband, a defence of

denial was raised besides denying the proceedings before the Mahila Cell.

In addition it was alleged that the wife and her family members had

obtained false caste certificate of belonging to ‘Rajput Bhamta’ for securing

employment. In the evidence led by the parties the wife denied that she

was suffering from epilepsy and in her cross-examination she stated that

she was taking treatment for giddiness prior to her marriage. The learned

Judge of the family Court after considering the evidence on record rightly

found that the deposition of the husband’s sister-Chanda at Exhibit 51 did

not inspire confidence in view of various incorrect statements made by her

in her pleadings. The statements made in her affidavit were subsequently

admitted by her to be incorrect and we find no reason to take a different

view of the matter. Similar observations have been made with regard to

the contradictions in the pleadings of the husband and his deposition.


Further it is an admitted position that both the parties had appeared

before the Mahila Cell wherein the husband had undertaken to behave

properly with the wife after which she joined his company again. Though

the husband denied having given any such undertaking before the Mahila

Cell, in his written statement it was admitted by him in his crossexamination

that he had in fact given such written undertaking. It is also

seen that thereafter from February 2010 to July 2010 the parties had

resided together but the behaviour of the husband with the wife did not

improve. The learned Judge of the Family Court thus found the case of the

wife more probable than that of the husband.

9. It is to be seen that the husband in his affidavit at Exhibit 30

specifically stated in paragraph 7 as under :

“That, prior to my marriage with her, he was treated for

epilepsy disease in the clinic of Dr. Chandrashekhar

Meshram and so also at I.G.M.C. Nagpur and

Government Medical College, Nagpur. I and my family

members were kept in dark about her disease. Had it

been disclosed to me, I would not have consented for

the marriage. Thus the fraud was practiced upon me in

the matter of marriage. I came to know about her

disease on 21.07.2008 when the petitioner was

admitted for delivery of the child in the hospital of

Dr. Kala Sabu.”

Further in his cross-examination in paragraph 18 he stated as under:

“It is true that I have not pleaded in my reply that

petitioner is suffering from epilepsy. It is not true that I

have falsely mentioned in my affidavit that petitioner is

suffering from the epilepsy and she was under the


treatment of Dr.Saboo and Chandrashekhar Meshram.

It is not true that document produced by me are false

and those are not pertaining to the petitioner. It is not

true that I have defamed the petitioner in her relatives

and office colleagues by alleging that she is suffering

from epilepsy.”

It thus becomes clear that in the written statement filed by the

husband there were no pleadings that the wife was suffering from

epilepsy. This was sought to be raised for the first time during the course

of his deposition. In absence of any pleading in this regard by the

husband, there was no occasion for the wife to counter this allegation that

she was suffering from epilepsy. It thus remained an allegation raised for

the first time in evidence but not proved.

10. Further in the written statement filed by the husband in

paragraph 17 it was pleaded as under :

“… The respondent consciously knew that the petitioner is

very much proud of her earning from the job of teacher

which she secured somehow on the basis of spurious caste

certificates of ‘Rajput Bhamta’ obtained from Amravati

although her forefathers were residents of Nagpur and of

Rajput caste but at this crucial moment of his

unemployment she is the host of his survival.”

During the course of his cross-examination the husband sought to justify

this allegation and admitted that he had made various complaints about

the aforesaid at the office where the wife was serving. The following was

stated in his cross-examination :

“17. …. I am having documents to show that petitioner


has secured employment by showing herself as “Bhamta”

although she is ‘Rajput’. I have not produced said

documents on record. It is not true that with a view to

defame the petitioner I have made such statement without

having evidence with me. It is true that I have filed

application with the petitioner’s office for removing her

from service on the ground that she has secured

employment by giving false information. It is not true

that petitioner has not secured employment by showing

herself as “Bhamta” and therefore no action has been

initiated against her on the basis of my

application/complaint. It is true that I have also made

complaint to the petitioner office alleging that she is not

residing at headquarter and therefore appropriate action

be initiated against her.”

It is also seen that the husband placed on record newspaper cuttings on

the list at Exhibit 70 to indicate that he had made various complaints

against the wife to her employer. It is however seen that having made

such allegations, it was necessary for the husband to have substantiated

the same. This was not done by the husband by leading any evidence in

that regard.

11. The learned Judge of the Family Court has considered these

unsubstantiated allegations and has proceeded to hold that this conduct of

the husband caused mental cruelty to the wife. We find in the facts of the

present case that the learned Judge of the Family Court was justified in

recording this conclusion. In K Srinivas Rao Vs. D. A. Deepa

2013(5)Mh.L.J.10 it has been observed in paragraph 14 by the Hon’ble

Supreme Court as under :


“14… Making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations

against the spouse of his or her relatives in the pleadings,

filing of complaints of issuing notices or news items which

may have adverse impact on the business prospect or the

job of the spouse and filing repeated false complaints and

cases in the Court against the spouse would, in the facts of

a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other

spouse.”

It thus becomes clear that making of unfounded allegations

against the spouse or his/her relatives in the pleadings or making

complaints with a view to affect the job of the spouse amounts to causing

mental cruelty to the said spouse. This conduct of the husband of not

pleading that the wife was suffering from epilepsy and stating the same

for the first time in his deposition as well as making wild allegations that

the wife and her relatives had secured false caste certificate without

attempting to substantiate the said allegations has resulted in causing

mental cruelty to the wife. If such allegations would have been met in

accordance with law the same could have been made by the wife. There

could have been proper adjudication of these allegations. However it

appears from the conduct of the husband that in one way or the other he

intended to prejudice the service of the wife. The finding recorded by the

learned Judge of the Family Court that the behaviour and the conduct of

the husband of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations resulted in

causing mental cruelty to the wife does not deserve to be interfered with.


12. The decision relied upon by the learned counsel for the

appellant in Uttara Praveen Thool (supra) is on the aspect of desertion

and the acts of condoning cruelty by the other spouse. The ratio of the

said decision cannot be made applicable to the case in hand. Similarly the

decision in ‘J’ (supra) also does not assist the case of the husband. The

point as framed is accordingly answered by holding that the Family Court

was justified in granting a decree for divorce to the wife on the ground of

cruelty.

13. In the light of aforesaid discussion, we find no merit in the

Family Court Appeal No.70/2015. The same is accordingly dismissed by

affirming the impugned judgment. The parties shall bear their own costs.


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