Married status should, whenever as far as and as long as possible be maintained in the particular facts of the case taking into account the length of cruelty alleged

Orissa High Court– While setting aside the judgment by the Family Court wherein it allowed the application for divorce in favour of the husband, the division bench comprising of Vinod Prasad and Biswanath Rathi, JJ., directed the respondent husband to embrace the appellant wife and his child in his fold of family relationship and to maintain them as they are entitled to while taking care of their needs. The Court observed that considering the definition of cruelty in different dictionaries and different pronouncements the present case did not fall within the ambit of cruelty.

In the instant case respondent/husband filed an application under Section 13(i)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for grant of divorce against the appellant. Respondent made allegations of cruelty and also alleged that the wife suo motu deserted him voluntarily leaving the house of the respondent with the minor child on her own volition whereas the appellant claimed that she gave birth to the male child in the company of the husband and she along with the baby was forcefully driven out of the house of the respondent. The question before the Court was whether the allegations made by respondent could be construed to be so cruel a behavior so as to attract an order for divorce.

The Court after perusal of the facts and evidences observed that position of law is very much clear to the effect that the married life should be reviewed as a whole and a few isolated instances at the very start of married life that too over a period of one and a half years should not be snapped especially when the spouses have been blessed with a child and such frivolities of life cannot amount to cruelty. In the present case it can in no remote sense even be imagined that the marriage between the spouses had been wrecked beyond the hope of salvage. The Court also referred to Vishwonath v. Sau Sarla vishwanath Agrawal, (2012) 7 SCC 288 wherein Supreme Court observed that ‘expression “Cruelty” has an inseparable nexus with human conduct or human behavior. It is always dependant upon the social strata or the milieu to which the parties belong, their ways of life, relationship, temperaments and emotions that have been considered by their social status’, hence the case put up by the respondent herein did not satisfy the test of cruelty. [Sonali Samal v. Vikrant Parida, 2016 SCC OnLine Ori 198, decided on 19.04.2016]

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