Telangana High Court: The Division Bench of M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Vinod Kumar, JJ., while addressing the present matter highlighted the aspects of mental cruelty and desertion.

Respondent 1 who was married to appellant had alleged that since the time of marriage appellant was harassing and ill-treating him and was also abusing along with defaming him in the presence of other villagers.

Appellant filed a false complaint against the husband i.e. respondent 1 and his parents under Section 498-A read with Section 34 Penal Code, 1860 and that the appellant had deserted him and was leading adulterous life with 2nd respondent.

Respondent 1 alleged that the appellant while residing with 2nd respondent demanded big sum of money from the parents of respondent 1, after which she filed another false complaint. Appellant had also attacked and beat up the mother of respondent 1 causing her internal injuries.

Mental Cruelty and Desertion

Summing up the above-stated contentions, respondent 1 contended that leading of adulterous life by appellant with 2nd respondent amounts to cruelty and actions of appellant amounted to defamation, insult and annoyance and since he lost his reputation in the village, he as entitled to decree for dissolution of marriage on the ground of mental cruelty and desertion.

As per the appellant/wife she had denied being in love with 2nd respondent and gave a complaint against the 2nd respondent for sexual harassment.

Appellant denied of all the allegations placed by the husband against her. Further, she also added that her in-laws beat her up during her pregnancy and threw her out of the matrimonial home and she spent four years in her parents’ house during which time the 1st respondent did not bother to call or reconcile with her.

Her in-laws also forcefully took her minor daughter away.

Court below had concluded that respondent 1 could not be expected to live with the appellant since she had illegal contact with 2nd respondent and evidence on record indicated that the appellant was treating respondent 1 with mental cruelty and husband and wife had been living separately since 2015 and the marriage had irretrievably broken down and there was no chance of them living together again. Hence decree of divorce was granted.

Appellant filed the challenge to the above appeal.

Analysis, Law and Decision

One of the grounds for dissolution of a marriage is treatment of one spouse by the other spouse with cruelty, and such cruelty can be either mental cruelty or physical cruelty.

It was noted that the appellant had herself given a criminal complaint against 2nd respondent stating that she was married to 1st respondent and was blessed with a female child , but she was for previous 4 years staying away from her husband and from previous one year the 2nd respondent had lured her with delicious words and told her that he loved her and if she agreed, he will marry her; that she discarded her husband as she was not willing to lead marital life with her husband and when she came to the 2nd respondent and asked him to marry, he refused to marry her. She thus sought to take legal action against the 2nd respondent.

As per the contents of the complaint, appellant had illegal connection with 2nd respondent and had expressed her intention of not willing to lead marital life with 1st respondent who was her lawfully wedded husband.

Fidelity in marital relationship is very important and if one of the spouses is guilty of infidelity, it would certainly amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse.

 High Court opined that the Court below did not commit any error in giving the finding that the appellant treated 1st respondent with cruelty by leading adulterous life with 2nd respondent and that she had deserted the 1st respondent and treated him with cruelty and that marriage had irretrievably broken down and there was no chance of them living together again.

Hence no merit in the appeal was found leading to its dismissal.[Laxmi Meenakshi v. Chetty Mahadevappa, 2021 SCC OnLine TS 469 , decided on 09-04-2021]

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