Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of A.S. Chandurkar and G.A. Sanap, JJ. addressed whether prior to the decision on divorce petition, creating a matrimonial profile expressing the will and consent, would be a ground for divorce.
Respondent and appellant started developing discord in their relations.
Appellant submitted that, after some time in the company of the respondent he found that by nature she was aggressive and would speak utter lies and had an extreme affinity towards her parents and particularly for parents’ residence.
Further, it was also added that the respondent would insist the appellant leave the job and shift to Akola with her and take some new assignment.
The job of the appellant was a permanent job in the High Court. He, therefore, did not agree with the suggestions made by the respondent to quit the job. According to the appellant, this was the trigger point to escalate the conflict between him and the respondent.
Questions for determination
- Whether the appellant has proved that the respondent after the solemnization of their marriage had treated him with cruelty?
- Whether the Judgment and decree passed by the learned Judge of the Family Court rejecting the decree of divorce is sustainable?
Appellant’s Advocate submitted that the arrogant and cantankerous nature of the respondent not only made the life of the appellant miserable but also made the life of his parents miserable.
Further, during the pendency of the petition, the respondent had made her intention of parting ways with the appellant clear, by uploading her profile on two marriage bureau websites.
Respondent had made her intention writ large to get rid of the appellant and begin her life afresh with someone else.
Analysis, Law and Decision
In the decision of Supreme Court in Malathi Ravi v. B.V. Ravi, (2014) 7 SCC 640, it was held that false allegation by one spouse against the other amounts to mental cruelty, It is held that mental cruelty and its effect cannot be stated with arithmetical exactitude. It varies from individual to individual, from society and also depends upon the status of the person.
In another decision, of Supreme Court in Vishwanath v. Sarla Vishwanath Agrawal, Civil Appeal No. 4905 of 2020, it was held that the mental torture caused by one spouse to the another by making wild and false allegations in a report lodged to the authority as well as in the electronic and print media constitute mental cruelty and as such the ground for divorce.
The decision of V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat, (1994) 1 SCC 337, had considered as to what constitute mental cruelty and what should be the parameters while deciding the cruelty.
Family Court had found that the appellant established the case of cruelty at the hands of respondent in as much as the respondent made unfounded and unsupported allegations against the appellant. Despite the said finding of fact, Judge did not deem it appropriate to grant a divorce decree.
Bench stated that on a plain reading of Section 14 Court has no reason to reject the submissions advanced by the Advocate for the appellant.
In Court’s opinion, the documents produced on record in the form of matrimonial profile uploaded by the respondent on 22-10-2020 can be taken into consideration for deciding the question in controversy in this appeal.
Further, the High Court expressed that on perusal of matrimonial profile uploaded by the appellant it would show that even before decision in the divorce petition she had made up her mind to perform the second marriage. In the said profile she had clearly mentioned that she was awaiting the divorce in pending case.
“…respondent by uploading her profile on two matrimonial websites made her intention writ large.”
In view of the above document, it was inferred that she wanted to get rid of the appellant and wanted to perform the second marriage.
Adding to the above, Court stated that in the written statement, respondent contended that as an obedient wife and daughter-in-law she performed her duties sincerely, but the appellant and his parents did not like her and wanted to get rid of her from the life of the appellant.
In Court’s view, the above statement in the written statement if read in the context of the documents would seriously reflect upon the conduct of the respondent.
Appellant in his evidence stated that due to the false and frivolous complaints and reports made by the respondent to the various authorities, she has caused immense mental stress, depression, pain and agony to him and his parents.
High Court opined that if the Judge of the Family Court had taken into consideration the documents produced on record before Judgment, whereby the respondent had uploaded her marriage profile on two websites, the learned Judge would not have recorded such a finding.
Emphasizing that the evidence clearly indicated that the respondent had no wish and desire to remain in company of the appellant.
If the respondent had sincere wish and desire to save her marriage she would not have taken a conscious decision to perform the second marriage even before the final outcome of the divorce petition.
Further, it was proved that the mental cruelty was such that it would in all probability cause injury to the health of the appellant.
“…conduct of the respondent to perform the second marriage and not to lead the life with the appellant is writ large from the fact that she did not apply for restitution of conjugal rights.”
Appellant successfully made out the case that he was made to suffer mental cruelty of a high degree and therefore, he took a conscious decision to get separated.
Hence, family court appeal was allowed.
Hindu Marriage Petition filed by the appellant is allowed. It was declared that the marriage between the appellant and the respondent is dissolved by decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. [Premdeep v. Bhavana, Family Court Appeal No. 24 of 2020, decided on 27-8-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
Shri Hemant Surve, Advocate for appellant
None for the respondent