Delhi High Court: While addressing a matrimonial dispute, Division bench of Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., held that,
In cases where there are allegations of cruelty – specially mental cruelty such as Dowry Demand, violent abusive behaviour, starving the spouse of affection, resources and emotional support, there can be no set parameters that the court can follow.
Appellant (husband) filed the present appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act with Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 challenging the decision whereby the petition filed by the respondent for dissolution of marriage under Section 13(1)(ia) and (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was allowed and the marriage between the parties was dissolved.
Analysis, Law and Decision
High Court noted the appellant’s contention that respondent was not a reliable witness, to which the Court disagreed and stated that the respondent substantiated and supported her claims by way of her evidence affidavit and written submissions, besides being cross-examined before the Family Court.
Court stated that pleading and evidence have to be read as a whole and no single instance can be picked and read in isolation.
Minor aberrations are normal to occur and cannot be a reason to discard the entire testimony of a witness.
Rather by way of her Evidence Affidavit, the Respondent had proved that the Appellant and his family had demanded dowry from her family -both at the time of marriage, and after the marriage and she has even placed on record email chats between herself and the Appellant establishing the same
Appellant could not disprove the above-stated dowry allegation.
Court added that numerous complaints and specific incidents of cruelty – both mental and physical, show the true conduct of the appellant, which cannot be expected in any healthy matrimonial relationship. Therefore, the appellant’s submission with regard to no instance of cruelty been established was rejected.
Bench relied on the decision Laxmi v. Kanhaiya Lal, Mat. App (FC) 5 of 2020.
Matrimonial disputes between a husband and wife cannot be expected to and are incapable of following strict parameters of evidence.
High Court expressed that,
Matrimonial issues are generally confined to the bedroom and the matrimonial home, away from public eye and gaze. A lot of times these cases do not have any independent or impartial witnesses.
In Court’s opinion, family court correctly employed the standard of proof of preponderance of probabilities.
Family Court discussed and appreciated the evidence before it, and no perversity in the impugned judgment was found.
Bench added that, appellant was found guilty of marital cruelty and the instances could not be said to be ordinary wear and tear of day-to-day life.
The parties cohabited together only for a period of 64 days and have been living separately since 10.07.2011. It has been a decade since the parties have lived together and the entire substratum of marriage has perished.
Therefore, the continuation of marriage between the parties would cause undue harm not only to respondent/wife but also appellant/husband.
Court found complete breakdown of marriage and the marriage was beyond repair.
In view of the above, present appeal was dismissed. [Rahul Kesarwani v. Sunita Bhuyan, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 5141, decided on 1-12-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For the appellant:
Abhey Narula, Advocate
For the respondent: