Madhya Pradesh High Court | Minor Differences of opinion between the Husband and Wife does not amount to Cruelty

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh High Court | Quashing a divorce order against the wife on the ground of cruelty, a division bench comprising of Vivek Rusia* and Amar Nath (Kesharwani), JJ., held that minor difference of opinion between husband and wife cannot be termed as cruelty.

The Court observed that the husband should not expect an overnight change in the behaviour of the spouse and could have given the wife a second chance.

The appellant “wife” and respondent “husband” had an arrange marriage. According to the husband the foundation of the marriage was based on lies. The husband alleged that the wife had given him wrong date of birth, educational qualification and didn’t want to look after his old parents and often threatened to implicate his family members in criminal cases. On the other hand, the wife did not make any allegation against the husband or his parents and had expressed her desire to live with her husband.

The Court observed that the husband could not prove most of his contentions based on which he had contended that he was subjected with mental cruelty by his wife. The husband had deserted her within less than six months of marriage basis of a few instances which are normal between newly wedded couples. Even when the wife has shown her willingness to live with him, he is not ready to take her back to his home. The Court held that the respondent has deserted the appellant without any valid reason.

All these alleged episodes took place within one year of marriage and the respondent has decided to take divorce from the appellant. He did not give second chance to her. even today appellant is ready to go with him from the court, but he has refused straightway which shows that he has deserted the wife on the basis of a few instances which are normal between newly wedded couples.

The Court relied on various judgement of Supreme Court as well as the Division Bench of this Court:

In Romesh Chander v. Savitri, (1995) 2 SCC 7, it was held that in cases where the marriage is emotionally and practically dead and there is no chance of that the marriage can be retrieved, its continuance would amount to cruelty.

In Vinita Saxena v. Pankaj Pandit, (2006) 3 SCC 78, it was held that the decree of divorce can be granted if facts of the case indicate that the parties had crossed the point of return and it would be futile to drag a dead relationship and if the wife stays with the husband it may be injurious to her health.

In Samar Ghosh v. Jaya Ghosh, (2007) 4 SCC 511, it was held that where there has been a long period of continuous separation, it may fairly be concluded that the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. There can never be a straitjacket formula to determine mental cruelty in a matrimonial matter and it would be to evaluate on the facts and circumstances while considering the factors in each case.

The Court stated that “Law does not permit him to spoil the whole life of an innocent lady by giving divorce on grounds other than enumerated in section 13 of the HM Act.”

In the light of facts of the case and authorities cited, the Court set asides the decree of divorce and the decree of restitution of conjugal right was granted to the appellant/wife. The awarded maintenance of Rs 8,000/- per month from the respondent till the date of compliance with the decree of restitution of conjugal right and Rs. 10,000/- as cost of litigation in favor of the wife. [Sarita Sharma v. Gourav Sharma, 2022 SCC OnLine MP 2235, decided on 23.08.2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Satish Tomar, Counsel for the Appellant;

Mr. Avinash Sirpurkar and Mr. Harshad Wadnerkar, Counsel for the Respondent.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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