Bombay High Court


Bombay High Court: In an appeal filed by husband challenging the judgment and decree of restitution of conjugal rights and dismissal of petition filed for dissolution of marriage alleging cruelty and desertion against the wife, a Division Bench of A.S. Chandurkar and Urmila Joshi Phalke, JJ. did not interfere with the impugned order on finding no reasonable ground of cruelty to obtain a decree of dissolution of marriage.

The impugned order relates to a petition filed seeking dissolution of marriage on two grounds i.e., cruelty and desertion under Section 13(1)(ia) and 13(1)(ib) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The petition for dissolution of marriage is preferred mainly on the allegation that the wife had treated him with cruelty after marriage. As per the allegation of the appellant/husband, the respondent/wife who had completed her postgraduation in English and expressed her desire to do the job.

On the contention by the husband, that the evidence of the husband shows that he made several efforts to fetch the respondent/wife back, but the wife declined to resume cohabitation, the Court observed that no evidence has been adduced to substantiate the contention.

The Court further added that the appellant-husband had not quoted any single incident to show that since the marriage till the birth of the child there was some quarrel between them on account of desire of the respondent/wife regarding doing the job. The only allegation of the husband was that the wife was harassing him by expressing that she wants to do the job.

Thus, the Court noted that the husband failed to prove the grounds of cruelty to obtain a decree of dissolution of marriage. The manner in which the husband faced cruelty is not proved. Mere annoyance or irritation or normal wear or tear differences does not constitute cruelty. The cruelty should be such in which it is not reasonably accepted to live together.

The Court further observed that merely because the wife staying separately an inference of desertion cannot be drawn. The marriage between the parties cannot be dissolved on the averments made by one of the parties that the marriage between them has broken down. The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is not a ground by itself to dissolve it.

The Court remarked except the ground enumerated under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 the marriage solemnized under the Act cannot be dissolved on any other ground.

The Court held that expressing desire by wife who is well qualified to do the job does not amount to cruelty. The husband has to make out a specific case that the conduct of wife was such a nature that it was difficult for him to lead the life along with her.

[Pundlik Martandrao Yevatkar v. Sau Ujwala, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 3171, decided on 04-10-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shri R.G. Kavimandan, Advocate, for the Appellant;

Shri D.S. Khushlani, Advocate, for the Respondent.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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