Madras High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of V. M. Velumani and S. Sounthar, JJ. granted divorce as sought by the appellant-husband on grounds of mental cruelty as the wife suspected the character of the appellant-husband and used filthy language in front of his colleagues and students and also alleged for having extra marital affair with his colleague without being able to provide any substantial evidence corroborating the same.

The appellant husband sought for divorce on the ground of mental cruelty before the Family Court which was dismissed as the appellant failed to prove mental cruelty. Aggrieved by the same, present appeal was filed under Section 19 Family Court Act. The appellant alleged that the respondent/wife developed suspicion about the appellant’s conduct and character and humiliated him by connecting him with his female colleagues. A false complaint was preferred by respondent/wife against appellant/husband before Thiruchengodu All Women Police Station and further tarnishing the image of the appellant came to his work-place and used filthy languages and spoke ill of him by connecting him with other female lecturers and as all his attempts for reunion resulted in failure hence, he was constrained to file divorce petition on the grounds of cruelty.

Reliance was placed on A Jayachandra v. Annel Kaul, (2005) 2 SCC 22 to observe that suspecting the character of other spouse and making complaint to police would certainly amount to mental cruelty, when it is not substantiated by any evidence. The Court noted that in the case on hand, the respondent herself admitted that she did not know the name of the lady with whom the appellant was allegedly having illegal intimacy. Thus, she assumed illegal intimacy only because appellant used to talk with his female colleagues over cell phone. Hence, the doubt created in the mind of respondent is nothing but an assumption without any reasonable basis.

Further reliance was placed on Anusha v. Arjun, (2017) 5 LW 165 wherein it was observed that “the fact remains that the appellant went to the workplace of the respondent on the relevant day and she also apologized for what has happened by way of an e-mail to the respondent. This incident, undoubtedly, would have developed a deep scar in the mind of the respondent. While that be so, we hold that the respondent has established that he was subjected to cruelty at the hands of the appellant.”

Placing further reliance on K Srinivas Rao v. D A Deepa (2013) 5 SCC 226 and Narendra v. K Meena (2016) 6 CTC 440 observed that the respondent /wife caused mental cruelty to husband by suspecting his character and making false allegations of extra marital affair in the presence of his colleagues and students and also before the police.

With regard to one of the contention made by the counsel for the appellant regarding removal of thali chain (mangalsutra) at the time of separation by the wife shows her intention to dissolve the marriage, the Court relied on judgment Vallabhai v. R Rajasabhi (2017) 1 MWN (Civil) 128 and categorically noted that though removal of thali chain per se insufficient to put an end to the marital knot, but the said act of respondent is a piece of evidence in drawing an inference about the intentions of the parties. Thus, the act of removal of thali chain at the time of separation coupled with various other evidence available on record, concludes that the parties have no intention to reconcile and continue the marital knot.

As the appellant and the respondent are living separately from 2011 onwards and there was no evidence available on record to show that respondent made any attempt for reunion during this period, thus, the Court granted decree of divorce dissolving the marriage as the actions alleged by the appellant husband amounts to mental cruelty within the meaning of Section 13(i)(a) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

[C. Sivakumar v. A. Srividhya, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 3672, decided on 5-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Appellant : Senior Adv. S. Subbiah;

For the Respondent : Adv. S. Vijayaraghavan.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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Gujarat High Court

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Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

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Himachal Pradesh High Court

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Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court

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Jharkhand High Court

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Karnataka High Court

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Protection of Witness

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Bigamy

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Principles of Natural Justice

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Cruelty/ Divorce

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Domestic Violence

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Dowry Death

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Dishonour of Cheque

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Kerala High Court

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POCSO

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NTPC/ Discrimination

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Cruelty/Desertion

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Anticipatory Bail

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Reproductive Rights

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Compulsory Licensing

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Madhya Pradesh High Court

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Bail/ Corruption

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Arya Samaj

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Madras High Court

Mental Illness

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Educational certificate

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Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

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Social Media Intermediaries

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Documentary/Oral Evidence

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Income Tax

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Service Rules

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Meghalaya High Court

POCSO

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Rape

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Public Interest Litigation

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Life Imprisonment

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Orissa High Court

Superannuation

S.K. Panigrahi, J., denied the petition, stating that “no plea for a change of date of birth after five years from the joining date will be considered.” Read more

Transgender Rights

A.K. Mohapatra, J., has been instructed to complete the trans-sexual woman’s application for a family pension as soon as feasible, ideally within six weeks after receiving a certified copy of the order. Read more

Administrative laches

S. K. Panigrahi, J., ordered the State to pay simple interest at the rate of 6 percent per year on postponed salary within 30 days of today. Read more

Guardian and Wards Act

The case was dismissed by a Division Bench consisting of SK Sahoo and M S Raman JJ., giving the petitioner the freedom to seek the proper remedy before the proper venue in line with the law. Read more

Central Information Commission

A Division Bench of S. Muralidhar and R.K. Pattnaik, JJ. issued a declaratory writ to the effect that the impugned notification dated 11-08-2016 issued by the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Odisha under Section 24(4) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI Act’), will not permit the Government to deny information pertaining to the Vigilance Department involving allegations of corruption and human rights violations, and other information that does not touch upon any of the sensitive and confidential activities undertaken by the Vigilance Department. Read more

Compensation

Arindam Sinha, J. criticised the State for not following the procedure and granted compensation to a woman who conceived even after being sterilised by the State. Read more

Patna High Court

Right to Sanitation

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Rape

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Punjab & Haryana High Court

Religious Beliefs

Karamajit Singh, J., directed the State of Punjab not to take “coercive steps” against Raveena Tandon, Farah Khan, Bharti Singh, Screen Abbas Aziz Dalal, and Frames Production in response to their petition seeking the quashing of an FIR filed against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a Flipkart web show titled “Backbenchers.” Read more

NDPS Act

In a petition under section 439 CrPC for regular bail under sections 22, 25, 27-A, and 29 of the NDPS Act, Jasjit Singh Bedi, J., expanded the petitioner-accused on bail while repeating the observations made by various Courts, including the Supreme Court, on the requirement that section 42 of the NDPS Act be complied with by the relevant authority. Read more

Muslim Personal Law

After the petitioners were forced into marriage, a writ petition was filed to seek the protection of their life and liberty from family members. Jasjit Singh Bedi, J. instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police to determine the petitioners’ claims regarding the threat to their life and liberty after taking into account the petitioners’ capacity to enter into a legal marriage contract and attending to their concerns. Read more

Rajasthan High Court

Bailable Warrant

Dinesh Mehta, J. granted the petition and stated that while expediting the disposition of cases is important, so is adhering to the mandate of the law, including procedural law. Read more

Culpable Homicide

Farjand Ali, J. rejected the petitioner’s request for bail after finding that the investigating agency had overlooked several relevant pieces of evidence. The petitioner was accused of committing an honour killing. Read more

Police Protection

Sameer Jain J. granted police protection and directed the State authorities to charge an appropriate fee from the couple seeking police protection before the Court, if the income is found to be more than the taxable income under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Read more

Telangana High Court

Anticipatory Bail

Juvvadi Sridevi, J., granted anticipatory bail pending the conclusion of the inquiry and the submission of the final report. The Court remarked that the accused 2/petitioner 2 did not appear to have been served with a notice under Section 41-A CrPC, whereas the accused 1/petitioner 1 was simply provided with the notice. Read more

Prevention of Money Laundering

K. Lakshman, J. upheld the petitioner’s appeal against the Directorate of Enforcement’s (ED) request to extend the petitioner’s judicial custody so that the investigation could be finished, stating that a complaint filed without a complete investigation cannot be used to avoid the right to statutory bail under Section 167(2) CrPC. Read more

Maintenance under Section 125 CrPC

In a maintenance case, Sathish Reddy, J. stated that the wife’s earning capacity cannot be used to deny her maintenance. Read more

Commercial Courts Act

The appeal was allowed by the Division Bench of P. Naveen Rao and Sambasivarao Naidu, JJ., who overturned the impugned order’s stance that any disagreement arising from a contract involving real estate that is solely used for business or commerce and whose “specified value” exceeds one crore belongs in a commercial court alone. Read more

Tripura High Court

Harassment

While noting that there were no legitimate grounds to deny the employee gratuity and other retrial benefits, Arindam Lodh, J. directed the employer to release the employee’s gratuity, pension, and other retrial benefits. Read more


*Arunima Bose has put this report together.

Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: In a matter pertaining to mental cruelty, the Division Bench of Goutam Bhaduri and N.K. Chandravanshi, JJ., expressed that, if a spouse by her own conduct, without caring about the future of the daughter, parts with ornaments which were meant for the marriage, it will be within the ambit of mental cruelty done by the wife.

Factual Background


In the present matter, the decision of the Family Court was challenged whereby the application filed by the appellant/husband for grant of decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion was rejected.

The appellant/husband pleaded that he was married to the respondent/wife. The husband was engaged in the job of railway guard, and it was stated that before filing the divorce petition, the wife deserted the husband without any lawful cause.

Further, it was alleged that the wife had availed different loans to the extent of Rs 10-12 lakhs, without the knowledge of the husband even by placing the ornaments which were meant for the marriage of their daughter as a pledge to different creditors.

Additionally, the allegation which was also levelled against the husband that he was having illicit relations outside marriage, damaged the reputation of the husband in society, amounting to cruelty and therefore the divorce was claimed.

Analysis, Law and Decision


High Court noted that reading the statements of the appellant, son, daughter and creditor together would lead to show that the wife in absence of knowledge of the husband had availed the loan from a third party.

“In a normal household of the Indian society, the narrative made by the son and daughter that the ornaments were purchased for the ensuing marriage of the daughter appears to be more logical.”

Further, the Bench expressed that during the marriage ceremony in the Indian household, the presentation of the ornament is normally done for which the parents start the effort, from an early date.

Bench stated that, in the present matter, the conduct of the wife which had been projected and incidentally the children, who have supported such fact against the mother that wife without the knowledge of the husband had done away with the security of the marriage of the daughter and had obtained amount from the creditor by pledging the ornaments meant for the marriage of the daughter would certainly cause apprehension and fear and create financial pressure on the mind of the father as the hard reality cannot be forgotten which exists in the society to present a girl during the marriage with ornaments.

Illicit Relation

Regarding the extramarital affair, Court stated that no reliable evidence was found as the wife’s statement was itself inconsistent.

Further, the Bench stated that, it was obvious that to suffer an allegation pertaining to once character of having an extramarital affair is quite torturous for a person and whereas inconsistently in the statement and only allegation of extra marital affair is raised by the wife casually against the husband certainly which always has a bad impact on the image of a person qua the society, therefore would amount to mental cruelty.

High Court in view of the above discussion, asserted that parting away from the ornaments by pledging without knowledge of husband, which were meant for the marriage of daughter and further the unsubstantiated allegations levelled by wife, assassinating the character of the spouse/husband would amount to mental cruelty to the husband.

Hence, the marriage deserved to be dissolved by a decree of divorce.

Permanent Alimony

The Court granted an amount of Rs 15,000 per month to the wife as permanent alimony, which in turn would be adjustable to any amount paid under Section 125 CrPC.

In view of the above observations, the appeal was allowed. [S. Raju v. R. Rani, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 711, decided on 8-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For Appellant:- Mr. Shailendra Bajpai, Advocate

For Respondent: – Mr. Palash Rajani with Mr. Pankaj Bhaskar, Advocate on behalf of Dr. Shailesh Ahuja, Advocate

High Court Round UpLegal RoundUpTribunals/Regulatory Bodies/Commissions Monthly Roundup

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Under Muslim Personal law, can Family Court dissolve the marriage of a couple? Bom HC elaborates

The Division Bench of V.K. Jadhav and Sandipkumar C. More, JJ., addressed whether Family Court under Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 read with Section 7(1)(b) Explanation (b) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 declare the matrimonial status of a wife and husband.

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Judges required to seek political clearance qua private visits abroad: Did Del HC strike down Ministry of External Affairs’ Office Memorandum requiring the same? Read decision

The Division Bench of Rajiv Shakdher and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., strikes down the OM dated 13-7-2021, to the extent it requires Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court to seek political clearance qua private visits abroad.

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Signatures on the Vakalat and the Written Statement cannot be considered as signatures of comparable and assured standard for want of expert opinion under S. 45 Evidence Act

The petitioner/defendant filed written statement contending that the suit promissory note is a forged document and his signatures were forged. At the evidence stage, the petitioner filed an interim application under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to send a promissory note to the handwriting expert by receiving specimen writings in the four promissory notes which are annexed to the said application and to receive his specimen signatures in the open Court along with the vakalatnama and written statement for comparison. The respondent/plaintiff filed counter and opposed the said application.

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Law Officers perform their duties without profit motive and with a service mentality for a nominal fee as compared to their lucrative private practice: Madras HC

Expressing that, Legal profession is a noble profession, and it is the lawyer, who plays a predominant role in securing every citizen life and personal liberty fundamental and statutory rights ensured by the ConstitutionM. Govindaraj, J., observed that, Law Officers perform their duties without profit motive and with a service mentality for a nominal fee as compared to their lucrative private practice

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Mother alleged to have extra-marital affair, will father be granted custody of children? Guj HC decides

Ashok Kumar C. Joshi, J., denied granting child custody to father, wherein the mother was alleged to have extra-marital affairs.

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If a girl runs away voluntarily without any persuasion, can boy with whom she eloped be held responsible for abducting the girl? Chh HC explains

Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J., held that, when the accused has not played an active role or persuaded the victim and the victim voluntarily left the protection of her parents and having the capacity to know her action, no offence of abduction is made out.

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Promotional activity for IPL not covered under ‘Business Auxillary Service’; Anil Kumble not liable to pay Service Tax

The Coram of P. Anjani Kumar (Technical Member) and P. Dinesha (Judicial Member) allowed appeals against the order of First Appellate Authority which upheld the demand for service tax by the adjudicating authority.

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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Ashok Kumar C. Joshi, J., denied granting child custody to father, wherein the mother was alleged to have extra-marital affairs.

A petition was filed against an order of the Family Court by which the petitioner-applicant sought interim custody for his children, which came to be rejected by the Court’s Order.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court referred to the Supreme Court decision in Shalini Shyam Shetty v. Rajendra Shankar Patil, (2010) 8 SCC 329, wherein the Court considered in detail the scope of interference by this Court to hold and observed that Article 227 can be invoked by the High Court Suo motu as a custodian of justice. An improper and a frequent exercise of this power would be counterproductive and will divest this extraordinary power of its strength and vitality. The power is discretionary and has to be exercised very sparingly on equitable principles.

The Bench expressed that, the exercise of power under Article 227 of the Constitution of India should be with a view to keep the tribunals/Courts within the bounds of their authority, to ensure that law is followed by tribunals/Courts by exercising jurisdiction which is vested in them and/or when there has been a patent perversity in the orders of tribunals and Courts subordinate to it or where there has been a gross and manifest failure of justice or the basic principles of natural justice have been flouted.

“Jurisdiction has to be very sparingly exercised.”

A petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India cannot be given a shape of appeal in disguise.

In the present matter, the petitioner had alleged that the respondent had extramarital affair with two persons.

Petitioner had also produced an FIR copy filed by the brother of the respondent against Shrirang Dharmendra, with whom the respondent indulged in an extra-marital affair. Family Judge opined that there is nothing on record to show as to how it was unsafe for his children and as to how the life of his children is at stake with the respondent.

Further, so far as the allegations qua the character of the respondent is concerned, the Family Judge opined that same could not be believed only on the basis of the FIR, photographs and/or the chatting details.

The Family Judge had further observed that since the beginning, the children were residing with the respondent only, however, only on bare averments qua character of the respondent, sans any corroborative evidence, it was not proper to hand over the custody of the children to the petitioner.

High Court opined that the Family Judge had committed no error and did not require interference at the hands of this Court. [Shehjada Hanifbhai Patel v. Bilkis, R/Special Civil Application No. 20048 of 2021, decided on 24-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

MR MTM HAKIM with MR VA MANSURI(2880) for the Petitioner(s) No. 1

NOTICE SERVED BY DS for the Respondent(s) No. 1

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a habeas corpus case regarding custody of the child the Bench of Anupinder Singh Grewal, J., refused to consider extra-marital affair as a ground to deny custody of child to the mother. The Bench remarked,

“In a patriarchal society, it is fairly common to cast aspersions on the moral character of a woman. More often than not these allegations are made without any basis or foundation. Even assuming a woman is or has been in an extramarital relationship, the same by itself cannot lead to the conclusion that she would not be a good mother to deny her the custody of her child.”

Background

The petitioner had sought the issuance of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus for the release of her minor daughter who was alleged to be in the custody of her husband-respondent 4. Respondent 4 was an Australian citizen and the petitioner later joined him in Australia. Out of the wedlock, a girl child Jasreen Kaur Garcha was born. Later on, the petitioner and respondent 4 developed matrimonial differences which led to their separation. The parties arrived in India on 24-01-2020. It was by the petitioner that in a deep rooted conspiracy the child was taken away by respondent 4 when the petitioner had gone to her parental village. It was further contended by the petitioner that respondent 4, instead of acceding to the request of the petitioner to handover the child, started threatening her and the petitioner fearing her safety, fled back to Australia on 05-02-2020. She filed a petition for the custody of the minor child in the Federal Circuit Court, Australia and the court had passed an interim order directing respondent 4 to return the minor child to Australia.

On the other hand, respondent No.4 submitted that the petitioner was involved in a relationship with his brother-in-law which had led to marital discord between the parties. The Panchayat was convened on 04-02-2020 and it was agreed that as the petitioner had permanent residency in Australia, the custody of the child would be handed over to respondent 4. He further submitted that after her return to Australia, the petitioner had preferred an application for the custody of the child and in the application, the Australian address of respondent 4 had been mentioned although she knew that he along with their child was in India. Relying on the judgment Ranbir Singh v. Satinder Kaur Mann, 2006(3) RCR (Civil) 628, respondent 4 submitted that a decree, which had been obtained from a foreign court on the basis of a fraud would not be enforceable in India.

 Observations and Decision

Noticing that the mother is the natural guardian of the child till the age of five years in terms of Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, the Bench stated that the child would require love, care and affection of the mother for her development in the formative years. Similarly, the support and guidance of the mother would also be imperative during adolescence. Furthermore, the petitioner had permanent residency in Australia. She was earning Rs 70,000/- Australian dollars per annum and a handsome sum would be payable to her for the maintenance of child as well by the Australian authorities. The father was an Australian citizen. He had also obtained a diploma in Hospitality Management and was employed in Australia and only recently had come to India. He had a small piece of agricultural land and was stated to have some rental income as well.

The Bench opined that the principle of comity of courts had been followed by the Courts in India to honour and to show due respect to the judgments obtained by the Courts abroad. However, the judgment of a foreign court could not be the only factor while considering the issue of custody of a child to a parent. Reliance was placed by the Court on the decision of Supreme Court in Yashita Sahu v. State of Rajasthan, wherein the Bench had held,

In the fast shrinking world where adults marry and shift from one jurisdiction to another there are increasing issues of jurisdiction as to which countrys courts will have jurisdiction. In many cases the jurisdiction may vest in two countries…Though the interest of the child is extremely important and is, in fact, of paramount importance, the courts of one jurisdiction should respect the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction even if it is beyond its territories. When a child is removed by one parent from one country to another, especially in violation of the orders passed by a court, the country to which the child is removed must consider the question of custody and decide whether the court should conduct an elaborate enquiry on the question of childs custody or deal with the matter summarily, ordering the parent to return the custody of the child to the jurisdiction from which the child was removed, and all aspects relating to the childs welfare be investigated in a court in his/her own country.

Noticeably, the respondent 4 had leveled allegations pertaining to the character of the petitioner that she was in an extra-marital relationship with a relative of the petitioner. Opining that aside of the bald assertion in the petition, no supporting material had been brought before the Court, the Bench remarked that in a patriarchal society, it is fairly common to cast aspersions on the moral character of a woman. Therefore, allegations against the petitioner being wholly unsubstantiated were not considered relevant to adjudicate the issue of custody of the minor child.

Noticing that the respondent 4 had appeared initially in the proceedings in Australia, the Bench opined, it could not be said that the order was passed by the Australian Court behind the back of respondent 4 or was not in conformity with the principles of natural justice. Accordingly, the custody of the girl child was handed over to the petitioner. However, the petitioner was directed to arrange interaction of the child with respondent 4 through video conferencing and the parties were directed to abide by the orders of the Federal/Family Court in Australia.[Mandeep Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1060, decided on 10-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Divjyot Singh Sandhu
For the State of Punjab: DAG Dhruv Dayal
For Respondent 4: Adv. Inderpal S. Parmar

Gauhati High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench of Arup Kumar Goswami, Acting CJ and Manish Choudhary, J. allowed an appeal filed by the appellant-husband against the order of the Family Court whereby his petition under Sections 13(1)(ia) and (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking dissolution of his marriage with the respondent-wife was dismissed.

Levelling several allegations, the husband had alleged that the respondent treated her with cruelty, both physically and mentally, which was beyond the limit of tolerance, and had made it impossible for him to continue marital relationship any longer as it had become unsafe and dangerous to the risk and health of the appellant. In her written statement, the respondent denied the allegations and alleged that in fact, it was the husband was having an illicit relationship with another woman.

The High Court noted that the allegations made by the respondent-wife against the husband (of the extra-marital affair) were unsubstantiated. Reliance was placed on Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, (2003) 6 SCC 334 and K. Srinivas Rao v. D.A. Deepa, (2013)5 SCC 226, the High Court observed that the entire allegations of character assassination by the respondent of her husband have remained in the realm of allegations only. Such allegation of an illicit relationship left the husband with grave assault on his character, honour, reputation, status and health. Such kinds of sustained conduct and behaviour of the respondent have the effect of causing a lasting adverse impact in the mind of the appellant leaving him with feelings of deep humiliation and neglect. For such mental pain, agony and sufferings inflicted on the appellant, it could not be reasonably expected of him to still believe that he could continue to live together with the respondent. Such reasonable apprehension of the appellant that it would be harmful and injurious for him to live with the other spouse definitely constitutes mental cruelty, as contemplated in Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act.

In such view of the matter, the Court allowed the appeal and directed the decree of divorce to prepare accordingly.[Debashish Choudhary v. Smiti Nibedita Choudhary, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 4415, decided on 24-09-2019]