Case BriefsHigh Courts

Telangana High Court: The Division Bench of M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Vinod Kumar, JJ., while addressing the present matter highlighted the aspects of mental cruelty and desertion.

Respondent 1 who was married to appellant had alleged that since the time of marriage appellant was harassing and ill-treating him and was also abusing along with defaming him in the presence of other villagers.

Appellant filed a false complaint against the husband i.e. respondent 1 and his parents under Section 498-A read with Section 34 Penal Code, 1860 and that the appellant had deserted him and was leading adulterous life with 2nd respondent.

Respondent 1 alleged that the appellant while residing with 2nd respondent demanded big sum of money from the parents of respondent 1, after which she filed another false complaint. Appellant had also attacked and beat up the mother of respondent 1 causing her internal injuries.

Mental Cruelty and Desertion

Summing up the above-stated contentions, respondent 1 contended that leading of adulterous life by appellant with 2nd respondent amounts to cruelty and actions of appellant amounted to defamation, insult and annoyance and since he lost his reputation in the village, he as entitled to decree for dissolution of marriage on the ground of mental cruelty and desertion.

As per the appellant/wife she had denied being in love with 2nd respondent and gave a complaint against the 2nd respondent for sexual harassment.

Appellant denied of all the allegations placed by the husband against her. Further, she also added that her in-laws beat her up during her pregnancy and threw her out of the matrimonial home and she spent four years in her parents’ house during which time the 1st respondent did not bother to call or reconcile with her.

Her in-laws also forcefully took her minor daughter away.

Court below had concluded that respondent 1 could not be expected to live with the appellant since she had illegal contact with 2nd respondent and evidence on record indicated that the appellant was treating respondent 1 with mental cruelty and husband and wife had been living separately since 2015 and the marriage had irretrievably broken down and there was no chance of them living together again. Hence decree of divorce was granted.

Appellant filed the challenge to the above appeal.

Analysis, Law and Decision

One of the grounds for dissolution of a marriage is treatment of one spouse by the other spouse with cruelty, and such cruelty can be either mental cruelty or physical cruelty.

It was noted that the appellant had herself given a criminal complaint against 2nd respondent stating that she was married to 1st respondent and was blessed with a female child , but she was for previous 4 years staying away from her husband and from previous one year the 2nd respondent had lured her with delicious words and told her that he loved her and if she agreed, he will marry her; that she discarded her husband as she was not willing to lead marital life with her husband and when she came to the 2nd respondent and asked him to marry, he refused to marry her. She thus sought to take legal action against the 2nd respondent.

As per the contents of the complaint, appellant had illegal connection with 2nd respondent and had expressed her intention of not willing to lead marital life with 1st respondent who was her lawfully wedded husband.

Fidelity in marital relationship is very important and if one of the spouses is guilty of infidelity, it would certainly amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse.

 High Court opined that the Court below did not commit any error in giving the finding that the appellant treated 1st respondent with cruelty by leading adulterous life with 2nd respondent and that she had deserted the 1st respondent and treated him with cruelty and that marriage had irretrievably broken down and there was no chance of them living together again.

Hence no merit in the appeal was found leading to its dismissal.[Laxmi Meenakshi v. Chetty Mahadevappa, 2021 SCC OnLine TS 469 , decided on 09-04-2021]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): The Division Bench of Justice R.K. Agrawal (President) and Dr S.M. Kantikar (Member) while partly allowing the complaint expressed that the surveyors of the insurance company adopted a conservative approach and kept demanding for information without any further clarification.

Complainant filed the instant complaint against the Opposite Party under Section 21(a)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Complainant Co. was engaged in the business of arbitrage between NSE and BSE. As per the requirements of NSE and BSE, the complainant company took the insurance cover from the OP for cover amount of Rs 1 crore. The said policy was being renewed every year regularly, which covered “fidelity” under Section 1A of the terms and conditions of the policy. Nilesh Patel was incharge and looking after the arbitrage operations and other back-office work related to the updating of trade datas, MIS reports and deciding about volume of arbitrage. He was drawing salary and entitled to annual bonus like other employees. Alongwith that, he was not allowed to trade on his own or otherwise, any time.

It was noted that Mr Nilesh Patel committed huge fraud by transferring the losses into the accounts of companies clients. Complainant submitted that the said acts were fraudulent, unauthorized, without consent or permission of authority of the Complainant Co. and/ or his constituents.

Complainant company filed an insurance claim with the OP Insurance Co. OP rejected the claim of the complainant co. on the ground of speculative trading entered into by its employee which was outside the scope of the policy.

BSE observed that the loss incurred to the complainant was due to the fraud and infidelity of its employee and it was not speculative trading. OP still refused to settle the insurance claim.

On being aggrieved with the above position, the consumer complaint was filed.

Analysis and Decision

Bench observed that the two surveyors appointed by the insurance company failed to act as per IRDA guidelines and unnecessarily delayed the settlement of the claim. Complainant company though had submitted the entire details as sought, yet the surveyors made repeated demands for additional information.

In view of the above, the Commission found that the surveyors did not follow the IRDA guidelines which was a deficiency of service of the part of the OP.

The Complainant suffered loss due to dishonest actions of its employee Nilesh Patel who confessed his misdeeds and due to guilt, he committed suicide.

Commission opined that the complainant’s claim would be squarely covered under Section 1A i.e. ‘Fidelity’.

“1. FIDELITY

Loss resulting solely and directly from dishonest or fraudulent acts by Employees of the Insured committed with the manifest intent to cause the insured to sustain such loss or to obtain a financial gain for themselves wherever committed and whether committed alone or in collusion with others, including loss of property through any such acts by Employees.”

Evidence on record clearly establishes that the Complainant Co. suffered a loss due to fraudulent acts of Mr Nilesh Patel, the employee of the Company.

Bench on perusal of the record expressed that it was the apprehension of the Surveyors who surveyed arbitrage transactions only theoretically and failed to grasp the sophisticated techniques adopted by the complainant co. for arbitrage transactions.

Commission found that it was the baseless presumption of the Surveyors that Mr Nilesh Patel possibly attempted to make profits on speculative transactions, since his remuneration could be performance-based.

Based on the entirety the deficiency in service on the part of Insurance Co. was evident. OP was directed to pay an insurance claim of Rs 1 crore to the complainant co. alongwith interest @9% p.a. [R.R. Chokhani Stock Brokers (P) Ltd. v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine NCDRC 20, decided on 04-02-2021]


Advocates for the parties:

For the Complainant: Harish Malhotra, Senior Advocate with Ramakant Chokhani, AR

For OPs: P.K. Seth, Advocate