THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has refused to grant divorce to a couple from Haryana’s Karnal district who have been living separately for the past 14 years. The husband and wife had lived together just for three months in 2004 and since then have been engaged in a legal fight over the marriage.
A division bench of the High Court while dismissing the plea of divorce filed by the husband has said, “Even if it is presumed that on account of prolonged separation by the parties it will not be feasible for them to reunite but the relief of divorce cannot be granted in the present case in view of the fact that legislation in its wisdom has framed Hindu Marriage Act on ‘fault theory’, and ‘break down theory’ has not been accepted for creating ground for divorce”.
The couple had got married in March 2004 but the wife left the husband’s house in June 2004. The husband, who is a physician, had applied for divorce in August 2006 on the grounds that insufficient food had given to baratis at the marriage, his wife had refused to take care of his ailing mother, she had refused to take cold drink during interval of a movie ‘Main Hoon Na’, refused to prepare tea for guests, refused to have sexual relations and other allegations.
The wife in response had pleaded that the allegations were an excuse for second marriage and claimed that the family members of her husband had put pressure on her to clear the NET examination and also qualify for PhD examination. They used to give her study hours for preparation and she was made to understand that she would be shunted out in case she failed, according to her response.
The divorce plea had been dismissed in 2009 following which the husband had approached the High Court in appeal.
The division bench said the allegations pertain to a shorter period of few months after the marriage and could have been resolved by mediation at that time. It further termed the allegations and counter-allegations ‘petty’ and held that the husband has failed to prove it as a case of cruelty on part of wife or her family.
“The over sensitivity expressed from the allegations by the appellant is indicative of the fact that in the male dominated society of India sometimes unreasonable expectations from wife bring unhappiness on account of non-fulfillment of the same. The present case appears to be one of the instances of such situations,” the division bench said.
Interestingly, the division bench during the pendency of the case had made an effort to make the husband pay an alimony to the wife but he had failed to make a reasonable offer and also wife refused to accept any amount.
The wife had opposed the divorce plea saying that “no sincere efforts had ever been made by her husband or his family members for her return to the house.
“The important ingredient of animus desirendi i.e. the intention to desert on the part of the respondent (wife) does not stand established though parties have been living separately for the past many years,” adding that till the filing of divorce plea no attempt had been made by the wife to register any case of domestic violence against her husband, in order to save her marriage.