The Bombay High Court observed that deserting husband without any justifiable reason amounts to cruelty, while setting aside a Family Court order and allowing a husband’s appeal seeking dissolution of marriage.
Justice A S Oka and A S Chandurkar were hearing an appeal filed by the Pune-based husband who sought quashing of a order of a Family Court that dismissed his petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion.
The man argued that his wife was suffering from a physical ailment, which she did not disclose to him before their wedding on February 7, 1992. He further argued that his wife was not interested in conceiving and left the matrimonial home on April 21, 2003 without any “justifiable reason” and did not return thereafter. This act of hers caused mental agony to him, the husband contended.
The wife denied suffering from any physical ailment. On the contrary, she stated that it was her husband who was suffering from schizophrenia. She has stated that she was forced to leave the matrimonial house on April 21, 2003. She, therefore, stated that no ground was made out for grant of divorce.
The judges observed the wife had made “unfounded” allegations against the man. The HC, therefore, said, “In our opinion, it would amount to causing mental cruelty and would thus entitle the appellant (man) for grant of divorce on the ground of cruelty.”
The court said that in order to constitute desertion, it will have to be proved that the party guilty of such desertion left the other party without any just and reasonable cause for a period of not less than two years.
The court said though the husband had filed the divorce petition in July 12, 2004 and moved an application raising the ground of desertion on May 6, 2006, the Family Court had considered the period of desertion from April 21, 2003 and July 12, 2004. “The period of desertion will have to be reckoned for a period of two years preceding May 6, 2006,” the court said. The HC, considering the findings, held that the wife had deserted the appellant without reasonable cause for a period of more than two years from May 6, 2006
“Thus, from the evidence on record it is clear that while the appellant has proved he was in no way responsible in any manner whatsoever for the respondent leaving the matrimonial house,” the court held.