scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Damaging reputation of spouse amounts to mental cruelty, says SC

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by an Army officer seeking divorce alleging mental cruelty by his wife who holds a faculty position in a government PG College.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: February 26, 2021 9:40:46 pm
Supreme Court DelhiAn SC bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said that the Uttarakhand High Court was in error in describing the broken relationship between an Army officer and his wife as the normal wear and tear of middle-class married life. (File photo)

Defamatory complaints against a spouse and damaging his reputation amount to mental cruelty, the Supreme Court said on Friday while granting divorce to an Army officer.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said that the Uttarakhand High Court was in error in describing the broken relationship between an Army officer and his wife as the normal wear and tear of middle-class married life.

“It is a definite case of cruelty inflicted by the respondent against the appellant and as such enough justification is found to set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and to restore the order passed by the Family Court,” the bench observed.

“The appellant is accordingly held entitled to dissolution of his marriage and consequently the respondent’s application for restitution of conjugal rights stands dismissed. It is ordered accordingly,” it said.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the Army officer seeking divorce alleging mental cruelty by his wife who holds a faculty position in a government PG College.

They had got married in 2006 and lived together for few months. But right from the initial days of marriage, differences cropped up between them and they have lived apart since 2007.

The wife also filed a petition against the husband for restitution of conjugal rights and for resumption of matrimonial life.

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, said, “The degree of tolerance will vary from one couple to another and the court will have to bear in mind the background, the level of education and also the status of the parties, in order to determine whether the cruelty alleged is sufficient to justify dissolution of marriage, at the instance of the wronged party.”

It added, “For considering dissolution of marriage at the instance of a spouse who allege mental cruelty, the result of such mental cruelty must be such that it is not possible to continue with the matrimonial relationship.”

The court said the allegations were levelled by a highly educated person and they do have the propensity to irreparably damage the character and reputation of the appellant.

“When the reputation of the spouse is sullied amongst his colleagues, his superiors and the society at large, it would be difficult to expect condonation of such conduct by the affected party,” it said.

The apex court noted that material in the present case reveals that the wife had made several defamatory complaints to the appellant’s superiors in the Army, for which a court of inquiry was held by the Army authorities against the appellant. It noted that appellant’s career progress got affected and the wife was also making complaints to other authorities, such as the State Commission for Women, and has posted defamatory materials on other platforms.

“When the appellant has suffered adverse consequences in his life and career on account of the allegations made by the respondent, the legal consequences must follow and those cannot be prevented only because no court has determined that the allegations were false,” the bench said.

The explanation of the wife that she made those complaints in order to protect the matrimonial ties would not justify the persistent effort made by her to undermine the dignity and reputation of the appellant, it said.

“In circumstances like this, the wronged party cannot be expected to continue with the matrimonial relationship and there is enough justification for him to seek separation,” the apex court added.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
x