Even a single act of physical violence or levelling of false accusation at times “can be said to be of unpardonable nature” to satisfy the test of cruelty in a matrimonial dispute, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said.
“There cannot be any set standard by which nature and degree of cruelty can be measured,” a division bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Manjari Nehru Kaul said while refusing to reverse a divorce order granted in favour of a Rewari man in 2015 by a lower court. His wife had challenged the decree of divorce.
The couple had married in Narnaul tehsil in 2008. The couple parted ways a month after the marriage, when the wife left her matrimonial home. A case for cruelty was filed against the man and his family by the wife in 2010 leading to conviction of the husband.
The division bench in the verdict said that it was apparent that the relations between the two were far from normal right from the beginning. “The levelling of false accusations and the subsequent registration of a criminal case against the husband and his family can, in the facts and circumstances of the case, be said to be one such unjustifiable act of the wife, which would have naturally caused immense agony to not only the husband but his family as well,” the court said.
The husband had claimed that the wife misbehaved with him and his mother on the very next day of marriage and also told him that she, in fact, wanted to marry another person. The woman denied the allegations and accused the husband of deserting her without any sufficient cause.
The HC in the ruling said that “unbecoming behaviour” of the woman of misbehaving with mother-in-law and also telling her newly-wed husband on the first night of marriage itself that he was not to her liking “is also indicative of her cruel behaviour towards her husband”.
“Taking overall perspective of the matter when the parties have admittedly not had any conjugal relationship for the past 11 years, the woman resided with the husband only for 42 days and thereafter did not return to her matrimonial home coupled with the fact that criminal cases were also instituted by her against the husband, it would be a futile exercise to expect the parties to continue their marital relationship,” the court said.
However, it also directed the husband to pay an amount of Rs 2 Lakh to his former wife as permanent alimony within two months.