Recently, The Chattisgarh HC stated that mental cruelty must be of such a nature that the parties cannot reasonably be expected to live together.
The bench of Justices Goutam Bhaduri and Radhakishan Agrawal was dealing with the appeal challenging the judgment and decree passed by the Additional Principal Judge, Family Court, whereby the petition filed by the wife/respondent for grant of decree of divorce was allowed.
In this case, It is alleged by the wife/respondent that soon after the marriage, she was being tortured and harassed mentally and physically on different occasions by the appellant/husband in connection with the demand for dowry.
Even during her pregnancy, she was ill-treated by her husband and dropped at her parental home. The husband also levelled false allegations on her character and on that ground sought divorce by filing a petition under Section 13 of the Act, 1955 which was subsequently dismissed by the Court.
She filed a complaint case under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and an application under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. for a grant of maintenance and also lodged a report under Section 498-A of IPC against him.The Family Court by the impugned judgment and decree allowed the suit and dissolved the marriage performed between the parties.
The issue for consideration before the bench was:Whether the order passed by the Family Court needs interference or not?High Court referred to the case of V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat, where it was held that mental cruelty in Section 13(1) (i-a) can broadly be defined as that conduct which inflicts upon the other party such mental pain and suffering as would make it not possible for that party to live with the other. In other words, mental cruelty must be of such a nature that the parties cannot reasonably be expected to live together. The situation must be such that the wronged party cannot reasonably be asked to put up with such conduct and continue to live with the other party. What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case. It is a matter to be determined in each case having regard to the facts and circumstances of that case.
The bench noted that the husband and wife lodged criminal cases against each other, and the appellant used to doubt the character of the wife saying that she was having an affair with one Pankaj Agrawal even prior to the marriage. During the period of pregnancy also, when the wife was staying at her parental house at Belgahna, the appellant visited there, abused them filthily and extended a threat to kill them whereupon a report was lodged by the wife under Sections 294, 506-B read with Section 34 of IPC.
High Court stated that the manner in which the husband treated the wife while she was residing with him & even while she was living at her parental house, it is evident that the husband subjected her to cruelty which forced her to leave her matrimonial home & stay at her parental home since 2014. Being so, the finding arrived at by the Court below granting a decree of divorce in favour of the wife does not call for any interference.
In view of the above, the bench dismissed the appeal.
Case Title: Sohil Agrawal v. Smt. Anjali AgrawalBench: Justices Goutam Bhaduri and Radhakishan AgrawalCase No.: FAM No. 110 of 2018Counsel for the appellant: Mr. Manish NigamCounsel for the respondent: Mr. Sanjay Agrawal and Ms. Priyanka Shrivastava