Punjab and Haryana High Court terms woman filing frivolous cases against husband as cruelty, grants divorce
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, while observing that the act of wife of filing false and frivolous cases against her husband amounted to cruelty, decreed a divorce plea filed by a man.
The Division Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Joginder Singh.
The appeal has been filed by the appellant-husband against the order dated 1.10.2016 passed by the Additional District Judge, Tarn Taran, whereby the appellant’s petition under Section 13-A of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce has been dismissed.
The facts of the case are that the marriage between the parties was solemnized in 2009-2010. It is stated to be a simple marriage with no exchange of gifts or dowry articles.
No child was born out of their wedlock. It was the appellant’s case that since the very beginning, the respondent did not want to live in the matrimonial house along with his parents and wished to live separately.
The respondent also did not perform her matrimonial duties and would pick up quarrels on trifle matters and insult the parents of the appellant.
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It further alleged that the respondent has a ‘venom-oozing tongue’. She even threatened to involve the appellant and his family members in a false dowry case.
It is stated that on 13.10.2013, the father of the respondent took her away and the respondent took all her belongings and gold ornaments with her and never came back thereafter.
The appellant even convened a Panchayat; and on 10.11.2013, he along with his parents and other respectable members went to the house of the parents of the respondent for reconciliation, but to no avail.
On the other hand, the respondent before the Family Court, has stated that the appellant’s petition under Section 13 was a counter blast to her petition under Section 125 CrPC; and the FIR dated 25.3.2014 under Sections 406, 498-A, 120-B IPC, PS Patti, that she had got registered against the appellant and his family.
She stated that all demands of the appellant and his family members were met and generous items of jewellery and other dowry articles were gifted to them, however, the appellant and his family members mis-appropriated the same and ill-treated her and beat her and their greed for more dowry articles was endless, whereupon she was left with no alternative but to register the above said FIR against them.
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She further stated that she was thrown out of the matrimonial home on 13.10.2013 with nothing except the clothes she was wearing.
The respondent also stated that her parents and other relatives and other respectable members had approached the appellant and his parents for rehabilitation of the respondent in her matrimonial house, however, the appellant had refused to take her back.
On the basis of above pleadings and evidence led by the parties, the Trial Court order dated 1.10.2016 dismissed the appellant’s petition primarily on the ground that the appellant had failed to prove that the respondent had treated him with cruelty or deserted him, and had failed to cite any specific instance of cruelty meted out by the respondent to the appellant.
The Counsel for the appellant urged that the Trial Court has failed to properly appreciate the fact that the respondent had deserted the matrimonial home without any sufficient cause on 13.10.2013.
The Counsel has further stated that the appellant and his father were beaten by the father of the respondent and his companions, regarding which a complaint was also given to Police Station, Valtoha on 31.10.2013. It was accordingly prayed that the appeal be allowed.
The Court noted, ‘Thought matter was passed over, yet no one has appeared for the respondent even in the second round. Even on the last date of hearing, no one had appeared for the respondent.
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‘During the pendency of the appeal, the Court had attempted to reconcile the differences between the parties through mediation, however, parties could not resolve their dispute amicably and the mediation attempts had failed.
‘In our view, once criminal litigation is initiated between the parties it leads to a point of no return. And if it is a false case filed by the wife merely to harass and humiliate the husband and his family, then the resultant bitterness rarely leaves any room or reason for reconciliation.
‘A perusal of the judgement whereby the appellant and his family members have been acquitted of the charges under Section 406, 498-A 120-B IPC shows that the Trial Court has returned very categorical findings holding that the prosecution entirely failed to prove its case.
‘Baljinder Singh has stated on oath that he had participated in the marriage between the parties as mediator and nothing was demanded by the appellant or his family from the respondent or her parents.
‘The SDJM, Patti in his judgment of acquittal has returned the finding that no medico-legal examination was led by the respondent wife to prove the alleged beatings that she had received at the hands of the appellant and his father.
‘Thus, in the conspectus of the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, and in consonance with the pronouncements of the Supreme Court, with a view to do complete justice, and put an end to the agony of the parties, the Court deems it appropriate to allow the appeal,’ the Court observed, while allowing the appeal.
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The Court held that the acts of the respondent-wife amount to cruelty against the appellant-husband.
‘We are, however, not oblivious to her requirements. It has come on record that the appellant has been paying interim maintenance under Section 125 CRPC at Rs 2500 per month and Rs 3000 per month was granted by the trial court under Section 24 of the HMA.
‘In these circumstances, we consider it just to direct that the husband shall pay to the wife a sum of Rs 10 lakh as one-time permanent alimony as full and final settlement of all disputes between the parties.
‘The order dated 1.10.2016 passed by the Additional District Judge, Tarn Taran is set aside; the petition for divorce filed by the appellant- husband under Sections 13-A of the Act is decreed and the marriage solemnized between the parties is dissolved by a decree of divorce in the above said terms. All pending applications, if any, stand disposed of’
-the Court ordered.