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Kirti Nagpal vs Rohit Girdhar - (High Court of Delhi) (20 Nov 2020)

False, baseless, scandalous, malicious and unproven allegations made in the written statement may amount to cruelty



By way of the present appeal, the Appellant-wife has impugned the judgment passed by the learned Principal Judge, Family Courts, whereby the Court, while rejecting the relief sought under Section 12(1)(a) and (c), has allowed the petition of the Respondent by granting divorce under Section 13(1)(ia), of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 ('HMA').

It is true that, cruelty has not been defined in the HMA. It can be physical or mental. It is primarily contextual, pertaining to human behaviour or conduct with respect to matrimonial duties and obligations. It is therefore, essential to see whether the conduct of the party is of such a nature, that a reasonable person would neither tolerate the same, nor be reasonably expected to live with the other party.

It is now no longer res integra that false, baseless, scandalous, malicious and unproven allegations made in the written statement may amount to cruelty. In the present case, the allegations in the Written Statement are grave and serious accusations, which are likely to impact Respondent's self-image and adversely affected his mental well-being. Thus, there is no infirmity in the findings and observations of the trial Court that, the allegation of the Appellant in the Written Statement with respect to the impotency clearly falls within the concept of cruelty as defined under law.

Present Court do not agree with the Appellant that, cruelty in the present case was not a sustained or severe one. The Supreme Court has elaborately discussed the concept of mental cruelty in Samar Ghosh v. Jaya Ghosh. Indeed, mental cruelty is a state of mind and what might be cruelty in one case may not be so in another case, as observed by the Trial Court. The Court has carefully examined the facts and evidence and observed that the allegations are scandalous and malicious. Appellant persistently humiliated the Respondent causing him mental agony, pain and suffering. The cruelty in the instant case is of enduring and profound nature. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that there is no allegation of cruelty in the original petition, the Trial Court was justified to conclude that, it was of grave nature that caused lasting disruption in the relationship between the parties. The Appellant's conduct of making unfounded allegations has continued right up to the appellate stage. It is also abundantly clear that due to the mental pain, agony and suffering caused by the false accusations, the Respondent cannot be asked to put up with the conduct of the Appellant and to continue to live with her.

Present Court also do not find any infirmity in the approach of the Learned Trial Court by placing reliance upon the judgment in Samar Ghosh v. Jaya Ghosh, on the aspect of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Undisputedly, the Appellant and the Respondent have been separated for more than eight years and since the separation has continued for a sufficient length of time, it can be presumed that, the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There has been a prolonged and continuous separation, and the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. There is no merit in the present appeal. Appeal dismissed.


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