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Manoj Kumar v. Pinki Rani - (High Court of Delhi) (22 Nov 2016)

Allegation of dowry harassment not established would by itself constitute act of cruelty



Marriage between Appellant and Respondent was solemnized on February 19, 1995. A male child was born to couple on November 27, 1995. Appellant filed a petition seeking annulment of marriage on the ground of cruelty in year 1996. As per pleadings in present petition, Respondent never joined consortium with Appellant after she returned to her parental house in year 1995. Meaning thereby, assurance given to him in year 2001 that she would re-join the union was not complied with by the Respondent. Second petition seeking annulment of marriage was therefore filed in the year 2009. FIR registered by Respondent for offences punishable under Sections 498A/406 Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. However, Appellant was acquitted in that matter.

The Court observed that Respondent has not made good the charge of being ill-treated in her matrimonial house on account of dowry. It means that the reason to withdraw from the consortium, as projected by the respondent, is false. Nothing can be more painful to a spouse other than allegations of adultery made by opposite spouse. It is settled law that a charge of adultery is a serious charge and if not proved would constitute cruelty. Thus, evidence on record establishes two acts of cruelty by Respondent; first levelling false allegations of adultery and second of harassing the respondent on account of dowry demand. Withdrawal from consortium without a cause would also be an act of cruelty.

The High Court allowed appeal noting that since the year 1995, couple has not lived together and child born is 21 years of age, marriage being irrevocably broken, cruelty was established. Marriage between Appellant and Respondent is dissolved by granting a decree for divorce on grounds of cruelty as well as desertion.


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