Terming small tiffs 'cruelty' will end many marriages: Allahabad HCtext_fields
Prayagraj (UP): The Allahabad High Court has stated that if small disputes in a marriage are viewed as "cruelty" by courts under divorce law, then many marriages would get dissolved even if there is no actual cruelty by either spouse.
A division bench, comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh and Justice Shiv Shanker Prasad, made this observation while directing the judicial separation of an estranged married couple instead of directly allowing a plea for divorce.
"If courts were to recognize and act on small disputes or occurrences and read them as completion of ingredients of cruelty, many marriages where parties may not be enjoying best relations may stand exposed to dissolution without any real cruelty being committed," it said.
The bench was hearing a divorce plea by Rohit Chaturvedi challenging the order dated March 17, 2020, passed by the additional principal judge (family court), Ghaziabad.
The Ghaziabad court had dismissed the divorce case under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The husband sought divorce from the family court citing cruelty by his wife. The couple had married in 2013.
The present first appeal before the high court was filed under section 19 of the Family Court Act, 1984.
The husband submitted that his wife Neha Chaturvedi refused to consummate their marriage, fought with his parents and once instigated a mob to chase him by calling him a thief.
She also filed a dowry case against him. He submitted that they lived together until July 2014, but did not cohabit thereafter and sought divorce from a family court citing cruelty by the wife. Meanwhile, the wife accused the man of having an illicit relationship with his sister-in-law.
After the family court declined to allow the husband's plea for divorce, he moved an appeal before the high court. The high court said that in order to constitute marital cruelty, the act has to be serious enough to hinder any efforts at reconciliation.
It also noted that the wife had only alleged that her husband was having an affair because he slept in the same room as his sister-in-law and her children. Inferring an illicit relationship on the basis of this aspect alone would not be justified, the court said.
The bench also noted that there were serious disputes between the warring spouses, that their marriage was never consummated and that there was little scope for their reconciliation. Hence, the court proceeded to allow the parties to separate, instead of dissolving the marriage at the present stage.
Consequently, the court granted a decree of judicial separation to the appellant-husband.
With agency inputs