Delhi High Court Allows Wife’s Appeal against Divorce Granted to Husband

In a recent judgment delivered by the Delhi High Court on October 30, 2023, the court allowed wife’s appeal against divorce granted to the husband by the family court. In this lengthy and intricate divorce case, the court meticulously analyzed the evidence and deliberated on various aspects of cruelty and desertion that were claimed by both parties. This article provides an in-depth look at the court’s judgment and the key factors considered.

Background of the Case

The case involves a matrimonial dispute between Husband and Wife. The parties were married on April 20, 1996, as per Hindu rites and customs, and had a daughter together, born on February 6, 1998. However, their marriage was marred by conflicts and disputes, leading to Husband filing for divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. He alleged that his wife had subjected him to cruelty and had deserted him.

Husband's Allegations

The husband made several allegations against his wife. He claimed that she had begun creating problems within months of their marriage. She frequently demanded that her mother-in-law be removed from their shared residence. She also visited her parental home without notice or a valid reason. He stated that she was focused on running a coaching center, which she considered her own and did not want to live with her mother-in-law. She took her jewelry and clothing in September 1998 and insisted that they would only live together if Husband moved to a rented accommodation near her parental home and abandoned his mother.

He also mentioned that his wife had left their home multiple times due to her lust for money, status, personal ego, and minor arguments with her mother-in-law. He had even filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act in July 1999 to seek the restitution of conjugal rights. However, this petition was withdrawn as Wife and her father assured him that there would be no further issues. He tried living in a rented flat in Rohini, but Wife refused to have any sexual relations with him. He further claimed that she even invited her younger brother to sleep in their room to prevent any intimacy. Furthermore, he detailed two incidents in April 2001 where she threatened him with violence.

Wife's Response

The wife vehemently denied the allegations made by her husband. She stated that she was always willing to be with her husband and had never abandoned him. She alleged that her husband and her family had committed several acts of cruelty, making her husband unfit to seek divorce. She denied all claims of wanting a separate accommodation and desertion. She insisted that her husband had put her through cruel and inhumane treatment. She also mentioned that her husband had previously agreed to her safety, which was the reason for the withdrawal of her complaint.

Family Court's Decision

The Family Court examined the evidence presented by both parties to determine whether cruelty and desertion were valid grounds for divorce and granted divorce to the husband on the ground of cruelty. the court highlighted below mentioned instances of cruelty:

  1. Wife’s alleged disinterest in living in the matrimonial home.
  2. Her focus on running a coaching center maintained by her parental family.
  3. Asking husband to live separately from his aged mother-in-law.
  4. Denial of physical relations, from April 2000 to April 2001, including calling her younger brother to sleep in the room to avoid intimacy.
  5. Filing a false and frivolous case under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code against husband and his family members.
Divorce Appeal in High Court: Delhi High Court allows Wife’s Appeal against Divorce Granted to Husband by Family Court.

High Court's Verdict on Cruelty Allegations

The court considered the above mentioned instances but found that they were insufficient to establish cruelty. Husband’s claims of cruelty, such as Wife’s alleged interference with their sexual relations, were not substantiated with concrete evidence. The court also noted that the husband’s cross-examination of the wife did not explore this aspect thoroughly.

It was pointed out that the withdrawal of the petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, where Husband assured Wife of her safety, raised doubts about the husband’s claims of cruelty. Additionally, the court highlighted that the allegations regarding denial of sex were vague and unsubstantiated.

The False Criminal Case

Husband argued that Wife’s filing of a false and malicious FIR amounted to cruelty. He emphasized that he and his family members were acquitted in the case, which demonstrated that the complaint was false.

Hon’ble Delhi High court examined this aspect closely and pointed out that Wife did not testify in the criminal case, which resulted in her husband’s acquittal. The court concluded that the acquittal was due to technical reasons, and the incomplete evidence should not be considered as proof of the complaint being false.

Delhi High Court's Final Verdict

In light of the extensive examination of the evidence, the Delhi High Court concluded that the evidence presented by the husband did not sufficiently demonstrate the cruelty claimed. The court noted that their marital issues appeared to be a result of the erosion of trust and affection but did not rise to the level of cruelty as defined by law.


The Delhi High Court’s judgment in MAT.APP.(F.C.) 264/2019 offers valuable insights into how Indian courts evaluate claims of cruelty and desertion in matrimonial disputes. The case highlights the importance of concrete evidence and thorough cross-examination to substantiate claims of cruelty. It also underscores the technical nature of criminal case acquittals, emphasizing that they do not automatically prove the allegations to be false.

Download Judgment

Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled MAT.APP.(F.C.) 264/2019. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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