DHC Grants Divorce on Cruelty Citing Prolonged Legal Battles and Unilateral Withdrawal

New Delhi, December 20, 2023 – In a recent judgment delivered on December 20, 2023, the High Court of Delhi granted a divorce to a couple, citing grounds of cruelty. The case, filed under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, involved a marriage that lasted only 13 months but was followed by over a decade of civil and criminal litigation.

Background of the Case

The appellant-wife filed the appeal against the judgment of the Family Court, which had allowed the divorce petition filed by her husband. The judgment, dated March 20, 2017, was based on claims of cruelty by the husband, who asserted that the appellant’s conduct had made it impossible for them to continue their marital life.

Allegations and Counterclaims

The respondent/husband alleged that the appellant/wife had created disturbances in the family, berated him for unavoidable incidents like canceled honeymoon plans, and even threatened to conceive a child from another person. The legal battles escalated when false criminal cases were filed against the husband and his family members, leading to prolonged court proceedings.

In her defense, the appellant/wife denied the allegations, claiming they were concocted to evade criminal charges. She argued that the husband had deserted her, and the legal battles were a result of his actions.

Court's Observations

A Judge Hammer with two wedding rings. Text overlay says "Divorce on Cruelty"

The High Court, in its detailed judgment, examined various incidents and testimonies. It noted that the prolonged legal battles, especially the false criminal complaints, constituted mental cruelty. The court emphasized that the appellant’s unilateral withdrawal from a previously agreed-upon divorce by mutual consent added to the cruelty faced by the husband

Legal Precedents and Conclusion

Referring to legal precedents, the court held that cruelty in matrimonial cases includes not only physical harm but also acts that cause mental pain and suffering, making it impossible for the parties to live together. The judgment cited instances where false allegations and prolonged legal battles were deemed as cruelty.

In conclusion, the High Court upheld the Family Court’s decision, stating that the appellant’s conduct, including false criminal complaints and withdrawal from mutual consent, amounted to cruelty. The appeal was dismissed, and the court found no merit in challenging the divorce granted to the respondent/husband.

Download Judgment

Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled MAT.APP.(F.C.) 107/2017. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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