Landmark Divorce Set-Aside: Husband’s Neglect to Allege Mental Cruelty on Baseless Accusations

New Delhi, August 8th, 2023 – In a recent divorce ruling favoring the wife, the ruling has highlighted the intricacies of divorce law as the Hon’ble Delhi High Court set a precedent by setting aside a divorce judgment on the grounds of the husband’s failure to plead mental cruelty emanating from unfounded accusations.

This landmark case emphasizes the importance of thoroughness in pleading and highlights how crucial it is for petitioners to substantiate their claims with clear evidence. This article delves into the case details, the court’s reasoning, and the broader implications of this decision.

Husband's case

  • The Husband filed for divorce under Section 13 (1)(i-a) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, due to ongoing disputes from the beginning of the marriage.
  • He claimed his wife’s behavior was rough and that she felt the marriage was forced upon her by her parents.
  • The wife left the husband’s company in 1989 but continued living in the same house.
  • She filed false cases against him, including one reported to the Crime Against Women Cell, which was later withdrawn.
  • She sought maintenance and filed a civil suit for probate, indicating a focus on obtaining the husband’s house.
  • The husband alleged his wife was ill-natured, used foul language, and unnecessarily involved the police due to her brother’s position.
  • The husband, a government servant, suffered mentally, physically, and financially due to her cruel behavior.

Wife's Response

  • The wife resisted the petition, alleging her husband suppressed facts and deserted her.
  • She denied all husband’s claims, stating they had a cordial relationship until he developed an affair in August 1991.
  • She accused her husband of having an illicit relationship with Sunita and leaving their residence.
  • She tried to reconcile for the children’s sake, but he didn’t respond and even attempted to harm her with kerosene oil.
  • An FIR was registered, but it was later compromised.
  • She argued the petition lacked merit and should be dismissed with costs.

Family Court Decision: Divorce granted to Husband

  • The family court framed issues regarding cruelty and relief in the divorce case.
  • Husband alleged cruelty, but the court found instances insufficient to dissolve the marriage.
  • Despite finding allegations insufficient, the court granted divorce due to unproven character-assassination and mental cruelty by the wife.
  • Wife accused husband of illicit relationship and attempted murder, which the court found lacking evidence.
  • The court held that such unproven allegations beyond reasonable limits constituted mental cruelty.
  • No evidence regarding registration of any FIR or illicit relationship was presented by the wife.
  • Divorce was granted in favor of the husband due to unproven allegations causing mental cruelty.
Image of a lawyer and a client, preparing case pleadings. Image overlay says "Importance of Pleadings". Latest Divorce Judgment in Favor of Wife 2023.

Wife's Appeal in High Court

  • Appellant’s counsel argues husband failed to prove allegations of cruelty, leading to an error in the court’s decision to grant divorce.
  • Counsel asserts that allegations of illicit relationship and attempted murder were true and supported by wife’s and daughter’s testimonies.
  • It’s claimed that there’s no evidence suggesting these allegations were false or motivated.
  • The husband never labeled these allegations as causing mental cruelty and didn’t amend the petition accordingly.
  • Counsel believes court shouldn’t have presumed mental cruelty without a corresponding amendment or plea from the husband.

Husband's Response in High Court

The husband refuted the wife’s claims and asserted that she made serious allegations to conceal her own actions. He argued that the family court was right to allow the divorce as unproven serious allegations were sufficient to constitute mental cruelty.

Hon'ble Delhi high Court's Decision

  • Making false, scandalous, and baseless allegations can amount to cruelty. However, unproven charges in a written statement don’t necessarily imply they are false.
  • Burden of proving false charges lies on the petitioner; it can’t be shifted to the respondent.
  • The husband sought divorce on specific instances of cruelty he couldn’t prove.
  • The husband failed to mention mental trauma from allegations in his affidavit or during cross-examination.
  • Court finds that the family court shouldn’t have assumed mental trauma without proper evidence.
  • The court sets aside the divorce judgment and dismisses the petition.


Hon’ble Delhi High Court’s decision to set aside the divorce judgment serves as a reminder to all litigants of the significance of well-crafted pleadings and substantial evidence. In this case, the husband’s failure to specifically plead mental cruelty arising from false accusations ultimately led to the dismissal of his divorce petition. This ruling emphasizes the need for petitioners to exercise due diligence in presenting their case and underlines the court’s commitment to fair and thorough legal proceedings.

For the complete judgment and detailed insights, you can refer to the original case document with Case No. MAT. APP. (F.C.) 38/2023, available on the Delhi High Court’s official website. This downloaded judgment can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference in ongoing cases as well.

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