The Delhi High Court in its recent order stated that a false allegation of impotency against a spouse is termed as ‘cruelty’ which can result in adversely affecting the person mentally. The high court was hearing a matter where a husband had applied for dissolution of his marriage with the woman who made vague and false allegations against him.
The brief background of the case is that the marriage between the parties was solemnised on 24th June, 2012 at Delhi as per the Hindu rites and ceremonies. At the time of solemnisation of the marriage, the Respondent husband’s marital status was that of a divorcee and Appellant wife was a bachelorette. After the marriage parties lived together in Singapore from 1st July, 2012 till 26th August, 2012. The marriage was also registered in Delhi on 31st August, 2012.
The Respondent initially preferred a petition seeking a decree of nullity of marriage under Section 12(1)(a) and (c) of the HMA, on two grounds, that the marriage could not be consummated due to Appellant’s impotency and that his consent was obtained by concealing several material facts related to the psychological disposition of the Appellant, knowing which, he would not have consented for the marriage.
The husband in his plea had requested to treat his marriage and null and void, on grounds of false allegations of impotency levelled by his wife.
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The woman on the other hand argued that the man was suffering from impotency (erectile dysfunction) which was the real cause for non-consummation of marriage.
Trial Court Observation
While the woman kept levelling charges against her husband, the trial court said that her allegation of impotency was rejected on grounds of the testimony by an expert witness. The expert after physically examining the man, found that he was normal.
High Court Observation
A bench of Justices Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula made strong statements in the case calling out the woman who made false allegations on her husband without any ground. Observing the same, the court mentioned,
It was not a one-off casual retaliatory remark. The stand in the written statement was sustained all throughout the trial, till the stage of final decision.
The bench further said,
The imputation and allegation made by the (wife) appellant have been repeatedly reinforced during the trial. Significant effort was made to establish that the respondent was indeed impotent and incapable of sexual intercourse.
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The court found merit in the arguments of Advocate Prabhjit Jauhar, who represented the husband. Speaking about the allegations levelled by wife, the court said that they were “grave and serious” and also the same had the power to impact a man’s self-image and also badly affect his mental health amounting to cruelty.
The bench also observed,
Having regard to the law on the subject, we find no infirmity in the findings and observations of the trial court that the allegation of the wife, with respect to impotency, clearly falls within the concept of cruelty as defined under law.
The court also noted that it was expected to give its verdict on the allegations brought in the public domain. The allegations in the written submission “have to be given due to sanctity and treated with seriousness.”
Irretrievable Breakdown Of Marriage
The high court has rightly upheld dissolution of the dead marriage, where parties have separated for more than eight years. The court noted:
Lastly, we also do not find any infirmity in the approach of the Learned Trial Court by placing reliance upon the judgment in Samar Ghosh (supra), on the aspect of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Undisputedly, the Appellant and the Respondent have been separated for more than eight years and since the separation has continued for a sufficient length of time, it can be presumed that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The Trial Court has noted that although irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not a ground for divorce in the statute, however the courts have been taking this aspect into consideration. There has been a prolonged and continuous separation, and the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. Therefore, refusing to severe the matrimonial ties would cause further mental cruelty to the Respondent.
In view of the totality of the circumstances, evident from the nature of allegations and counter allegations made by the parties and the evidence that has come on record, the conclusion drawn by the Trial Court cannot be faulted with.
Subsequently high court has granted divorce to the man.
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