India and its matrimonial laws are archaic and one may even go to the extent of calling them inhuman, especially towards the male gender. The Punjab and Haryana high court recently dismissed a plea of a man who wanted to divorce his wife on grounds of cruelty.
Despite parties living separately since nearly 12-years, the Punjab and Haryana high court held that ‘trivial’ issues cannot be considered cruelty.
The petitioner got married in May 2005 as per Hindu rites and ceremonies and had a son with his wife in November 2007. However, due to the difference of opinion and other issues, the couple has been living separately since November 2009.
The man’s plea seeking dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty was turned down by a family court in Hisar. Aggrieved by the family court’s order, the man had approached the high court.
Allegations by Husband
The petitioner argued that the wife used to humiliate him by refusing to open the door of the house late in the night and kept him waiting outside till morning. He contended that his wife used to ill-treat and humiliate him and other members of his family in presence of his relatives, friends and colleagues. In his appeal, the husband said,
She used to level wild allegations against me that I was a womaniser and a drunkard and thus caused mental torture to me.
The man contended that in the divorce petition, his wife took the defence that he is a drunkard and cruel and at the same time she showed her willingness to live with him in her petition for restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act. He contended that his wife cannot blow hot and cold at the same time.
Marriage Broken Down Irretrievably
The man’s counsel argued that the couple was living separately for the last about 12-years and there was no chance of their reconciliation.
The counsel representing the petitioner’s wife, however, argued that she was compelled to leave the matrimonial home in November 2009 and just within the next two months, the appellant filed a divorce petition, without making any effort for an amicable settlement of the dispute. She argued that the appellant never sought custody of his son who is residing with her for the last 12-years. That the aforesaid conduct of the man shows that he is interested in getting rid of her by levelling false allegations against her.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
A division bench, comprising Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Karamjit Singh disposed of the husband’s appeal challenging the order dated December 24, 2013, whereby his divorce petition against his wife on the ground of cruelty and desertion under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act was dismissed.
Dismissing the husband’s plea who wanted to divorce his wife on grounds of cruelty by alleging that he had to sleep outside his house as she did not open the door on his return from office late, the Punjab and Haryana high court held that ‘trivial‘ issues cannot be considered cruelty.
The high court was also of the view that the “ill-conduct must be persistent for a fairly lengthy period.” The division bench said,
Instances of cruelty are to be established with reference to date, time, place and manner in which the occurrence took place. We are of the view that general allegations of cruelty without specifying any date or month of any such incident are not of any help to the appellant to prove his case.
After hearing both the parties, the high court dismissed the man’s plea observing that the mere bald statement of the appellant is not sufficient to prove the ground of cruelty.
Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage Grounds
On the man’s contention that the decree of divorce may be granted on the ground that their marriage had broken down irretrievably, the bench referred to a Supreme Court holding that irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.
As irretrievable breakdown of marriage has not been given legal backing as a ground for granting divorce by amending the law despite repeated recommendations of law commission starting from 1978, the Supreme Court has become the last resort for aggrieved spouses to get the marriage dissolved and the court has over the years invoked its special power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant divorce in cases where marriages have broken beyond repair.
Unfortunately, by the time a contested divorce reaches the top court, couples would have spent at least 15-20 years in lower and high courts. A divorce decree after almost two decades is merely erasing the legal stamp of a life long trap, without adding much value for either spouses to rebuild their lives again.
It is largely the men who suffer the ego battles of disgruntled women, who are unable to fathom why their husbands filed for divorce. Sadly, it is impossible to prove domestic violence or abuse that happens to a man within four corners of his home, and especially events that have happened years ago.
Its time that the government of the day sincerely deliberates on these meaningless cases that have flooded courts, which are dragged by women only to ‘teach lesson’ to husbands – husbands who exercise their legal right to divorce (read: stepping out of abusive marriage).
ALSO READ –
Supreme Court Grants Divorce To Husband On Grounds Of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage After 22-Yrs
SC Dissolves Two-Month Marriage After 16-Yrs | Invokes Irretrievable Breakdown As Ground For Divorce
Lower Court Grants Divorce To Husband After 19-Years For 20-Day Marriage | Wife Challenges Order In High Court
READ JUDGEMENT | Supreme Court Exercises Article 142 To Grant Divorce To Husband; Father To Pay Maintenance To Son Till Adulthood
ALSO WATCH –
Irretrievable Breakdown in Marriage As Grounds for Divorce | Interview With SC Lawyer Prateek Som
Join our Facebook Group or follow us on social media by clicking on the icons below
Blogging about Equal Rights for Men or writing about Gender Biased Laws is often looked upon as controversial, as many 'perceive' it Anti-Women. Due to this grey area - where we demand Equality in the true sense for all genders - most brands distance themselves from advertising on a portal like ours.
We, therefore, look forward to your support as donors who understand our work and are willing to partner in this endeavour to spread this cause. Do support our work to counter one sided gender biased narratives in the media.
To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer, click here.