Spouse leveling false accusations against the other spouse is a ground for divorce

Apex Court: Conduct of a spouse leveling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty and ground for divorce.

If it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse levelilng false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty.

(A) Dated: 24th April, 2017: SUPREME COURT OF INDIA:

The Supreme Court indicted the married woman for making false allegations against her husband.

Holding the wife guilty of cruelty on her husband by filing false cases against him, the Supreme Court, granted the husband, divorce.

The bench accepted the man’s contention that the wife had made sham accusations against him following their separation in 1999 and this amounted to cruelty under the Hindu Marriage Act and was a ground for divorce.

The petition for divorce filed by the husband under Section 13 of the Act is decreed and the marriage of the parties solemnized on April 13, 1989 is dissolved by a decree of divorce.  

(B) The Apex Court explained in the judgment that:

If it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse levelling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty.

It is more than obvious that the allegations levelled by the wife are false. It may be true that these allegations were leveled after the divorce petition had been filed and the wife may have been in an agitated state of mind. However, that did not give her a right to make defamatory statements against the husband.

Cruelty can never be defined "with exactitude" and what it is, will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

It is apparent that the wife made reckless, defamatory and false accusations against her husband, his family members and colleagues, which would definitely have the effect of lowering his reputation in the eyes of his peers.

Mere filing of complaints is not cruelty, if there are justifiable reasons to file the complaints. Merely because no action is taken on the complaint or after trial the accused is acquitted may not be a ground to treat such accusations of the wife as cruelty within the meaning of the Hindu Marriage Act.

However, if it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse leveling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty.

(C) After the police filed its cancellation report, the wife kept silent and after 11 years she filed a protest petition.

After conducting investigation, the police found that not only the complaint was false but also the injuries were self-inflicted by the wife. The wife was booked for giving false information and prosecution was launched.

The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Deepak Gupta, also set aside the orders of Rajasthan High Court and trial court which had held that criminal case filed by wife was not "false and malafide".

(D) Dated: 01st March, 2013.

33. As regard the filing of false criminal cases against the appellant-husband by respondent-wife under sec.498A IPC, in which case Final Report was submitted, it is on record that the appellant had filed a case under secs.107, 116 CrPC against his wife, as per Ex.80 and another case was filed by Raja Sahu, domestic servant of husband vide Ex.81.

In this context, a perusal of Ex.84, which is injury report of wife Kavita, shows that she suffered 9 injuries on her person by sharp-edged weapon. In the above situation, we cannot draw an inference that the criminal complaint filed by the respondent-wife was false and out of malafide and this does not amount to mental cruelty.

34. Having perused the evidence of AW1 Raj Talreja, NAW1 Smt Kavita Talreja and other witnesses and the material on the record as also findings recorded by the learned Jduge, Family Court; we find no reason to interfere with the finding on the issue of cruelty.

35. As regard allegation of desertion, it is not proved that the respondent-wife is living separately from her matrimonial home without any just and proper cause and it is apparent from undisputed submission by respondent-wife Kavita and their son NAW4 Sahil, who is a competent witness that she is still living in the house of appellant- husband with their son. It can also not be said, from the evidence adduced by the parties, that the wife had by her behaviour created such a situation that the husband left the house. Her husband often visits their house and she fulfills her marital obligations.

36. As regard contention on behalf of appellant-husband regarding irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, this cannot be a ground for grant of decree of divorce in absence of any statutory recognition as ground of divorce under sec.13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. 

37. Therefore, in view of above law laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court, on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, decree of divorce cannot be granted. Moreover, in the present case also, the respondent-wife stated that she is still committed to save the marriage and wants to live with the appellant-husband by forgetting all that happened.

38. In the light of above discussion, we are in agreement with the conclusion arrived at by the learned Family Court and are unable to accept claim of the appellant-husband.

39. In the conclusion, we find this appeal of the appellant-husband Raj Talreja to be devoid of any merit and hence, the same is hereby dismissed.

Rajasthan High Court - Jodhpur
Raj Talreja vs Smt. Kavita Talreja on 1 March, 2013
D.B. CIVIL MISC. APPEAL No.1432 OF 2004
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT JODHPUR

E. The husband claimed the wife had lodged false cases against him alleging that she was beaten up by him and his family members for not fulfilling the demand of dowry.

He claimed that she had also alleged in various media reports that she was kept like an orphan and twice attempts were made to set her on fire and she also wrote to police, State Women Commission, Chief Justice of High Court and Chief Minister of the state.

After the complaints were referred to the police, on investigation, the allegations were found to be totally false.

The bench said that the wife later filed another complaint alleging that her husband along with some others had trespassed into her house and assaulted her.

It noted that the findings of the police were never challenged till a FIR cancellation report was filed by it and 11 years the wife filed a protest petition against the report.

After conducting investigation, the police found that not only the complaint was false but also the injuries were self-inflicted by the wife. The wife was booked for giving false information and prosecution was launched.

(F) Dated: 24th April, 2017.

The Apex Court  set aside the orders of Rajasthan High Court and trial court which had held that criminal case filed by wife was not "false and malafide".

The Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Deepak Gupta, said that: "We are unable to agree with this finding of the High Court and the court below. Both the courts below relied upon the statement of the wife that her husband had often visited her house and she fulfilled her marital obligations. These observations are not based on any reliable or cogent evidence on record,"

The court noted that wife resided with her son and daughter-in-law at the house of her mother in law while her husband resided along with his parents separately.

12. Though we have held that the acts of the wife in filing false complaints against the husband amounts to cruelty, we are, however, not oblivious to the requirements of the wife to have a decent house where she can live. Her son and daughter-in-law may not continue to live with her forever.

Therefore, some permanent arrangement has to be made for her alimony and residence. Keeping in view the status of the parties, we direct that the husband shall pay to the wife a sum of Rs.50,00,000/- (Rupees Fifty Lakhs only) as one time permanent alimony and she will not claim any further amount at any later stage. This amount be paid within three months from today. We further direct that the wife shall continue to live in the house which belongs to the mother of the husband till the husband provides her a flat of similar size in a similar locality. For this purpose, the husband is directed to ensure that a flat of the value up to Rs.1,00,00,000/- (Rupees One Crore Only) be transferred in the name of his wife and till it is provided, she shall continue to live in the house in which she is residing at present.

13. The appeal is accordingly allowed. The judgment and order dated 01.03.2013, passed by the High Court in D.B. Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No.1432 of 2004 and the judgment and decree dated 05.08.2004, passed by the Family Court, Udaipur in Civil Case No. 56 of 2000 are set aside. The petition for divorce filed by the husband under Section 13 of the Act is decreed and the marriage of the parties solemnized on 13.04.1989 is dissolved by a decree of divorce. The wife shall be entitled to permanent alimony of Rs. 50,00,000/- (Rupees Fifty Lakhs Only) and a residential flat of the value of up to Rs.1,00,00,000/- (Rupees One Crore Only), as directed hereinabove. Pending application(s), if any, stand(s) disposed of.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10719 OF 2013
Raj Talreja Versus Kavita Talreja

…………………………………..J.
(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)

…………………………………..J.
(DEEPAK GUPTA)

New Delhi
April 24, 2017

(G)This judgment from Apex Court can set new precedents in cases for: be it wife or be it husband.

 

Kumar Doab 
on 27 April 2017
Published in Family Law
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