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Supreme Court Sustains Divorce Decree Due To Spousal Cruelty In Mayadevi Vs. Jagdish Prasad

Charchit Pathak ,
  03 June 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Appeal (civil) 877 of 2007

Case title:

Smt. Mayadevi vs Jagdish Prasad

Date of Order:

21/02/2007

Bench:

Hon’ble Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat & Justice Mr. Dalveer Bhandari

Parties:

Petitioner: Smt. Mayadevi

Respondent: Jagdish Prasad

SUBJECT

The Supreme Court in this case upheld the judgements passed by the learned trial Court and Rajasthan High court and rejected the petition filed by the petitioner on the basis of the the criminal conviction and cruelty, which was not the basis for the divorce judgement since the trial court had made it plain that it did not consider the conviction while the appeal was underway.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

Indian Penal Code, 1860

  • Section 302: It deals with the offence of murder. It specifies that whomever commits a murder and knowingly causes the death of another person shall be punished with the death sentence or life in prison and shall also be obliged to pay a fine.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

  • Section 10: This section addresses the divorce grounds. A petition for divorce may be submitted by either spouse on a number of reasons, such as cruelty, adultery, desertion, conversion to a different faith, unsoundness of mind, etc. It offers the rationale for filing for a Hindu marriage's dissolution in court.
  • Section 28: The matrimonial appeals process is covered in this section. Anyone who feels wronged by a judgement or order rendered by a family court or district court under the Act has a certain amount of time to file an appeal with the High Court. It lays forth the guidelines for appealing and requesting a review of marriage dispute-related judgements and decisions.

BRIEF FACTS

  •  The respondent in this case filed an application for divorce on the grounds of the cruelty against by the appellant. 
  • The respondent alleged that the petitioner frequently demanded money, quarrelled over non-payment of money, threatened to falsely implicate him in a dowry case, and harm their children.
  • Furthermore, it was claimed that the petitioner threatened to kill the children and accuse the respondent and his family while stealing a sizeable sum of money from the respondent.
  • The petitioner left her parents house with three children on a specific occasion, and she never came back. Their clothes and slippers were discovered close to a well, and the three kids' bodies were pulled from the well.
  • The trial court awarded the divorce order after concluding that the claims of cruelty were true. The Rajasthan High Court affirmed the lower court's ruling when the appellant filed an appeal. After carefully examining the acts of cruelty, the High Court came to the conclusion that they qualified as grounds for divorce.

ISSUES RAISED

  • Whether the conduct of the petitioner amounted to cruelty under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955?
  • Whether the pending appeal against the patitoner's conviction should have been considered before granting the divorce?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER

  • The Learned Counsel on the behalf of the petitioner argued that it was the respondent and his family members who were torturing her. She alleges that she had not made any grievances with the police due to threats from the respondent. The Learned Counsel also mentioned that the police did not properly investigate the matter and gave a final report exonerating the respondent.
  • It was further argued that, the claimed conviction against the petitioner, which is presently being appealed, served as the basis for the divorce judgement. As a result, the High Court was incorrect to rule on the case.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The Learned Counsel on the behalf of the respondent contends that the cases cited by the trial Court and considered by the High Court unmistakably show a case for dowry, supporting the grounds for divorce based on cruelty.
  • The Learned Counsel also provided proof and justifications to back up the charge of cruelty, emphasizing on the petitioner's claimed actions, such as repeated requests for cash, threats, and physical abuse of the kids.
  • It was also argued that the behaviour in question fulfils the definition of cruelty since it gave rise to a plausible fear that living with the petitioner would be detrimental or damaging.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS

  • The trial court's examples of cruelty were taken into account by the appellate court, which came to the conclusion that the husband had experienced both mental and physical torture. It was decided that the criminal conviction was not the basis for the divorce judgement since the trial court had made it plain that it did not consider the conviction while the appeal was underway.
  • Therefore, the court dismissed the petition and upholds the divorce judgement.

CONCLUSION

The Supreme Court of India affirmed the divorce decree issued to the husband on grounds of cruelty in the case of Smt. Mayadevi v. Jagdish Prasad. In addition to making repeated requests for money, threatening to falsely accuse him in a dowry case, and attempting to harm his children, the petitioner, Mayadevi, was charged with treating her husband with physical and emotional abuse. Cruelty, according to the court, is defined as behaviour that endangers one's life, limb, or mental health or that may reasonably be expected to do so. It was noted that cruelty in a marriage can be either physical or mental, and that it can even take the form of a persistent pattern of behaviour that causes mental suffering. The Court determined after considering the specific allegations of cruelty made in the case

 
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