- It is not just the wife who can be a victim of mental harassment; it can be the husband too.
- Unfortunately, there is no specific law that protects the husbands from cruelty or violence like there is for women.
- However, there are a few legal remedies a husband with the help of which can get justice.
- It is important that it is established you are a victim of mental harassment. Gathering any and every evidence is very vital.
- Mental harassment and cruelty is a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act.
- There are many precedent cases where the husband has won the case against mental harassment and cruelty by the wife.
Due to the unending injustice faced by women, society has been molded in a way to think that it is the woman who is always the victim and rarely the man. Due to this, the victimization of men is not given much attention than women. Society needs to accept that men can be victims too and encourage them to speak up about the harassment and cruelty faced by them. Due to gender bias, the legal community is prejudiced too; the lawyers will hardly take up cases where the husband is the victim. Lastly, law enforcement turns a blind eye to a complaint filed by a man, but if it’s a woman, there will be little to no hesitation.It is indeed unfortunate that there is no law protecting men from injustice in matrimonial cases whereas women have laws protecting them from such injustice. There are men who face mental harassment and cruelty from their wives and there’s little they can do about it. Some corrupt wives abuse the protection given to them by law and make their husbands suffer. In such cases, what should a husband do? Keep on reading to get your questions answered!
ROLE OF SOCIETY
Society always tells men to ‘man up’. In our society, men are hardly allowed to express their feelings and emotions. Society hardly considers the harassment and torture faced by men saying ‘usne hi kuchkiyahoga’ he must have done something. When a woman claims to be a victim of domestic violence and harassment, society sympathizes with her, but the same is not done when it is a man who is the victim. Society plays an important role in the topic we are concerned about now, how? Because it is the society that determines the actions of people. A woman claims that her husband has beaten her up for dowry, the society will believe and support her. But if a man claims that he is been harassed by a woman, he will rarely get any support and he will fear that his reputation will be tarnished. So it is of utmost importance that the principle of gender equality is embedded in young minds from an early age.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A VICTIM OD MENTAL HARASSMENT
The Apex Court in the case of Samar Ghosh v/s Jaya Ghosh laid down that there is no definite definition of cruelty. Hence it is important that it is established if you are a victim of mental harassment. You know you are a victim of mental harassment and cruelty if –
i. Your spouse physically assaults you
ii. You are subjected to continuous anger, screaming, and yelling
iii. You are constantly belittled, criticized, and underestimated due to your abilities, looks, etc.
iv. You are falsely accused of a crime you didn’t commit
v. Your spouse is staying away from marital residence without a reasonable explanation
vi. Your spouse is having an affair or adulterous relationship
vii. You are often threatened by your spouse
LEGAL REMEDIES FOR HUSBAND
Mental harassment and cruelty is a ground for divorce. All you need to do is –
- File a complaint before your wife does. This will make the police aware of the harassment you are facing and your wife will not be able to file a false complaint against you. Many corrupt wives misuse the provision under section 498-A of the IPC and falsely prosecute their husbands.
- After that, you can file for a divorce in the concerned family court.
- Record the conversations (voice, chat, anything and everything possible) which will help prove that there was cruelty and keep them protected.
- Gather call recordings and chat screenshots that will prove that you are a victim of mental abuse.
- Gather all the evidence possible that can help establish that your spouse has been treating you with cruelty and harassing you.
- This evidence will help you in court. This evidence will help you as well as your lawyer for making a strong case against your spouse.
If you think you are being framed by your wife for an offense you didn’t commit, you can file a counter case in the court under the following sections:
Indian Penal Code
- Section 120 B
This Section deals with punishment for criminal conspiracy. A husband can file a case against the wife alleging that she is conspiring a crime against him and his family.
- Section 167
If the husband believes that the police officers are helping his wife file a false complaint against him and framing false documents, he can file a suit under this section.
- Section 182
A husband can file a suit under this section if he believes that the wife is giving false information to a public servant to use his legal capacity against him.
- Section 191
If a husband believes that his wife is using false evidence against him, he can file a case asserting that the evidence used against him is false.
- Section 324
This section deals with the punishment for voluntarily causing harm by using dangerous weapons or means. If a wife is being violent and uses a weapon or a dangerous means in anger towards her husband, the husband can file a complaint against his wife under this section. If it leads to the death of the husband, the wife will be held guilty of murder.
- Section 506
Most importantly, a husband can file a suit against his wife claiming that she is using criminal intimidation to harass him and his family. Section 506 of the IPC deals with criminal intimidation.
Code of Criminal Procedure
- Section 227
If a wife lodges a false complaint against her husband, the husband can file a complaint under Section 227 of the CrPC claiming that the complaint filed by his wife is bogus.
Hindu Marriage Act:
- Section 13
Under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, there is a provision for divorce on the grounds of cruelty. A husband can file for divorce under this provision if he is being mistreated and harassed by his wife.
Special Marriage Act
- Section 27
For those marriages which are not governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, the husband can file a divorce petition on the ground of cruelty under section 27 of the Special Marriage Act.
Samar Ghosh v/s Jaya Ghosh
Decided on: 23rd March 2007
Court: Supreme Court of India
Bench: Hon’ble Justices B. N. Agrawal, P. P. Naolekar, Dalveer Bhandari
Petitioner: Samar Ghosh
Respondent: Jaya Ghosh
The appellant and the respondent were married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Both were senior ‘IAS’ officials. The respondent was a divorcee and had a female child from her first marriage and the custody of the said child was given to her. After the second, Sheunilaterally decided not to give birth to a child for two years. One year into the marriage, the appellant suffered prolonged illness and the respondent left him alone and went to Bareilly to her brother. After 2 years appellant was transferred from Calcutta however, due to health conditions, he was transferred back to Calcutta. They started living together again and the husband tried to develop good relations with her. But the appellant had to take his meal from outside as the respondent used to preparefood for her only. There was one incidence where the respondent yelled at the Petitioner in front of his servant and he felt insulted and humiliated. Since then they started living separately.
Issues before the Court
- Whether the respondent was guilty as alleged?
- Whether the petitioner is entitled to a decree of divorce?
- Whether the High Court was justified in reversing the decree of the trial court?
In this landmark case, the Supreme Court opined that there is node finite definition of ‘mental cruelty’ – “No uniform standard has been laid down for determining mental cruelty”. However, the court held that the unilateral decision of refusing to have any children after marriage will amount to cruelty. The Court considered that the parties have been living separately for more than 16 years and there was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The Court also remarked that the Petitioner husband was left to fetch for himself and that this denotes that the parties have no love and emotion for each other. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the High Court erred in reversing the judgment of the trial court as it failed to consider the fact that the parties have been living separately for a long time. The High Court failed to set aside a well-reasoned judgment of the trial court on the grounds of correct analysis of ‘mental cruelty’. The appeal was accordingly disposed and the parties were directed to bear their own costs.
Nisha Rashmi v/s Kamlesh Pandey
Decided on: 16th July 2018
Court: High Court of Jharkhand
Bench: Hon’ble Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh and B. B. Mangalmurti
Respondent: Kamlesh Pandey
The wife stayed for 4-5 days after the marriage. Neither the wife nor her family made any serious attempts to resolve any issue. The evidence on record established humiliation and torture on part of the wife to make the life of the husband miserable. The Husband pleaded that she behaved cruelly towards him and his family and had no regard for sentiments, love, or respect. She also threatened him with dire consequences. The wife was aggrieved by the order of the family court which decreed the dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty.
The issues before the Court
- Whether the suit was maintainable?
- Whether the husband has got a valid cause for action against the suit?
- Whether the marriage between the parties is fit to be dissolved on the grounds of cruelty?
- What other reliefs can the husband get?
After hearing the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondent, the High Court held that the entire sequence of the events demonstrates that there was neglect and indifference on the part of the wife. It observed that the Family Court had every reason to believe that the case was filed to embarrass and harass the husband and his family. The Court took into consideration all the evidence given by the husband to show that he had made attempts to resolve the issue on his part which failed due to lack of favorable response from their side. The Hon’ble Court took into consideration all the findings of the family court and held that there was mental harassment on the part of the wife and was of the opinion that the verdict of the family court doesn’t suffer from any perversity in the appreciation of evidence. The Court held the appeal devoid of merit and it was dismissed accordingly.
Anita Rani v/s Suresh Kumar
Decided on: 16th July 2015
Court: High Court of Punjab and Haryana
Bench: Hon’ble Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice SnehPrashar
Appellant: Dr. Anita Rani
Respondent: Dr. Suresh Kumar
Both the parties were dental surgeons and got married in the year 1999. After marriage, the wife used to pressure the husband to live away from the matrimonial house. She left the house on numerous occasions and was brought back. The wife was also disrespectful towards the institution of marriage. The wife filed false criminal complaints, got her husband arrested, neglected the household, ill-treated her husband, and broke her mangalsutra, and threw it on the ground during a quarrel. She also wrote letters to her husband’s employer asking them to take action against him. Aggrieved by thejudgment passed by the Additional District Judge, Rohtak, whereby the petition filed by the respondent-husband under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce was allowed, the wife approached High Court.
The issue before the Court
- Whether the marriage between the parties was liable to be dissolved on the ground of cruelty pleaded in the petition?
After perusing all the evidence submitted before it, the Hon’ble Court held that there was cruelty on part of the wife and the husband had valid apprehension that it was not safe to live with his wife. The Court held that showing disrespect towards the husband and his family and ill-treating them amounted to cruelty. The Court remarked that the counsel for the appellant-wife failed to demonstrate any error in the findings of the subordinate court which may warrant interference by this court. It was held that the appeal was devoid of any merit and was accordingly dismissed without costs.
The Courts in India have kept a just approach while dealing with cases where the husband was a victim. Such instances help restore the faith of the husbands who fall victim to the wife’s cruelty. Cases like Anil Karande v/s MangalKarande, Ranga Rao v/s Vijayalakshmi, Ruchita Srivastava v/s VivekSwaroop, Debabrata Chakraborty v/s Rina Chakraborty, Geeta v/s Raghuveer Singh, Mangesh Balkrushna Bhoir v/s Leena Mangesh Bhoir, NitinDhinwar v/s Ropali Dhinwar, Kajol Roy v/s Prasanta Roy,P. Nirmala v/s K.Muruguselvamare a proof that in cases of mental harassment of husband, there’s a hope that justice is delivered to the genuine victim. If you are looking for case laws to back up your case, these above cases will definitely help you.
The injustice faced by women is so prominent that the society fails to understand that there are men who too are a victim of mental harassment and cruelty. What we need to understand is that it’s not always the woman who is the victim. The Constitution of India guarantees equal protection before the law to everyone irrespective of their gender, caste, creed, religion. However, only women have special laws protecting them from domestic violence and harassment. What about men? Women who abuse the laws protecting them by using them to harass their husbands, need to understand that just because they are ‘women’ doesn’t mean that they will be protected by the law.
It cannot be considered wrong to say that many men must have refrained from approaching the court and law enforcement just because they are afraid of what society might say. We as a society need to change and make men feel comfortable to speak up about the injustice they face just like we encourage women. Abuse is abuse and no one has to tolerate such a thing. We require a law that guarantees protection to both men and women, as equals, no one is superior and no one is inferior – equals. The mentality of ‘mardkodard naahI hota’ has to stop!