The Delhi High Court has said filing of criminal cases by the wife would not constitute "mental cruelty" and declined to grant divorce to a man on the ground that his wife had filed such cases to harass him and his family members following a matrimonial dispute.
Justice Kailash Gambhir allowed an appeal filed by a woman challenging the trial court's order granting divorce on her husband's plea that he and his family members were facing criminal cases lodged by his wife, which constituted harassment and cruelty.
Setting aside the trial court's findings, Justice Gambhir said "this court does not find any merit in the reasoning given by the learned trial court that since there were more criminal cases filed by the appellant(wife), therefore, filing of such criminal cases would constitute cruelty to the respondent (husband)".
"As per the settled position of law, looking into the background of the aforementioned criminal cases filed by the wife, it is difficult to accept the argument of the counsel for the husband that the same were filed by the wife just with a view to harassing her husband and the same were without any basis", the court said while referring to the Supreme Court judgements.
The court accepted the wife's arguments that the circumstances, including an alleged assault of her and also an attempt by the accused persons to kill her, forced her to register criminal cases against the husband and his family members.
"The conduct should be something much more than the ordinary wear and tear of married life and should touch a certain pitch of severity. What may be cruelty in one case may not be cruelty in the other case and each case has to be seen from the prism of its own peculiar fact and situation," the court said.
The court has rejected the husband's submission that his wife started harassing him on one pretext or the other like demand for a separate residence, getting her pregnancy aborted without the consent of the respondent, alleging that her life has been ruined by marrying a simple clerk and other such imputations.
According to the wife's appeal, their marriage was celebrated as per the Hindu rites and customs in April 1994.
After a few years, their relationship turned sour, following which her husband had moved a petition before the trial court seeking divorce and the court had in May, 2009, granted him the same.