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What is the requisites to prove 'cruelty' to invoke Section 13(1)(i-a) of Hindu Marriage Act,1955

Parul Dhingra ,
  10 September 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal & gave ex-parte order in absence of respondent. It set aside the decree of judicial separation as no case can be made for mental cruelty on the basis of mere domestic quarrels.
Citation :
Appellant : Yashoda Bai Respondent : Krishnamoorthy Bhimappa Katavka Citation : AIR 1992 Kar 368

Bench:

Justice M.P. Chandrakantaraj Urs and Justice R. Ramakrishna

Issue:

What is the requisites to prove ‘cruelty’ to invoke Section 13(1)(i-a) of Hindu Marriage Act,1955?

Facts:

  • · The respondent (husband) married the appellant in 1960. They lived happily & had four children.
  • · However, the wife had heated arguments with husband’s mother. He was unable to get a separate residence so his wife left him.
  • · Despite several attempts by the husband, the wife refused to go back with him. Legal notice was served to join her husband which was also not followed by her.
  • · The husband filed a divorce petition in 1990 under Sec 13(1)(i-a & i-b) of HMA.
  • · The wife rejected all the allegations & blamed his family who ill- treated her.
  • · The court didn’t grant divorce but gave an order for judicial separation on grounds of mental cruelty
  • · The appellant filed an appeal in HC against the order of judicial separation.

Appellant's contentions:

It was contended that no cruelty has been caused to the husband to grant the order of judicial separation.

Respondent's contentions:

Despite notices being served by the court, the respondent didn’t appear for the hearing.

Judgement:

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal & gave ex-parte order in absence of respondent. It set aside the decree of judicial separation as no case can be made for mental cruelty on the basis of mere domestic quarrels.

“In a case, in which, a series of acts have been alleged to amount to cruelty, physical or mental, the cruelty so alleged must be such as to cause mental anguish that would affect the health of the person so alleging them and then alone would it constitute a threat to his person and life. The preponderance of Decisions support the view that cruelty physical or mental must constitute threat of danger to the person or life of the person on whom cruelty is practiced. If that element of threat to the life or person is absent, it cannot be the cruelty much less mental cruelty.”

-Para 7 (Yashoda Bai v. Krishnamoorthy Bhimappa Katavka)

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Published in Constitutional Law
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