The Supreme Court on Friday observed that defamatory complaints against spouse leading to irreparable damage to his career and reputation would amount to mental cruelty against him for the purpose of seeking divorce.
The three-judge bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy address the plea by an army officer in the case of Joydeep Majumdar v. Bharti Jaiswal Majumdar, claiming that his wife wrote letters to his superiors to lead an enquiry against him, thus tarnishing his reputation, for the purpose of seeking restitution of conjugal rights.
The couple had got married in 2006 and resided together for a few months, until differences cropped up between them and they started living apart since 2007.
The respondent had also filed a petition against the appellant for the restitution of conjugal right and resumption of matrimonial life in the Uttarakhand High Court.
The husband submitted in the Apex Court that his wife had allegedly filed a list of complaints against him before his superior officers in the army, including the Chief of Army Staff among other authorities, thus leading to irreparable damage to his reputation and mental peace.
The wife, however, contended that she made those complaints in order to protect her matrimonial ties. The Supreme Court noted that the appellant’s career progress was affected, while his wife continued to make complaints to other authorities like the State Commission for Women.
On observing that the appellant had undergone adverse consequences in his life and career due to the allegations made by the respondent, the top court held that legal consequences must follow as no court has ruled that the allegations were false.
The bench also observed that since the allegations were made by a highly educated spouse, they do hold the gravity to ‘irreparably damage the character and reputation of the appellant.’
The Court noted that to consider dissolution of marriage based on a spouse alleging mental cruelty, the level of mental disturbance must be that it is not feasible to continue the matrimonial relationship.
The Court thus held that the contentions held by the wife do not justify the consistent actions taken by her to undermine the dignity and reputation of the appellant.
The Supreme Court thus held that under such circumstances, the wronged party should not be expected to go along with the matrimonial relationship, when enough evidence is present for them to seek separation.
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