Making unsubstantiated allegations of extramarital relationship against a husband and portraying him as a womaniser in public space are acts of extreme cruelty that merit dissolution of marriage, the Delhi High Court has held.
A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, while upholding a family court order granting divorce on the husband’s plea of cruelty, said a spouse expects his partner to respect him and ”act as a shield of protection” in times of need, and ”constant nagging” on other person’s character and fidelity leads to mental agony.
Any successful marriage, the court said in a recent order, is built on mutual respect and faith and, if either is compromised beyond a level, the end of the relationship is inevitable.
”Unfortunately, here is a case where the husband himself is being publicly harassed, humiliated and verbally-attacked by his wife, who had gone to the extent of levelling allegations of infidelity during his office meetings in front of all his office staff/guests. She even took to harassing the woman workers of his office and left no stone unturned to portray him as a womanizer in the office. This behaviour is but an act of extreme cruelty to the respondent/husband,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, while dismissing the wife’s appeal against the divorce order.
”Casting aspersions of the alleged extramarital relationship with another married lady who was the wife of his friend, would lead to the inevitable conclusion of cruelty… such reckless, defamatory, humiliating and unsubstantiated allegations by one spouse, which has the impact of publicly tarnishing the image of the other spouse, is nothing but acts of extreme cruelty,” the court said.
The court noted that the wife claimed her husband was impotent and compelled him to undergo a potency test which found him fit. Such allegations, it observed, caused mental cruelty him.
The wife also alienated their child from the husband which also amounted to mental cruelty, it added.
”Nothing more can be more painful than experiencing one’s own flesh and blood i.e., the child, rejecting him or her. Such wilful alienation of the child by a parent amounts to mental cruelty to the other parent. In the present case as well, the child has not only been totally alienated, but has also been used as a weapon against the father,” stated the court.
”All these acts which happened in a span of about six years that they spent together, proved that the respondent was subjected to cruelty and harassment which is sufficient to create mental agony and trauma in his mind to the extent that he at times even thought of committing suicide. The acts of the appellant (wife), as proved, can only be termed as acts of cruelty towards the respondent (husband),” it said.
The court, however, said certain alleged acts of the wife, such as her being unable to complete an English speaking course, did not amount to cruelty to the husband.
It also said her complaints to her teachers and classmates about alleged ill-treatment by her mother-in-law and husband, by which she ”may have shared her stresses in matrimonial life”, was not an act targeted towards humiliating the husband.