Leveling of false accusation can also fall under cruelty in marriage says Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In 2008 a Rewari man got married to his wife, in Narnaul Tehsil. A month after the marriage, the wife left her matrimonial home. This led the couples to part ways.
However, in 2010, the wife filed a criminal case against the husband and his family, alleging a case of cruelty. The husband was convicted.
Subsequently, the husband instituted divorce proceeding against his wife. And in 2015, the Court issued a decree of divorce in favour of the Rewari man.
Aggrieved by the decision, the wife challenged the decree of divorce. She prayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court, presided over by Justices Rajan Gupta and Manjari Nehru Kaul, to reverse the decree of divorce.
At the hearing, the husband told the Court that a day after their marriage, the wife had misbehaved with him and his mother. The husband also claimed that the wife had told him that she wanted to marry another man.
In answer to this allegation, the wife denied having misbehaved; she rather claimed that the husband had deserted her without giving any sufficient reason. Despite her denial, the High Court was inclined to believe the husband’s claim.
In its verdict, the Court observed that the sour relationship between the ex-couple was apparent from the start of their relationship. The Court stated that the wife’s act of registering a criminal case against the husband and his family, was unjustifiable, in light of the circumstances at the time. And as such, it is only natural that the wife’s act would cause immense agony to the husband and his family.
The Court pointed out that there is no set standard to measure the nature and degree of cruelty. In satisfying the test of cruelty in a matrimonial dispute, a single act of physical violence or leveling of false accusation can satisfy the test of ‘cruelty’.
The Court stated that the wife’s behavior of misbehaving towards her mother-in-law, and informing her newly-wed groom on their first night that she wanted to marry another man, indicated her ‘cruel behavior’ towards her husband.
The Court held that given the fact that the wife had only stayed in her matrimonial home for 42 days, had instituted criminal cases against the husband, and in the past 11 years, the couple had not had any conjugal relationship, it was a futile exercise to try to make the parties continue their marital relationship.