The Delhi High Court recently held in Vishal Singh vs Priya, that a new bride’s conduct of being in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work can by no stretch of imagination be described as behaviour of cruelty towards the husband.
Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon in an appeal against an order passed by a Family Court passed the Order.
By the Family Court judgment and decree which dismissed the petition seeking dissolution of marriage with the Respondent, Priya under Section 13(1) (i)) and (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,Vishal Singh, the Appellant, was aggrieved.
In accordance with the Hindu rites and ceremonies, the marriage between parties took place in November 2012.
The attitude of the Respondent towards the marriage was not positive from the very beginning. It was claimed that the Respondent had a love affair with the brother of her brother-in-law, according to the Appellant. In March 2013, the Respondent even fled her matrimonial home with the intention to get married to her lover, told the appellant. The Respondent was brought back to the matrimonial home by her brother but the Appellant did not allow them to enter the house and the Respondent went back to her paternal house.
The Respondent kept apologizing for her conduct by calling him up on her phone, at the same time, she claimed to be happy in the company of the brother of her brother-in-law, stated the Appellant.On this basis, the Appellant filed his petition seeking divorce from the Respondent.
The divorce petition was opposed the Respondent on the ground that the Appellant was trying to take advantage of his own wrongs on basis of cruelty.
The Appellant and his family members harassed and tortured her for dowry and even attempted to kill her and that she herself disclosed about her previous affair which was part of her life before the marriage, the Respondent stated.
Finally the divorce petition was dismissed on the ground that the Appellant failed to prove the allegations of unchastity levelled against the Respondent and also could not establish that the Respondent treated him with cruelty.
The High Court observed that the most serious cruelty allegation made by the Appellant was with regard to the Respondent leading an adulterous life and noted that while the Appellant failed to file any proof regarding the allegation of adultery post-marriage, the fact that the Respondent had an affair before the marriage was completely meaningless.
The Court noted thatas far the ground of cruelty was concerned the Appellant had relied on the following instances to support his case:
– Respondent was “rude” and “cruel” immediately after the marriage;
– Respondent picked up quarrels with every family member on trivial matters;
– Respondent refused to have any physical relations with him immediately after the marriage;
– Respondent locked herself in the room at the time of muhdikhai ceremony;
– Respondent looked nervous and unhappy at the marriage reception;
– Respondent kept herself to her room, showing a disinclination to do any household work or cook food.
The Court opined that none of these acts, if at all committed by the Respondent, could tantamount to ‘cruelty’ conduct.
A new bride would be hesitant in her new surroundings in the matrimonial home. It is always for the husband’s family to make the new bride feel at home and accepted as a family member. Therefore, such conduct of the respondent No.1/wife of being interested in remaining in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work can by no stretch of imagination be described as cruel behaviour and that too upon the appellant/husband.
OBSERVATIONS BY COURT
The Appellant had himself admitted that the marriage had been consummated and except for one occasion, there were no repeated instances of refusal on the part of the Respondent to have any sexual interaction with the Appellant.
No parents or relatives were examined to substantiate the claims that Respondent misbehaved with the Appellant’s family.
Lastly, reliance on the Respondent by the Appellant in making a “false and frivolous” complaint Sections 498-A/307/504/506 of the IPC against him and his family members to show cruelty was also rejected.
Prima facie, the FIR cannot be held to be a false, frivolous or a vague one, as the trial is still going on. It is not as if any court of law has come to a conclusion that the FIR so lodged by the respondent No.1/wife was a false one, said the court.
Accordingly,the appeal of cruelty in dissolution was dismissed.
For the Appellant was represented by Advocate RK Jain.