IN THE HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
C.M.A. NPD. No. 992 of 2004 and C.M.P. Nos. 5771 to 5773 of 2004
Decided On: 15.04.2004
Bench: N Balasubramanian, M Chockalingam
M. Chockalingam, J.
1. This appeal has arisen from the order of the I Additional Family Court, Chennai, granting divorce in favour of the respondent husband under Sec. 13(1)(1a) of the Hindu Marriage Act.
2. The respondent husband sought a decree of divorce before the lower Court alleging that the marriage between himself and the appellant herein took place on 5.9.1991; that they have been living happily for a short while; that thereafter, she created problem and went over from the matrimonial house to her parents’ house; that she lodged a false complaint against him, on the basis of which a case was registered by the police for dowry harassment; that he was arrested and later, let on bail; that the criminal proceedings also went on, and thus, all along, he has been harassed by her; that because of that, he had mental cruelty, and hence, it was a fit case for granting the relief of divorce.
3. The O.P. was contested by the appellant wife stating that it is true that there was a marriage between the parties, but, she was driven away; that there was a child born; that he has not even cared to maintain her or her child; that the allegation that there was mental cruelty caused by the wife against the husband, is utterly false; that he having failed to maintain his wife and child, has come with this false case; that within a short time from the time of marriage, namely a week, there was a dowry harassment by the husband and his sister; that a complaint was lodged by her father in that regard; that pursuant to the same, a case came to be registered under Sec. 498A I.P.C., and criminal proceedings went on; that he was also found guilty in the said case by the trial Court; that the allegation now made by him is an invention; that in order to wriggle out of the marriage tie, he has filed this false case, and hence, the relief was to be denied.
4. The trial Court recorded the evidence. On the appraisal of the entire evidence, the Court below has found that it was a fit case for divorce and accordingly, granted the relief, what is being challenged in this C.M.A.
5. The learned Counsel appearing for the appellant wife, would submit that in the criminal case, both the lower Courts have found that there was a dowry harassment; that though the judgments of the lower Courts were set aside by this Court, there was sufficient evidence let in to substantiate the dowry harassment, and apart from that, having harassed his wife by demanding dowry, he has come forward with the false case for divorce; that he has not even cared to maintain the wife and child; and that it is pertinent to note that the wife has also filed a O.P. for restitution of conjugal rights, which shows the intention of the appellant to live with him. Added further the learned Counsel that the husband has not produced any iota of evidence to show that there was any cruelty made against him; that the petition should have been dismissed by the lower Court, and hence, the order of the lower Court has got to be set aside.
6. After careful consideration of the submission made by the learned Counsel for the appellant and on scrutiny of the available materials, this Court is of the considered opinion that it is not a fit case warranting for admission or for notice to the respondent.
7. Admittedly, the appellant married the respondent on 5.9.1991, and out of the said wedlock, there was a male born. It is also not in dispute that she lived with him only for a short time. The only contention put forth by the appellant’s side, is that she was driven away from her matrimonial house, and thus, there was a necessity to live with her parents. On the contrary, the respondent husband came with the case of divorce stating that there was mental cruelty, exerted by her by lodging a false complaint under Sec. 498A I.P.C.; that a case came to be registered, and he was also arrested in that regard; that the same would constitute a cruelty, and hence, divorce has to be given. It is an admitted position that the appellant herein lodged a complaint against her husband, and criminal proceedings were initiated; that the said complaint was taken on file by the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Chennai, in C.C.No.11007 of 1992, and the trial went on. It is pertinent to point out that after the initiation of the criminal proceedings, the respondent herein was arrested, and subsequently, he was let on bail. Though the case ended in conviction, he took it on appeal in C.A.No.91 of 1998, which was taken up by the Sessions Court, Madras, which also confirmed the conviction and sentence imposed on him. In such circumstances, the husband took it on revision before this Court in Crl.R.C.No.941 of 2000. This Court had an occasion to consider the rival submissions made and to scrutinise the materials. This Court allowed the revision case and acquitted the respondent husband. At this juncture, it has to be pointed out that on the complaint given by the appellant wife against her husband for dowry harassment, a case came to be registered by the police, and he was arrested and let on bail. He faced the trial before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Chennai in a Calendar Case, and he was convicted and sentenced. That apart, the appeal in C.A.91/98 preferred by him, has also met the same fate at the hands of the Sessions Court. Finally, he was acquitted by this Court.
8. It would be more appropriate and advantageous to reproduce the order of this Court in Crl.R.C.941 of 2000 as follows:
“The facts narrated above indicate that the allegations in the complaint to P.W.8 on 26.5.92 should only be considered as an after thought and that the said complaint was given by P.W.1 only to harass the petitioners to subjugate the first petitioner to her wish to stay at Madras. I am unable to accept the prosecution version that the petitioners, joining with the other accused, made a demand for dowry.”
Thus, from the wordings found in the judgment of this Court in the revision, it would be clear that it was a false complaint.
9. The case of the appellant was that there was no cruelty exerted, cannot be accepted or countenanced for the simple reason that a fase complaint was lodged against her husband, and the case came to be registered under Sec. 498A I.P.C., and criminal proceedings were initiated, and the husband was also arrested. It remains to be stated that the mental cruelty faced by the husband has to be assessed having regard to his status in his life, educational background and the environment, in which he lived. The husband could have suffered traumatic experience because of the police complaint and the consequent loss of reputation and prestige in the society. This Court is of the considered view that the facts and circumstances in the instant case would clearly speak of volume of the false complaint given by the appellant wife against her husband, which resulted in the criminal proceedings, which he had to face. It is true that he was arrested, and then, he was let on bail. No doubt, it is a clear case, wherein the reputation and prestige of the husband in the society has been spoiled. In such circumstances, lodging of the police complaint by the appellant wife has got to be necessarily termed as mental cruelty. In view of these reasons, it would be suffice to sustain the finding of the lower Court that there was sufficient ground of mental cruelty, which would necessitate for grant of divorce.
10. The learned Counsel for the appellant would submit that the respondent husband has not even made any arrangement for the maintenance of the appellant wife and the minor child also. In such circumstances, while confirming the order of the lower Court, it is made clear that the observations made herein, will not in any way impede the appellant to take necessary proceedings in respect of maintenance for herself and for the child.
11. With the above observation, this civil miscellaneous appeal is dismissed. No costs. Consequently, connected C.M.Ps. are also dismissed.