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Rajesh Kumar Srivastava vs Smt. Manisha Srivastava on 6 May, 2019

HIGHCOURTOFJUDICATUREATALLAHABAD

RESERVED

CourtNo.-32

Case:-FIRSTAPPEALNo.-920of2017

Appellant:-RajeshKumarSrivastava

Respondent:-Smt.ManishaSrivastava

CounselforAppellant:-GirijaShankarSrivastava,SharadKumar

Hon’bleShashiKantGupta,J.

Hon’blePradeepKumarSrivastava,J.

(DeliveredbyHon’blePradeepKumarSrivastava,J.)

1. Thisfirstappealhasbeenpreferredagainstthejudgmentandorderdated01.11.2017,passedbyPrincipalJudge,Familycourt,Varanasi,inDivorcePetitionNo.1310of2016(SectionRajeshKumarSrivastavavs.ManishaSrivastava),underSection13oftheHinduMarriageAct,bywhichthepetitionfordivorce,thoughproceededex-parte,hasbeendismissed.

2. Apetitionwasfiledbytheappellant-petitionerbeforetheFamilycourtseekingdivorceunderSection13oftheHinduMarriageAct,statingthatboththepartiesaremarriedaccordingtoHindureligion,ritualsandtraditions.Therespondent-oppositepartyaftermarriagecametohermatrimonialhouseanddischargedhermatrimonialobligations.Theappellant-petitionerfromtheverybeginninggaveherloveandaffectionbuttherespondent-oppositepartywasveryambitious,arrogantandobstinatebynature.Herbehaviourwasalwaysaloofandsheavoidedherfamilyresponsibility.Wheneverhisparentsandcloserelativescame,insteadofwelcomingthem,sheusedtodeliberatelyinsulthimbeforethem.Eventhenhecontinuedaccommodatingherwithoutanycomplaints.She,however,remainedquarrelsomewithhim.Thepetitioneralwaysfulfilledherdemandlegitimateorillegitimatesothattheharmonyinthefamilymaycontinuebuthernaturewasnotimprovingandwithouthisconsent,shestartedwanderingoutsidethehouseandonbeinginquired,sheusedtostartquarrelingwithhimevenbeforetheneighbourscausingshametohim.Asonwasborntothemandhe,keepinginviewthefutureofthechild,alwaystriedtopersuadehertodischargethematrimonialandfamilyobligations.Butshealwaysremainedproblematicconveyingeverythingtoherparentsandbrothers,whostartedinterferenceintheirmatrimoniallife.Sheabusedandthreatenedhimforgivingdivorce.Fromthelasttwoyears,thereisnoconsummationbetweenthemdespiteeffortsbeingmadebyhim.Theyarelivingseparatelyfromthelasttwoyearsandthereisnocommunicationbetweenthem.Therespondent-oppositepartyislivinginherhouseandtheappellant-petitionerhastomanagehisalldailyneedsbyhimself.Ithasbecomeimpossibletocontinueinthematrimonialrelationshipwithher.Sheusedtothreatenhimforimplicatinghiminfalsecriminalcasesandalsothatshewillcommitsuicide.ShegaveanapplicationunderSection156(3)Cr.P.C.againsthimandhisfamilymembers.Herapplicationwassentformediation.Ontheresolutionmadebythemediation,theappellant-petitionertookherbackon22.08.2015.Shelivedwithhimforabouttwomonthsandthereafteron6.10.2015,shecalledhermotherandbrotherandlodgedaFIRinPSSadar,Hoshiyaarpur,Punjabandcamebacktoherparentalhouse.On26.10.2015,shefiledanapplicationunderSection125Cr.P.C.inDistrictKanpur.Finally,on26.10.2015,sherefusedtolivewithhimandtogivehimhischild.Becauseofherinhumanandcrueltreatmentanddesertiononherpart,thisdivorcepetitionwasfiledunderSection13oftheHinduMarriageActforseekingdivorce.

3. Thecasewasproceededex-parteagainsttherespondent-oppositeparty.

4. Insupportofhiscase,thepetitionerfiledhisaffidavitinevidence.

5. Afterhearingthecounselforthepetitioner,thelearnedfamilycourtdismissedthepetition.

6. Aggrievedbytheimpugnedjudgmentanddecree,thepresentappealhasbeenpreferredonthegroundthatitisillegal,withoutjurisdictionandbasedonsurmisesandconjectures.ThefindingsrecordedbythePrincipalJudge,FamilyCourtisbaseless,perverse,irrationalandunreasonable.Thedivorcepetitionproceededex-parteasrespondent-oppositepartydidnotappearnorfiledanywrittenstatementanddespitetheaffidavitfiledbytheappellant-petitionerinsupport,thesamewasdisbelievedandwithoutanysoundreason,thepetitionwasdismissed.Assuch,theimpugnedjudgmentanddecreeisillegal,perverseandisliabletobesetaside.

7. Heardthelearnedcounselfortheappellantandperusedtherecord.

8. Itappearsthatthepetitionerhassoughtdivorceonthegroundofdesertionandcruelty.

Desertion

9. Section13(1)(i-b)oftheSectionHinduMarriageActprovidesdesertionagroundfordivorceanditreadsasfollows:

“13.Divorce(1)Anymarriagesolemnized,whetherbeforeorafterthecommencementofthisAct,may,onapetitionpresentedbyeitherthehusbandorthewife,bedissolvedbyadecreeofdivorceonthegroundthattheotherparty-

(i-b)hasdesertedthepetitionerforacontinuousperiodofnotlessthantwoyearsimmediatelyprecedingthepresentationofthepetition;or

Explanation:Inthissub-sectiontheexpression’desertion’meansthedesertionofpetitionerbytheotherpartytothemarriagewithoutreasonablecauseandwithouttheconsentoragainstthewishofsuchparty,andincludeswillfulneglectofthepetitionerbytheotherpartytothemarriage….”

10. Undertheaboveprovision,inapetitionfordivorceonthegroundofdesertion,itisrequiredthattheplaintiffwasdesertedbythedefendantforacontinuousperiodofnotlessthan2yearsimmediatelyproceedingthepresentationofthepetition.Therefore,thecruxofthematteristodetermineonwhatdatetheplaintiffhasallegedhimselftobedesertedbythedefendant.

11.SectionInSavitriPandeyvsPremChandraPandey,AIR2002SC591,thesupremecourtobservedthatworddesertion,forthepurposeofseekingdivorceundertheSectionHinduMarriageAct,meanstheintentionalpermanentabandonmentofonespousebytheotherwithoutconsentandreasonablecause.Inotherwords,itisatotalrepudiationoftheobligationsofmarriage.SectionInAdhyatmaBhattarAlwarvsAdhyatmaBhattarSriDevi,AIR2002SC88,itwaslaiddownthatforasuccessfulclaimofdivorceonthegroundofdesertion,thefactofseparationwithelementofpermanenceduringentirestatutoryperiodoftwoyearsbeforepresentationofpetitionmustbeproved.SectionInMalathiRaviMDvsB.V.RaviMD,(2014)7SCC640,explainingtherequirementofproofofnecessaryfactsforaclaimofdivorcebasedonthegroundofdesertion,thesupremecourthaslaiddownthatthefactofseparationfortwoyearsimmediatelybeforepresentationofsuitwithintentiontopermanentlyendtheco-habitationandabsenceofconsentorconductaffordingreasonablecausetoleavematrimonialhomeofotherparty,mustbeestablished.

12.Inpara910ofthepetition,ithasbeenpleadedbythepetitionerthattherespondent-wifegaveanapplicationunderSectionsection156(3),SectionCr.P.C.inKanpurandthematterwasreferredtomediationandasperresolutionofmediation,therespondentcamewithpetitioneron22.8.2015andtheylivedtogetherfortwomonths.Aftertwomonthson6.10.2015,shecalledherbrother,lodgedawrittencomplaintinPS.Sadar,Hoshiarpurandreturnedtoherparents.ShefiledacaseunderSectionsection125,SectionCr.P.C.on26.10.2015andfinallyrefusedtolivewithher.Thesamethinghasbeenrepeatedbyhimintheaffidavitfiledinevidence.AfterresumptionofmatrimonialstatusinpursuanceofresolutionofMediationfrom22.8.2015to6.10.2015,theearlierseparationbecomesirrelevantonthebasisoftheprincipleofcondonationandforgiveness.Thedesertionwillcontinueeitherfrom6.10.2015whenthewifeleftthematrimonialhomeoron26.10.2015whenshefinallyrefusedtolivewiththepetitioner.Countingfromeitherdate,thepetitionbeingfiledon29.10.2016justafteraboutoneyear,themandatoryperiodofminimumtwoyearsdesertionpriortopresentationofpetitionisnotcomplete,andassuchthepetitionisimmatureonthegroundofdesertion.

Cruelty

13. CrueltyhasnotbeendefinedintheSectionHinduMarriageAct.SectionInMayadevivs.JagdishPrasad,AIR2007SC1426,theSupremeCourthasremarkedthattheexpression’cruelty’inSection13hasbeenusedinrelationtohumanconductorhumanbehaviourinrespectofmatrimonialdutiesandobligations.Crueltyisacourseorconductofone,whichisadverselyaffectingtheother.Thecrueltymaybementalorphysical,intentionalorunintentional.Ifitisphysical,theCourtwillhavenoproblemindeterminingit.Itisaquestionoffactanddegree.Ifitismental,theproblempresentsdifficulties.First,theinquirymustbeginastothenatureofcrueltreatment,secondtheimpactofsuchtreatmentinthemindofthespouse,whetheritcausedreasonableapprehensionthatitwouldbeharmfulorinjurioustolivewiththeother.Ultimately,itisamatterofinferencetobedrawnbytakingintoaccountthenatureoftheconductanditseffectonthecomplainingspouse.However,theremaybeacasewheretheconductcomplainedofitselfisbadenoughandper-seunlawfulorillegal.Thentheimpactorinjuriouseffectontheotherspouseneednotbeinquiredintoorconsidered.Insuchcases,thecrueltywillbeestablishediftheconductitselfisprovedoradmitted.

14.SectionInAnjulaVermavs.SudhirVerma,AIR2002SC1447,theSupremeCourthasremarkedthatthefoundationofasoundmarriageistolerance,adjustmentandrespectingoneanother.Tolerancetoeachother’sfaulttoacertainbearableextenthastobeinherentineverymarriage.InRaviKumarvsJulmidevi,(2010)4SCC476,crueltywasinterpretedtomeanabsenceofmutualrespectandunderstandingbetweenspouseswhichembittersrelationship.AsheldinVishwanathAgrwalvsSarlaVishwanathAgrwal,(2012)7SCC288,italwaysdependsonsocialstrataormilieutowhichpartiesbelong,theirwaysoflife,relationship,temperamentsandemotionsthatareconditionedbytheirsocialstatus.ItwaspointedoutinSectionKSSriniwasRaovsD.A.Deepa,(2013)5SCC226,thatitisevidentwhereonespousesotreatsotherandmanifestssuchfeelingwhichcausesreasonableapprehensioninthemindofotherthatitwouldbeharmfulorinjurioustoresidewithotherspouse.InGurubuxSinghvsHarminderKaur,AIR2011SC114,itwasopinedthatisolatedfrictionsonsomeoccasiondoesnotamounttocruelty.Allquarrelsmustbeweighedindeterminingcrueltyineachparticularcase,keepinginviewthephysicalandmentalconditionsoftheparties,theircharacterandsocialstatus.Atootechnicalandhyper-sensitiveapproachwouldbecounter-productivetotheinstitutionofmarriage.TheCourtsdonothavetodealwithidealhusbandsandidealwives.Ithastodealwithparticularmanandwomanbeforeit.TheidealcoupleoramereidealsonewillprobablyhavenooccasiontogotoMatrimonialCourt.

15. InPara13ofthepetition,thepetitionerhasallegedthattherespondentdemonstratedcrueltyandinhumanbehaviour.But,whateverfactsallegedbyhimconstitutingcrueltyispriorto22.8.2015.On22.8.2015,inpursuanceofmediation,thematrimonialstatuswasrestoredwhichcontinuedtill6.10.2015.Priortothisperiodwhateverhasbeenallegedregardingherquarrelsomeandhumiliatingattitudeorherthreateningtocommitsuicide,inabsenceofanyeffortmadebyhertowardscommissionofsuicide,isnothingmorethanroutinewearandtearofmatrimoniallife.NocrueltyhasbeenallegedduringtheperiodafterresumptionofmatrimonialstatusinpursuanceofresolutionofMediationfrom22.8.2015to6.10.2015.Oncethematrimonialstatuswasrestored,theallegationofcrueltyanddesertionpriortothisperiodcannotbetakenintoaccountonthebasisoftheprincipleofcondonationandforgiveness.IthasbeenallegedinPara9ofthepetitionthaton6.10.2015,shecalledherbrother,lodgedawrittencomplaintinPS.Sadar,Hoshiarpurandreturnedtoherparents.Buthehasnotfiledthecopyofthatcomplaintnorhehasstatedwhatwaswritteninthatcomplaintorwhatactionwastakenbypoliceinpursuanceofthatcomplaintandtherefore,itisnotpossibletodeterminewhetherthesameconstitutedcruelty.

16. TheUPAmendmentinSection13oftheHinduMarriageActbywhich(1-a)hasbeensubstitutedasfollows:

“(1a)haspersistentlyorrepeatedlytreatedthepetitionerwithsuchcrueltyastocauseareasonableapprehensioninthemindofthepetitionerthatitwillbeharmfulorinjuriousforthepetitionertolivewiththeotherparty;.”

17. Evenforthesakeofargument,ifitisassumedthatthereissomeelementofofcruelty,thesamedoesnotamounttocrueltyastocausereasonableapprehensioninthemindofthepetitionerthatitwillbeharmfulorinjuriousforthepetitionertolivewiththeotherpartyinviewoftheaforesaidAmendment.Thishasbeenneitherpleadednorprovedbythepetitioner.

18. Onthebasisofabovediscussion,wefindthatthepetitionerplumplyfailedtoestablishhiscasefordivorceonthebasisofcrueltyanddesertionandtheappealisliabletobedismissed.

19. Theappealisdismissed.

20. Inthelast,weareconstrainedtomentionaphenomenonintheFamilyCourtsintheStatethataffidavitsofthepartiesareadmittedasevidenceinplaceofexamination-in-chief.Whereboththepartiesareappearing,theotherpartyhastheopportunityofcross-examinationwhichcantosomeextentcompensatethelapseandprovidesomeassistanceinarrivingatcorrectconclusion.But,wherethecaseisproceedingex-parte,decidingthecaseonthebasisofaffidavitwillfrustratetheveryconceptofmatrimonialjusticeadministrationandtheverypurposeforwhichFamilyCourtshavebeencreatedbytheSectionFamilyCourtsAct.Section10oftheFamilyCourtsActprovidesfor’Proceduregenerally’andpermitsapplicabilityoftheCivilProcedureCodeandSectionCriminalProcedureCodesubjecttotheotherprovisionsofthisAct.Sub-section(3)furtherpermitsthefamilycourtstolaydownitsownproceduretoarriveatasettlementoratthetruthofthefactsallegedbyonepartyanddeniedbytheother.Section14permitsthecourttoreceiveasevidenceanyreportetc.thatmayassistthecourttodealeffectuallywithadisputewhetherornotthesamewouldbeotherwiserelevantoradmissibleundertheSectionEvidenceAct.Section15andSection16areveryimportantwhichareasfollows:

“15.Recordoforalevidence-InsuitsorproceedingsbeforeaFamilyCourt,itshallnotbenecessarytorecordtheevidenceofwitnessesatlength,buttheJudge,astheexaminationofeachwitnessproceeds,shall,recordorcausetoberecorded,amemorandumofthesubstanceofwhatthewitnessdeposes,andsuchmemorandumshallbesignedbythewitnessandthejudgeandshallformpartoftherecord.

16.Evidenceofformalcharacteronaffidavit-(1)Theevidenceofanypersonwheresuchevidenceisofaformalcharacter,maybegivenbyaffidavitandmay,subjecttoalljustexceptions,bereadinevidenceinanysuitorproceedingbeforeaFamilyCourt.

(2)TheFamilyCourtmay,ifitthinksfit,andshall,ontheapplicationofanyofthepartiestothesuitorproceedingsummonandexamineanysuchpersonastothefactscontainedinhisaffidavit.”

21. AsimilarprovisionisincorporatedintheAllahabadHighCourtHinduMarriageandDivorceRules,1956.Rule15readsasfollows:

“15.Modeoftakingevidence-Thewitnessinallproceedingsbeforethecourt,wheretheirattendancecanbehad,shallbeexaminedorallyandpartymayofferhimselforherselfasawitnessandshallbeexaminedandmaybecross-examinedandre-examinedlikeanyotherwitness.

Providedthatthepartiesshallbeatlibertytoverifytherespectivecasesinwholeorinpartbyaffidavit,butsothatthedeponentineverysuchaffidavitshall,ontheapplicationoftheoppositepartyorbydirectionoftheCourt,besubjecttobecross-examinedbyoronbehalfoftheoppositepartyorallyandaftersuchcross-examinationmaybere-examinedbyoronbehalfofthepartybywhomsuchaffidavitwasfiled.”

22. Thus,thethrusthasbeenonoralexaminationofthepartiesandinnocasewheretheproceedingisex-parte,evidenceonaffidavitisnotvisualizednorpermissible.WeareawarethattheCivilProcedureCodehasbeensubsequentlyamendedpermittingaffidavitsofpartiesinplaceofexamination-in-chief.Section10oftheFamilyCourtsActpermitsapplicabilityoftheCivilProcedureCodeandSectionCriminalProcedureCode,butthesameissubjecttotheotherprovisionsofthisAct,andtheActandtheRulesspecificallyprovidefororaltestimonyofparties.SectionInAnilKumarLalvsAddl.PrincipalFamilyJudge,Lucknow,(2009)74ALR135,thisCourthasheldthatSectionsection15andSection16clearlydisclosetheintentionofthelegislaturethattheevidenceofformalcharacteralonecanbepermittedtobegivenonaffidavitandnototheroralevidence.SeparateprovisionforgivingofevidenceofformalcharacteronaffidavitleadstotheconclusionthatgivingoforalevidenceonaffidavitisexcludedinviewofSectionsection15oftheAct.

23. Thereisonemorereasonforrequiringoralevidence.Inmatrimonialdispute,apersonaltouchofthejudgeisnecessarywhichhelpsthecourttoassesstherealdisputebetweenthepartiesinviewoftheirpersonalcharacterandsocialbackground.Thedemeanorofthewitnesseshavetobewatchedtoassesstheircredibility.Thelifeandfutureofthepartiesareatstakeandsuchdisputesshouldnotbetreatedonparwithpropertydisputes.Matrimonialcasesraisingquestionspertainingtocruelty,desertion,childcustody,adulteryorthelikearesensitiveissuesandcanbebetteradjudicatedonlywhenthewitnessesareexaminedorcross-examinedbeforethefaceofthejudgepresidingoverthefamilycourt.Thisisalsonecessarytoexplorethepossibilityofre-conciliationbetweentheparties,aprocesswhichcontinuesandoughttocontinueuntilthesuitisfinallydisposedof.

24. Therecordofthecourtbelowbesentbackwithacopyofjudgmentforinformationandnecessarycompliance.

25. TheRegistrarGeneral,HighCourt,Allahabad,isdirectedtocirculatethisjudgmentinallsubordinatecourtsofthestate,particularlytheFamilyCourtsforfutureguidance.

OrderDate:-06.05.2019

sailesh

(PradeepKumarSrivastava,J) (ShashiKantGupta,J.)

 

 

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