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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Smt. Neelima vs Dhiraj Singh on 13 December, 2017

F.A. No. 283/2013


(Division Bench: Hon’ble Shri Justice S.K. Gangele
Hon’ble Shri Justice Anurag Shrivastava)

First Appeal No. 283 of 2013

Smt. Neelima
Dhiraj Singh.

Shri Sajidulla Khan, Advocate for the appellant.
Shri Amit Jain, Advocate for the respondent.




(Pronounced on 13/12/2017)

Per S.K. Gangele J

Appellant has filed this appeal against the judgment

dated 19/03/2013 passed by the family court in Civil Suit

No. 49-A/2011.

2. Plaintiff/ Respondent filed a suit for divorce under

Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. He pleaded that

marriage of respondent with appellant was solemnized on

22/01/2006 at Mandideep District Raisen. From their

wedlock a son was born. When the plaintiff had gone to

the house of defendant/ appellant, he was ill-treated.

Defendant abused family members of the plaintiff.

Defendant lodged report under Section 498-A of IPC

against the plaintiff and his family members. On the basis
F.A. No. 283/2013

of aforesaid report, plaintiff his father, mother, brother and

his wife were prosecuted for commission of offence

punishable under Section 498-A of the IPC.

3. The trial court acquitted the family members of the

plaintiff vide judgment dated 28/10/2013. The defendant

was living separately without any reason for last two years

and inspite of his best efforts she did not return back.

4. Defendant/ Appellant in her written submission

denied the pleadings of the plaintiff/ respondent. She

pleaded that her parents gave dowry of Rs. 60,000/- at the

time of marriage, however, after marriage plaintiff made

demand of Rs. 5,00,000/- cash and Pulsar motor cycle.

When the aforesaid demand was not materialized,

appellant was ill-treated, she was beaten. The plaintiff was

providing coaching in a coaching centre and used to earn

Rs. 20,000 to 25,000/- per month. The plaintiff filed an

application under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act and

appellant had admitted the fact that she lodged complaint

against family members because she was ill-treated. The

trial court framed issues that whether the appellant was

living separately without any reason for last two years and

whether she practiced cruelty with the plaintiff and

whether appellant was forced to leave the matrimonial


F.A. No. 283/2013

5. After appreciation of evidence, the trial court has

held that the appellant was living separately from the

plaintiff/respondent for last two years from the date of

filing of the suit without any reason and she deserted the

respondent. The trial court has held that the appellant filed

a complaint against the family members of the plaintiff and

a case under Section 498-A of IPC was registered against

the family members including plaintiff, they were

prosecuted, hence, the appellant practiced cruelty. On the

basis of cruelty, the trial court granted a decree of divorce.

6. It is an admitted fact that the appellant lodged

complaint against respondent and his family members. On

the basis of aforesaid FIR, a criminal case for commission

of offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC was

registered against the plaintiff and his family members.

They were prosecuted. Plaintiff/husband in his evidence

deposed that the family members were handcuffed and

they were sent to jail. The appellant abused him before his

family members. He further deposed that he filed a suit for

restitution of conjugal rights.

7. Appellant examined herself. She denied the fact that

she was treated the respondent with cruelty. She did not

mention the fact that under what circumstances she

lodged criminal complaint against respondent and his
F.A. No. 283/2013

family members. However, it is an admitted fact that the

appellant had lodged complaint. The trial court passed

judgment in criminal case on 28/10/2013. The trial court

observed that the appellant failed to prove allegations that

any offence was committed by the respondent or his family

members punishable under Section 498-A of IPC. The Apex

Court in the case of K. Srinivas Rao Vs. D.A. Deepa

(2013) 5 SCC 226 has considered the fact of lodging

criminal complaint without any basis against husband and

his family members and trial of family members for

commission of offence punishable under Section 498-A of

IPC and the fact that whether the aforesaid act of wife

amounts to mental cruelty or not under Section 13(i)(i-a)

of Hindu Marriage Act. The Apex Court has held as under:-

“10. Under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage
Act, 1955, a marriage can be dissolved by a decree
of divorce on a petition presented either by the
husband or the wife on the ground that the other
party has, after solemnization of the marriage,
treated the petitioner with cruelty. In a series of
judgments this Court has repeatedly stated the
meaning and outlined the scope of the term ‘cruelty’.
Cruelty is evident where one spouse has so treated
the other and manifested such feelings towards her
or him as to cause in her or his mind reasonable
apprehension that it will be harmful or injurious to
live with the other spouse. Cruelty may be physical
or mental.

11. In Samar Ghosh this Court set out illustrative
cases where inference of ‘mental cruelty’ can be
drawn. This list is obviously not exhaustive because
each case presents it’s own peculiar factual matrix
and existence or otherwise of mental cruelty will
have to be judged after applying mind to it. We
F.A. No. 283/2013

must quote the relevant paragraph of Samar Ghosh.
We have reproduced only the instances which are
relevant to the present case.

“101. No uniform standard can ever be laid
down for guidance, yet we deem it
appropriate to enumerate some instances of
human behaviour which may be relevant in
dealing with the cases of “mental cruelty”.
The instances indicated in the succeeding
paragraphs are only illustrative and not

(i) On consideration of complete
matrimonial life of the parties, acute
mental pain, agony and suffering as
would not make possible for the parties
to live with each other could come
within the broad parameters of mental

(ii) On comprehensive appraisal of the
entire matrimonial life of the parties, it
becomes abundantly clear that
situation is such that the wronged
party cannot reasonably be asked to
put up with such conduct and continue
to live with other party.

(iii) xxx xxx xxx

(iv) Mental cruelty is a state of mind.

The feeling of deep anguish,
disappointment, frustration in one
spouse caused by the conduct of other
for a long time may lead to mental

(v) A sustained course of abusive and
humiliating treatment calculated to
torture, discommode or render
miserable life of the spouse.

(vi) Sustained unjustifiable conduct and
behaviour of one spouse actually
affecting physical and mental health of
the other spouse. The treatment
complained of and the resultant danger
or apprehension must be very grave,
substantial and weighty.

(vii) xxx xxx xxx
(viii) xxx xxx xxx
F.A. No. 283/2013

(ix) xxx xxx xxx

(x) The married life should be reviewed
as a whole and a few isolated instances
over a period of years will not amount
to cruelty. The ill conduct must be
persistent for a fairly lengthy period,
where the relationship has deteriorated
to an extent that because of the acts
and behaviour of a spouse, the
wronged party finds it extremely
difficult to live with the other party any
longer, may amount to mental cruelty.

(xi) xxx xxx xxx
(xii) xxx xxx xxx
(xiii) xxx xxx xxx
(xiv) Where there has been a long

period of continuous separation, it may
fairly be concluded that the
matrimonial bond is beyond repair. The
marriage becomes a fiction though
supported by a legal tie. By refusing to
sever that tie, the law in such cases,
does not serve the sanctity of
marriage; on the contrary, it shows
scant regard for the feelings and
emotions of the parties. In such like
situations, it may lead to mental

12. It is pertinent to note that in this case the
husband and wife had lived separately for more than
sixteen and a half years. This fact was taken into
consideration along with other facts as leading to
the conclusion that matrimonial bond had been
ruptured beyond repair because of the mental
cruelty caused by the wife. Similar view was taken in
Naveen Kohli.

13. In V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat[7] in the divorce
petition filed by the husband the wife filed written
statement stating that the husband was suffering
from mental hallucination, that his was a morbid
mind for which he needs expert psychiatric
treatment and that he was suffering from ‘paranoid
disorder’. In cross-examination her counsel put
several questions to the husband suggesting that
several members of his family including his
grandfather were lunatics. This court held that these
assertions cannot but constitute mental cruelty of
F.A. No. 283/2013

such a nature that the husband cannot be asked to
live with the wife thereafter. Such pleadings and
questions it was held, are bound to cause immense
mental pain and anguish to the husband.

14. In Vijaykumar Bhate disgusting accusations of
unchastity and indecent familiarity with a neighbour
were made in the written statement. This Court held
that the allegations are of such quality, magnitude
and consequence as to cause mental pain, agony
and suffering amounting to the reformulated
concept of cruelty in matrimonial law causing
profound and lasting disruption and driving the wife
to feel deeply hurt and reasonably apprehend that it
would be dangerous to live with her husband.

15. In Naveen Kohli the respondent-wife got an
advertisement issued in a national newspaper that
her husband was her employee. She got another
news item issued cautioning his business associates
to avoid dealing with him. This was treated as
causing mental cruelty to the husband. In Naveen
Kohli the wife had filed several complaints and cases
against the husband. This Court viewed her conduct
as a conduct causing mental cruelty and observed

“82…..The finding of the High Court that
these proceedings could not be taken to be
such which may warrant annulment of
marriage is wholly unsustainable.”

16. Thus, to the instances illustrative of mental
cruelty noted in Samar Ghosh, we could add a few
more. Making unfounded indecent defamatory
allegations against the spouse or his or her relatives
in the pleadings, filing of complaints or issuing
notices or news items which may have adverse
impact on the business prospect or the job of the
spouse and filing repeated false complaints and
cases in the court against the spouse would, in the
facts of a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to
the other spouse. ”

28. Pursuant to this complaint, the police registered
a case under Section 498-A of the IPC. The
appellant-husband and his parents had to apply for
anticipatory bail, which was granted to them. Later,
the respondent-wife withdrew the complaint.
Pursuant to the withdrawal, the police filed a closure
report. Thereafter, the respondent-wife filed a
F.A. No. 283/2013

protest petition. The trial court took cognizance of
the case against the appellant-husband and his
parents (CC No. 62/2002). What is pertinent to note
is that the respondent-wife filed criminal appeal in
the High Court challenging the acquittal of the
appellant-husband and his parents of the offences
under the Dowry Prohibition Act and also the
acquittal of his parents of the offence punishable
under Section 498-A of the IPC. She filed criminal
revision seeking enhancement of the punishment
awarded to the appellant-husband for the offence
under Section 498-A of the IPC in the High Court
which is still pending. When the criminal appeal filed
by the appellant-husband challenging his conviction
for the offence under Section 498-A of the IPC was
allowed and he was acquitted, the respondent-wife
filed criminal appeal in the High Court challenging
the said acquittal. During this period respondent-
wife and members of her family have also filed
complaints in the High Court complaining about the
appellant-husband so that he would be removed
from the job. The conduct of the respondent- wife in
filing a complaint making unfounded, indecent and
defamatory allegation against her mother-in-law, in
filing revision seeking enhancement of the sentence
awarded to the appellant-husband, in filing appeal
questioning the acquittal of the appellant-husband
and acquittal of his parents indicates that she made
all attempts to ensure that he and his parents are
put in jail and he is removed from his job. We have
no manner of doubt that this conduct has caused
mental cruelty to the appellant- husband.”

8. The Apex Court has specifically held that if the wife

lodges complaint against husband and his parents without

any ground and they were prosecuted for commission of

offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC, they were

put in jail, subsequently, they were acquitted, the conduct

of the wife certainly amounts to mental cruelty against

husband. In this view of the matter, in our opinion the trial

court has rightly held that the appellant caused mental
F.A. No. 283/2013

cruelty to the respondent. There is also evidence that the

appellant has been living separately from her husband

without any reasonable ground.

9. In view of the aforesaid facts of the case, in our

opinion, the trial court has rightly granted a decree of

divorce in favour of the respondent, we do not find any

merit in this appeal, it is hereby dismissed. No order as to




Digitally signed by ARVIND KUMAR MISHRA
Date: 2017.12.14 15:42:30 +05’30’

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