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Kapil Chandna

Advocate, practicing in Supreme Court of India

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cruelty
The most used terminology in the courts of law is “Your Honor I cannot continue this sacred relation because of the cruelty committed on me”, but the shocking and sad state of affair is that the opposite party comes with more severe allegations alleging cruelty which the makes the job of the courts impossible to decide the case and resulting into everlasting litigation, mental agony.
Before I say what cruelty is in the terms of law, it is very important to understand the meaning of the word which is “cruel behavior or attitudes” or if we talk in legal perspective “behavior which causes physical or mental harm to another, especially a spouse, whether intentionally or not.” Since now a days it has become really difficult to tolerate the other person because of the patience level and expectations, most of the cases are coming forward with a tagline divorce on the ground of cruelty. Then the question arises as to what can be termed as cruelty and how it can be proved in the courts of law.
And most of the cases fail in the court of law is due to the lack of evidence because the acts committed under cruelty are committed within the four walls of the house and the mere exaggerated allegations to any level goes unproved resulting into injustice to the party who is a genuine sufferer and result into the suffering for the party against whom the allegations are put forward.
I wish to quote some instances which could be termed as cruelty and the Hon’ble Courts have time and again have taken those instances as such which goes beyond the purview of the normal wear and tear of life and which actually can be considered as cruelty and making it difficult for one spouse to live with the other or that the marriage has broken irretrievably that the parties cannot be expected to live together under one roof.
Instances which could be considered as cruelty and accepted by the Hon’ble Courts as cruelty can be categorized as follows:-
1. Act of the wife not allowing her husband to live in matrimonial home constitutes both mental and physical cruelty.
2. Where the husband remained unemployed during his stay with his wife and started spending money on liquor indiscriminately, used to come home late at night, gave physical beatings as well as mentally tortured the wife and also demanded share in his wife’s flat.
3. Threatening the husband that she would commit suicide, persuaded husband to leave his parents, filed false case under section 498A of the IPC and also dowry case against husband and his family members.
4. Conduct of the husband of continues abusing and ugly and foul language and also alleging the wife of having an extra-marital relationship without any good reason will make the relation between the parties a soured relation and as such the parties cannot be expected to live together.
5. Verbal abuses and insults by using foul and abusive language, disturbing mental peace and every conduct which causes a mental tension as to affect the health or likely to affect the health of the other spouse will be considered as cruelty.
6. A spouse staying away can cause mental cruelty to the other spouse by sending vulgar and defamatory letters or notices or filing false complaints containing indecent allegations or by initiating number of judicial proceedings making the others spouse’s life miserable.
7. Culture, human value, economic and social conditions will be an important factor in deciding the allegations made in the cruelty.
8. Lack of mutual trust, confidence, faith and having doubt on each other whenever the other spouse fails to answer the call and making remarks on her character will amount to cruelty, rupturing the matrimonial relation and the other spouse cannot be expected to stay in that environment.
9. Where the husband is lethargic, does not work, is parasitical, selfish or callous provides no money for the household or refuses to undertake payment to meet the household expenses, the wife cannot be expected to stay with the husband.
10. Spouses not behaving in a respectful and cordial manner with the parents of each other would be considered as cruelty.
11. Constant insults, abuses and accusations of adulterous character which make the married life impossible to be endured, constitute mental cruelty of a kind worse than physical violence.

Above mentioned are just the glimpse of the cases in which the Hon’ble Courts have held the have the cruelty being committed by one spouse towards to the other and the courts cannot expect the other spouse to stay in that house wherein he/she has lost their most cherished fundamental right of life with respect and dignity. The Idea of bringing the cruelty as a ground for divorce is to maintain the self respect and dignity of the spouses living under the same roof and who have decided to stay together for their life in all good and bad times.
Last but not the least is that whenever the spouses comes before the court of law to file their cases with the weak evidence or lack of evidence, the cases end up in dismissal and harassment, but after the amendment of the Information Act, 2009 any spouse can keep a audio or video recording, messages etc. to be used in the court of law to ensure a speedy justice.


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