The Bombay High Court has refused to grant divorce on the ground of cruelty to a man who alleged his wife often went to pubs leaving their child in the care of domestic help and also often insulted him and his parents.
A Division Bench of Justices Vijaya Tahilramani and Anil Menon recently upheld an order of Family Court, which had declined to grant divorce to the man, holding that such behaviours on part of his wife does not amount to cruelty.
“In our view, the Family Court has appreciated the evidence and come to justifiable findings that the appellant (husband) has failed to prove that the respondent (wife) has treated him with cruelty,” the bench said, while hearing an appeal filed by the man.
The instances of cruelty cited by the husband were rude behaviour by his wife, excessive socialising, going to pubs and discos, neglecting their child, hitting him with a vase, hurling hot cup of tea, making false accusations and throwing tantrums during their honeymoon.
“As far as visits to discos and pubs are concerned, it has come in the cross-examination that they both visited pubs and discos even during the period of courtship.
“We are of the view that evidence does not reveal the respondent has treated the appellant with cruelty. At the best it establishes inappropriate and intemperate behaviour that is not expected in matrimonial relationship,” the Bench noted.
Irretrievable break down of marriage, cited as one of the reasons for dissolution of the matrimonial alliance, does not amount to cruelty, the Judges noted.
“At best, evidence shows insuperable incompatibility between the parties falling short of cruelty. Be that as it may, irretrievable break down of marriage owing to severe and/or insuperable incompatibility does not amount to cruelty and as such no relief can be granted in appeal against the impugned order in as far as divorce is concerned.”
The couple got married 20 years ago but was staying separately since the last 16 years. In the initial four years of their cohabitation, they were blessed with a child who is now a major and in custody of the father, the High Court was informed.
The court held that an incident cited by the husband, that his wife had thrown tantrums during their honeymoon abroad by returning to the hotel room in a fit of rage, also does not amount to cruelty.