Smt. Abha Agarwal vs Sunil Agarwal on 28 August, 2000

Allahabad High Court
Smt. Abha Agarwal vs Sunil Agarwal on 28 August, 2000
Equivalent citations: AIR 2000 All 377
Author: M Jain
Bench: O Garg, M Jain


JUDGMENT

M.C. Jain, J.

1. The appellant is the wife who had filed this appeal against her husband-respondent challenging the judgment and decree dated 1sy November, 1999 passed by Smt. Shadhana Chaudhary, Judge, Family Court, Allahabad in matrimonial petition No. 178 of 1993 (Sunil Agarwal v. Smt. Abha Agarwal), whereby the marriage of the couple has been dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. The husband was the petitioner before the Court below.

2. The husband founded the divorce petition on these allegations : The husband belongs to a very respectable family of Allahabad whereas the wife comes from a family of Tilhar, District Shahjahanpur. Their marriage was solemnized at Allahabad in March 1988. Their wedlock gave birth to a male child. His father is an old businessman; his brother is one of the leading doctors of Allahabad and his wife is also a medical practitioner. He himself is a law graduate, but is engaged in business. He with his wife jointly lived in Bunglow No. 22A/1 Tagore Town, Allahabad with other family members till 30th August 1992, His parents are old and aged requiring nursing and care. He is very much attached to his parents, elder brother and sister-in-law are equally affectionate to him. After the marriage, his wife lived with him only for about ten days. From the very beginning she was hostile, asking him to abandon her and to leave her at her home, giving out that she never wanted to marry. After a month she was brought by him to his home after Vidai. This time also, her attitude did not change. Her treatment towards him, his parents, brother and
sister-in-law became harsh. She disrespected and humiliated them all the time using insulting language. On his interference she used to quarrel with him throughout the night. In June 1988 he suffered from jaundice. She remained totally indifferent to words him during his ailment and continued with her activities of quarrelling with his parents, brother and sister-in-law. Somehow, he recovered and then she started insisting that he should separate from his parents and brother. On his not agreeing to her proposal, she started creating havoc, abusing all the family members including him and fomenting all sorts of trouble leading to un-peaceful atmosphere in the house. The cruel treatment of his wife hurt him and other family members. In April 1988 she was found to be pregnant. Her insistent desire to live separately strengthened when she was pregnant. He and his wife had been once invited by the latter’s brother-in-law at Allahabad in a birthday party. While he was bringing her back on scooter, she refused to go to his house and jumped from the pillion seat of the scooter, causing injury to herself. His all attempts and those of his family members went unheeded and could not bring about the slightest change in her behaviour. She continued to be furious and to misbehave with all of them. She went away to her brother-in-law’s place saying that she had no relations with him and his family and she would better stay at the house of her parents. He was not only hurt but was mentally and spiritually broken at the cruel treatment of his wife. He was then constrained to file a petition for divorce against her. She did not file any written statement there. Instead, her parents and well-wishers intervened and implored him and his parents to give her one more chance to correct herself. On such entreaties, he and his parents took pity and she again started living with him and his family members since the last week of January 1991. He did not prosecute his petition for divorce which ended in dismissal for default.

3. She behaved normally for a while but renewed her demand of separate living offering vigorous insults to him and other family members hurling abuses. She also held out a threat to end her life to get him and his family members imprisoned. Her anger became so violent that she threatened to beat him and his parents with shoes. He had great love for his only son. She exploited this weakness by cruelly beating the child. Ultimately, seeing no other way out he succumbed to her demand of living separately
and took house No. 474/270, Sohbatiya Bagh, Allahabad on rent and started living their with her with effect from 31-8-1992. The matter remained calm for some time but again the trouble started. She did not permit him and his son to visit his parents even on holidays or festivals. She used to become irritated, abusing him and beating the son. She also started making wild and dirty allegations against his elder brother’s wife. In her such acts she was instigated by her sister and sister’s husband Deepak Agarwal who used to visit her in his absence. When he rebuked her and asked her not to permit her brother-in-law to visit her in his absence, she became infuriated and threatened to end her life and to get him and his family members implicated in criminal case.

4. She called her father through her brother-in-law Deepak Agarwal on 27-5-1993. When he (husband) reached home at about 9 p.m., he found that his wife and her father had packed up luggage and were ready to leave the house. When he enquired about it, both of them abused and threatened him and his family members of dire consequences. She then left Allahabad for Tilhar with bag and baggage, taking away everything, i.e., ornaments, cash etc. He apprehended great danger to his life and property and, therefore, on 28-5-1993 he informed the S. P. City about this incident.

5. On 12/13th August, 1993 she with her father and brother came to his father’s and elder brother’s house No. 22A/1 Tagore Town and started shouting and abusing, making scratches on her thigh, cheeks and other parts of the body. She continued shouting and hurling filthiest abuses. She then lodged a first information report at Police Station George Town, Allahabad with false and scandalous allegations against him and all other members of his family. It resulted in registration of a case against him and his family members under Section 498A I.P.C. etc. Because of this drama enacted by his wife in a pre-planned manner, the police swung in action and reached his house within a few minutes to arrest him and other family members. All of them had to run away to evade arrest and had to file a writ petition in the High Court for getting a stay order against their arrest. Thus, as per the husband, the wife treated him with cruelty and fully deserted him. He, therefore, prayed for a decree of dissolution of his marriage with her by a decree of divorce.

6. The wife filed a written statement and refuted all the material allegations made by
the husband against her. Her defence may be summarized thus : At the time of her marriage with him, he was living in Mohalla Meerapur. That house was disposed of and another one purchased in Tagore Town. She also belongs to a very respectable and joint family and is a post graduate. She never thought of living separate from her in-laws. The behaviour of her husband from the very beginning was very bad. He, his parents, his brother and brother’s wife were torturing her for bringing less dowry. Their greed gradually increased and they started beating her. She never insisted to go to the house of her parents and still wants to live with her husband. She was treated like a domestic servant. Her husband and parents were always putting pressure on her to bring Rs. 50,000/- from her parents. Her father had already given Rs. 25,000/- on 25-11-1987 through bank draft but they were demanding Rs. 25,000/- more. They were also complaining of the inferior quality of refrigerator, colour T.V. and record player. To exert pressure, he filed a divorce petition against her which was withdrawn when a new colour TV, refrigerator and video cassette player had been given to them. She was suffering and tolerating all sorts of torture and misbehaviour at the hands of her husband and other family members in the hope that everything would become normal in due course but the things worsened. According to her, it was wrong to say that she had jumped down from the scooter. Rather, at the alleged occasion the scooter slipped and she got some injuries. She wrote a letter to her father explaining all the incidents. He came to Allahabad and took her with him with the consent of her husband. The present petition has also been filed by her husband to create pressure to extract more money from her parents. Her husband and his other family members had repeatedly given beatings. To live separate from his parents was the own plan of her husband to extract money from her parents. Ultimately, in a planned manner, he shifted to a house at Sohbatia Bagh. He used to be out throughout the day returning late in the night and thus causing all sorts of harassment and mental pain to her. Her brother sent Rs. 5,000/- to him through Bank Draft dated 28-2-1992. One night, he came under the influence of liquor and started beating her at the instance of his family members. When she raised objections, he turned her out at about midnight and himself locked the house and went to his parents. She then went to Police Station George Town and lodged an
F.I.R.. She also alleged that elder brother of her husband had a libidinous eye of her. To be short, the wife claimed to have been ill-treated by her husband and his family members right from after the performance of the marriage. Their goal, according to her, was to extract more and more money, from her parents.

7. The trial Judge found on merits that the wife had treated the husband with cruelty. She, therefore, dissolved their marriage by the instant decree of divorce where against the wife has come up in appeal.

8. We have heard Sri Prakash Krishna, learned counsel for wife (appellant) and Sri Ravi Kant learned counsel appearing for respondent (husband) and have also carefully gone through the evidence and material on record.

9. It is obvious that the decree of divorce has been granted on the ground of cruelty. To begin with, it should be stated that the legal conception of cruelty and the kind or degree of cruelty necessary to amount a matrimonial offence has not been defined by Indian Legislature. The law is to be gathered from decided cases. Broadly speaking, the legal conception of cruelty comprises of two distinct elements, namely, the ill-treatment complained of and the result produced thereby. The language of Clause 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act is comprehensive enough to include cases of physical as well as mental cruelty. The cruelty may be inferred from the whole facts and matrimonial relations of the parties and interaction in their daily life disclosed by the evidence. The leading case on the aspect of matrimonial cruelty is that of Dr. N.G. Dastanev. Mrs. S. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534. Cruelty as a ground of divorce came to be incorporated in Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act by the amending Act No. 68 of 1976. Dastane’s case had been decided earlier thereto when cruelty could be a ground of judicial separation under Section 10 of the Act. What constitutes cruelty was elaborately discussed in that case. In that case, the wife threatened her husband to put an end to her life and that she would set the house on fire. She also threatened that she would make him lose his job and had the matter published in the newspaper. The persistent abuses hurled by her at her husband and parents were all of so grave an order as to imperial the husband’s sense of personal safety, mental happiness, job satisfaction and reputation. On the basis of such instances, the Supreme Court found that the conduct of the
respondent/wife clearly amounted to cruelty. The Supreme Court observed that what the Courts must determine is not whether the petitioner has proved the charge of cruelty having regard to the principles of English law, but whether the petitioner proves that the respondent treated him with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in his mind that it will be harmful or injurious for him to live with the respondent. Some other observations of the Apex Court in that case should also be taken note of that the Court has to deal, not with an ideal husband and an ideal wife but with the particular man and woman before it. The ideal couple or a near-ideal one will probably have no occasion to go to a matrimonial court for, even if they may not be able to drown their differences. Their ideal attitudes may help them overlook or bloss over mutual faults and failures.

10. It was also observed by the Apex Court that the only rider is the interdict of Section 23(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act that the relief prayed for can be decreed only if the Court is satisfied that the petitioners is not in any way taking advantage of his own wrong.

11. In a subsequent decision of Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi, AIR 1988 SC 121, the Supreme Court made reference to Dastane’s case (AIR 1975 SC 1534) (supra). Relevant observations made by the Apex Court in Shobha Rani’s case may advantageously be excerpted below :

“4. Section 13(1)(i-a) uses the words “treated the petitioner with cruelty”. The word “cruelty” has not been defined. Indeed it could not have been defined. It has been used in relation to human conduct or human behaviour. It is the conduct in relation to or in respect of matrimonial duties and obligations. It is a course of conduct of one which is adversely affecting the other. The cruelty may be mental or physical, intentional or unintentional. If it is physical the Court will have no problem to determine it. It is a question of fact and degree. If it is mental the problem presents difficulty. First, the enquiry must begin as to the nature of the cruel treatment. Second, the impact of such treatment in the mind of the spouse. Whether it counsel reasonable appreciation that it would be harmful or injurious to live with the other. Ultimately, it is a matter of inference to be drawn by taking into account the nature of the conduct and its effect on the complaining spouse. There must, however, be cases where the conduct complained
of itself is bad enough and per se unlawful or illegal. That the impact or the injuries effect on the other spouse need not be enquired into or considered. In such cases, the cruelty will be established if the conduct itself is proved or admitted.

5. It will be necessary to bear in mind that there has been marked change in the life around us. In matrimonial duties and responsibilities in particular, we find a sea change. They are of varying degrees from house to house and person to person. Therefore, when a spouse makes complaint about the treatment of cruelty by the partner in life or relations, the Court should not search for standard in life. A set of facts stigmatized as cruelty in one case may not be so in another case. The cruelty alleged may largely depend upon the type of life the parties are accustomed to or their economic and social conditions. It may also depend upon their culture and human values to which they attach importance. We, the Judges and lawyers, therefore, should not import, our own notions of life. We may not go in parallel with them. There may be a generation gap between us and the parties. It would be better if we keep aside our customs and manners. It would be also better if we less depend upon precedents. Because as Lord Denning said in Sheldon v. Sheldon, (1966) 2 All ER 257 (259) “the categories of cruelty are not closed. “Each case may be different. We deal with the conduct of human beings who are not generally similarly, among the human beings there is no limit to the kind of conduct which may constitute cruelty. New type of cruelty may crop up in any case depending upon the human behaviour, capacity or incapability to tolerate the conduct complained of. Such is the wonderful/realm of cruelty.”

12. The case at hand should be tested in the light of the above yardstick. It has first been argued by the learned counsel for the wife/appellant that the lower Court erred in accepting the alleged jumping down from the scooter as a ground of cruelty towards the husband. He also criticized the observation of the lower Court that in case it was a natural incident, the husband (who was driving the scooter) must have also necessarily fallen down. On a careful consideration we are of the opinion that the alleged jumping down of the wife from the scooter could not be accepted and the finding of the lower Court in this behalf does not appeal to us. We should state our reasons. Admittedly, the wife was pregnant at that time. It goes without saying that a lady has greatest
affection for her child who is either born or is growing in her womb. Judged in this perspective, she would not have taken the risk of jumping down from the scooter, as it could have caused harm to her child growing in the womb, besides causing serious injuries to her. There is also no invariable rule that if a scooter slips in an ordinary course, then the driver as well as pillong seater both should fall down. Naturally, it would depend upon the angle of slip and impact of force. It appears to us that it was a natural slip of the scooter whereby the wife fell down and sustained some injuries. This particular instance could not be counted as a ground of cruelty by the wife towards the husband.

13. Learned counsel for the wife/appellant then argued that the husband has coined and woven imaginary and artificial grounds to make out a case of cruelty. On careful scrutiny of the evidence adduced by the two sides, we do not find it possible to agree with this submission. We are of the opinion that the lower Court analytically weighed the evidence of the parties in an adjudicatory manner and rightly came to the conclusion that the wife had treated her husband with cruelty. Solid facts are lined up to conclusively prove that she was hostile and uncompromising right from the beginning. The husband tendered his evidence before the Court below relating many instances of her misbehaviour and ill-treatment towards him and his other family members viz., his parents, elder brother and sister-in-law. She could not deny that her husband had deep-rooted regard and affection for his parents, brother and brother’s wife. She did not reconcile to live in the joint family and all the time nagged him to leave the parental home. She did not even look after him during his ailment.

14. Fed up by the cruelty heaped upon by the wife, the husband had to file a divorce petition earlier. There does not appear to be the slightest doubt that the wife was at fault and ultimately the husband did not prosecute that divorce petition because her parents and relatives intervened assuring him and his parents of her good behaviour in future. It was at their instance that the husband, as a good gesture, agreed to bury the old hatchet and to carry on the matrimonial life with her. At the time of the earlier divorce petition, the wife was living with the husband as admitted by him before the Court below. Paper 50-C/5 is a letter dated 19-2-1991 written by the husband of the sister of the wife/appellant to the elder brother of the husband/respondent in which
he requested him to put an end to the dispute. In another letter 50C/6, dated 6-3-1991 the brother-in-law of the wife wrote to the elder brother of the husband that :

“…… Vaise Bhai Saheb Hame Pura Vishwas Hai Ki Aap Sab Pahle Se Kafi Change Dekh Raha Honge. Ram Sabhi Aapke Hamesha Aabhari Rahenge. Aap Meri Vintee Par Uprokt Case Sheeghre Nipta Dijiyaga. …………”

50 C/9 is another letter dated 5-3-1991 written by the father of the wife to the father of the husband, Herein he has referred to the earlier divorce petition. The letter, inter alia, says :

“………… Abha Ab Theek Prakar Se Rah Rahi Hogi. Aap Ko Sab Jano Ko Koi Shikayat To Nahin. So Kripa Karke Jaroor Likhiyega. 27 Feb. Ko Kya Raha. Aap Ne Case Utha Liya Yatarikh Barh Gayi Hal …………”

15. It is clearly born out from these letters that it were the parents and relatives of the wife who had intervened and that the husband and his parents had been implored to forget the past and to withdraw the earlier divorce petition. It was for this reason that the husband did not further prosecute that divorce petition which came to be dismissed in default. The case put forth by the husband in this behalf is acceptable.

16. The assertion of the wife is that the earlier divorce petition had been filed by her husband simply to fork out money from her parents and he did not proceed with the same when given a new TV, Fridge, cassette recorder etc. According to her renewed demands came to be made shortly afterwards. It has not been denied by the wife that her husband belongs to a respectable family of status. Having regard to the background and social status of the husband and his family as also the attending circumstances it does not get down the threat that the aim of the husband and his family members was to extracted more and more dowry from the parents of the wife which actuated him (husband) to file the first divorce petition as also the subsequent one wherefrom this appeal has arisen. The husband explained the receipt of bank draft of Rs. 25,000/-dated 25-11-1987 that it had been sent by the father of his wife to meet the expenditure of the marriage performed from Laxmi Guest House at Allahabad. This amount had been paid to Laxmi Guest House. It would be recalled that the marriage was performed in March, 1988. Judged in this light, the explanation of the husband is convincing. As regards the subsequent bank draft of Rs.

5,000/- dated 28-2-1992, it had been given to his wife and had been deposited also in her bank account. This factum has been admitted by the wife in her evidence before the Court below. As regards the alleged supply of new T.V. Fridge and cassette recorder to the husband by the parents of the wife, lower Court rightly rejected this theory. The wife could not satisfactorily explain as to the purchase of these items. There is no evidence on this aspect of the matter either as to how they were carried from Tilhar, District Shahjahanpur to the house of the husband at Allahabad. It has further to be observed that the wife is a post graduate. She used to write letters to her parents. It has not been shown that she ever complained to her parents about her alleged maltreatment at the hands of her husband and his other family members over the demand of dowry or about some particular demand made by them. We are in agreement with the lower Court that the alleged ground of demand of dowry and her alleged maltreatment by her husband and his family members has no legs to stand. It is a fictitious plea coined by her in a desperate attempt to sweep under the carpet her continuous hostility and misbehaviour towards her husband, constituting cruelty towards him.

17. A few words should also be stated about how the pair started separate living at Sohbatiya Bagh. Admittedly, the couple was residing jointly with other members of the family at Tagore Town. The case of the husband is that owing to continuous pestering of his wife he succumbed to her pressure to live separately in a rented house at Sohbatiya Bagh. On the other hand, the wife contends that the husband himself manipulated separate living with a view to extract more money from her parents. We find that the sale deed dated 18-4-1990 of the house of George Town is in the joint name of the husband and wife of his elder brother, meaning thereby that he has half share in this house. Having invested money in the purchase of the said house, there could hardly be any question of his going to live separately in a rented house at Sohbatiya Bagh at his own accord, particularly when he had great regard for his parents, elder brother and his wife. We have no hesitation to hold that it was the wife who nagged him in the extremity forcing him to live separate from his parents and other family members. We are inclined to find that the husband made all the concessions to her to buy peace and to lead matrimonial life with her. He even succumbed to sacrifice his thick bond of
attachment with his parents and other family members to keep her in good humour, but all in vain. She admitted before the lower Court that in the house of Sohbatiya Bagh her husband, she herself and their son were residing. She also admitted that her in-laws and elder brother of her husband and wife of the elder brother of the husband did not use to come there. Still, she was not satisfied. The clear statement of her husband is that she used to create hue and cry even on his going to meet his parents with his son on Sunday or holidays. Not reconciling to any situation, she went away to her parents. It appears that she does not feel satisfied under any circumstances.

18. We note that the wife even alleged in her written statement that the elder brother of her husband had an amorous eye on her. She, however, did not say a word in this regard in her testimony before the Court. It can justifiably be inferred that she can make any wild allegation against anybody which may suit to her purpose. Indeed, such wild allegation made by her would hurt in great measure the mental susceptibility of her husband. It is one of the many serious instances of cruelty meted out by her to her husband.

19. Yet another instance of her cruelty can very well be gauged from the canards coined by her in the first information report that she lodged against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, elder brother of her husband and the wife of the elder brother of her husband on 14-8-1993 at 0020 hours under Section 498-A, I.P.C. and Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. A copy of the same is on the record of the lower Court which shows that she could go to any extent to manufacture lies. Herein, she accused all of them of beating her with shoes and dandas. She also accused them that they wanted to burn her alive by sprinkling kerosene. It does not appear that any injury was sustained by her because there is no medical examination report. According to the husband, she lodged this false F.I.R. to put him and all the family members in a tight corner and to ruin them completely. It was only after a writ petition filed by them that their arrest was stayed. It has been argued by the learned counsel for the husband/respondent that that case resulted in acquittal. This argument has not been controverted. We find from the testimony of the wife that she had held press conference also to give currency and publicity to her story and had got the same published in newspaper. The mental cruelty caused to the husband by
such act by the wife is beyond calculation and measuring tape.

20. Making reference to the decision, of this Court in the case of Smt. Deepika v. Naresh Chandra Singhania. AIR 2000 All 148, learned counsel for the wife/appellant argued that the solitary testimony of the husband could not be accepted in the absence of corroborative evidence. The arguments does not impress us. Needless to say, it is the quality of evidence, and not the quantity that matters. The law does not insist on the plurality of the evidence. Each case has to be judged on its own facts. Many of the instances of cruelty with which the wife treated her husband in the instant case, as per the discussion made above, were of such nature which could not be corroborated by strangers. Had the parents or petitioner’s brother or his wife been produced, then the argument could be developed that they were his own family members. Their evidence could have been dubbed as of one person through different mouths. Some of the instances of cruelty are such that they speak for themselves. To us, the testimony of the husband alone, considered in the light of attending circumstances, sufficiently proves that she treated her husband with a very high degree or mental cruelty justifying the decree of divorce on this ground.

21. It has also been argued by the learned
counsel for the wife/appellant that nothing
should be taken note of what happened
prior to the filing of the previous divorce
petition by the husband for the reason that
everything came to be condoned with the
parties having started leading matrimonial
life because of a compromise having been
arrived at between them, resulting in the
non prosecution of the first divorce petition
by the husband. This argument is obviously
based on Section 23(1)(b) of the Hindu Mar
riage Act.

22. The law laid down by the Supreme Court on the principal of condonation in the case of Dastane v. Dastane (AIR 1975 SC 1534) referred to above should be taken note of. It has been held that even though the condonation is not pleaded as defence by the respondent, it is court’s duty in view of the provisions of Section 23(1)(b) to find whether the cruelty was condoned by the appellant. That Section casts and obligation on the Court to consider the question of condonation, an obligation which has to be discharged even in undefended cases. The condonation means forgiveness of the matrimonial offence and the restoration of offending spouse to the same position as he or she occupied before the offence was committed. To constitute condonation there must be, therefore, two things forgiveness and restoration. Condonation of matrimonial offence is not to be likened to a full Presidential Pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution which, once granted, wipes out the guilt beyond the possibility of revival. The condonation is always subject to the implied condition that the offending spouse will not commit a fresh matrimonial offence, either of the same variety as the one condoned or of any other variety. No matrimonial offence is erased by condonation. It is obscured but not obliterated.

23. In the case at hand, there is firm and categorical evidence of the husband that after the compromise due to the intervention of the parents and well wishers of the wife resulting in non prosecution of his earlier divorce petition, his wife behaved normally only for a short time. Her normal conduct and behaviour was short-lived and she again resumed her old ways of misbehaviour, misconduct, insolence and ill treatment. She started abusing and insulting him and other members of his family. She renewed her old demand that he should leave his parents and live separately. She also threatened all of them that she would implicate them in false case. Succumbing to her pressure, he started living with her separately by tenanting a house in Sohbatiya Bagh but no improvement could occur in her behaviour. She continued to quarrel and misbehave with him, at times standing up to assault him. She did not allow him to meet his parents with his son. At last, she left his house on 27-5-1993 with her father whereafter occurred the final episode in between the night of 12/13th August, 1993 when she appeared at the house of his father with his two brother-in-law and her father. She created a big scene, shouting, screaming and abusing him and other members of his family mouthing filthiest words and ultimately she lodged a first information report against him and all other members of the family resulting in registering of a case under Section 498-A I.P.C. and under Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act which finally resulted in acquittal. In these circumstances, the wife cannot call to her aid the plea of condonation. There came to be revival of the original cause of action. We, therefore, reject the argument of condonation advanced by the learned counsel for the wife/appellant.

24. On consideration of the arguments articulated across the bar in the light of the available material, our view tuned by the evidence on record and related circumstances
is for endorsing the finding of the lower Court that a case is strongly made out for the dissolution of the marriage of the couple by the decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty caused by the wife to the husband. Really speaking, it is not a case of physical cruelty, but of mental one. Various instances referred to by the husband are not in nature of ordinary quarrels between the husband and wife. They are quite serious and demanding, constituting mental cruelty. Mental cruelty is capable of causing even more grievous injury. In the present case, mental cruelty caused by the wife to the husband is clearly perceptible from the whole facts emerging out of her misconduct and misbehaviour in daily life. Hers was not a single act of misconduct or misbehaviour. Rather the same formed a series of acts spread over a period of time. We are clear in our mind that her misbehaviour and misconduct tended to distroy the legitimate ends and objects of matrimony. It is not merely the incompatibility of temperament. She did not make any allegation regarding the character of her husband but came up with a bogus defence of having been ill-treated by her husband and in-laws over the demand of dowry. It is obvious that she raised this false plea to cover up her own cruelty heaped upon the husband. Her conduct was unnerving for the husband producing telling adverse effect on his mental faculties. There is irreparable breakdown in the matrimonial tie. Fountain of love and affection between the couple has completely dried up. The stage of irreversibility and irretrievability has reached and the blame squarely lies at the door of the wife who had been most inconsiderate and selfish. The marriage between the couple has to be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty caused by the wife to the husband.

25. At last, the learned counsel for the wife/appellant prayed and urged for awarding permanent alimony and maintenance in favour of the wife for her sustenance and that of her son aged a little over 11 years. We have seriously considered this aspect of the matter. Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act provides for the grant of permanent alimony and maintenance either at the time of passing a decree or at any time subsequent thereto. It is not disputed that the wife/ appellant is living with her parents since 1993. There is nothing to show that she owns any property or has any income . For the present, her parents are alive. Naturally, they must be in their old age. Nobody knows what would happen to her and her son in future. Her brothers, if any, may or may not take upon themselves the liability to bear
the financial burden of maintaining her and her son. After all, it is the legal duty of the husband to provide for her maintenance and for that of their son. Burning dearness is a stark reality. Inflation is the order of the day. Prices are shooting through the roof and the rupee is losing its purchase power very fast. On a holistic consideration of all the relevant aspects, we are of the view that the husband /respondent should be directed to pay a sum of Rs. 3 Lacs to the wife/ appellant as permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act so that she may maintain herself and her son at a moderate standard. She is aged about 35 years and has a son aged about 11-12 years who she has to properly bring up, educate and fix in life. If discreetly invested, the amount of Rs. 3 Lacs would fetch an interest of about 12% per annum viz. Rs. 3,000/- per month. This figure would just suffice her to lead a moderate life and discharging her responsibility towards her son who lives with her. While earning interest of about Rs. 3,000/-per month, liquid cash of Rs. 3 Lacs would, remain at her command and disposal which would be source of greatmental satisfaction to her,

26. In the net result, we are inclined to dismiss this appeal but would direct the payment of Rs. 3 Lacs as permanent alimony and maintenance to the wife/appellant under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act. We would direct this amount to be paid by the husband/respondent within three months from the date of this judgment. In case the payment is not made within the stipulated period, she would be entitled to execute this order as the decree of civil Court for recovery of Rs. 3 Lacs from her husband/respondent with interest @ 10% per annum from the date starting after expiry of three months from today till the date of actual recovery.

27. To sum up, we dismiss this appeal, but direct the husband/respondent to pay an amount of Rs. 3 Lacs by means of an account payee bank draft to the wife/appellant as permanent alimony and maintenance within three months from the date of this judgment. In case the payment is not made within the stipulated period, she would be entitled to execute this order as the decree of civil Court for recovery of Rs. 3 Lacs from her husband/respondent with interest (c) 10% per annum from the date starting after expiry of three months from today till the date of actual recovery.

28. There would be no order as to costs. Appeal dismissed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *