Wife’s allegation of infidelity is cruelty, says High Court; grants divorce to husband

The Delhi High Court has granted divorce to a man holding that his estranged wife’s false allegation of illicit relation between him and his widowed sister-in-law amounted to cruelty.

Holding that the allegations of illicit relations were not true, Justice J R Midha granted divorce to the man while setting aside a trial court’s order of judicial separation of the couple who were married in 1978 and were residing in London.

A decree of judicial separation does not dissolve a marriage and gives the couple time to introspect about their relationship and decide if they want to get back together, unlike a divorce which marks an end to marriage.

Both the man and woman had challenged the trial court decision by separate appeals.

The man wanted divorce contending that his wife was extremely suspicious, often accused him of flirting around, abused him, threw tantrums and was callous and irresponsible towards his mother.

He had also said that since filing of the divorce plea in 2002, they have been living separately and there is no possibility of retrieval of their marriage.

The woman had challenged the trial court decision claiming she was not cruel to her husband and instead he was cheating on her with his sister-in-law whenever he came to India.

Rejecting the woman’s claims, the high court said it “agrees with the trial court that the respondent (wife) has treated the petitioner (husband) with cruelty and he has neither condoned the acts of cruelty nor cohabited with her.”

“The petitioner has not taken advantage of any wrong as alleged by the respondent. This court is of the view that the petitioner is entitled to a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty,” it said, adding, “the marriage between the parties is dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty”.

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