Unfounded allegations against the spouse for affecting his/her job amounts to mental cruelty: Bombay High Court
Making unfounded allegations against the spouse or his/her relatives in the pleadings or making complaints with a view to affecting the job of the spouse amounts to causing mental cruelty to the said spouse. Bombay High Court bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice AS Chandurkar and Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala gave the judgment in the case of Thalraj vs. Jyoti [Family Appeal no. 70 of 2015] by citing the above-stated reasons.
In the instant case, the appellant and the respondent were married to each other on 27-4-2008 and had a kid. The respondent had alleged that in 2010, her husband and his family members started beating her, took all her gold ornaments, and were forced to drive away from her matrimonial house. Therefore, the respondent had filed a case against the appellant u/s 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for Restitution of Conjugal Rights. But the proceedings were dismissed and therefore the respondent had filed a petition for seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. On the contrary, the appellant and his family members denied all the allegations against them. Appellant had argued that the respondent and her family members belonged to ‘Rajput’ caste but they had obtained spurious caste certificate of belonging to ‘Rajput Bhamta’ for securing employment.
The parties led evidence before the Family Court and after considering the same the learned Judge of the Family Court held that the respondent had proved that the appellant was treating her with cruelty. It was further held that the allegation of desertion was not proved since a continuous period of not less than two years prior to the filing of the divorce petition had not elapsed. Hence by the impugned judgment, the Family Court proceeded to pass a decree for divorce on the ground of cruelty. Being aggrieved, the appellant appeared in the High Court.
In the High Court, the appellant’s counsel had argued that the allegations with regard to cruelty being inflicted by the appellant were not duly proved by the respondent. It was then submitted that the appellant had brought on record sufficient evidence to indicate that the respondent was suffering from epilepsy and this fact was not disclosed by the family members of the respondent to the family of the appellant before their marriage. But the respondent’s counsel argued that all the allegations were false and the making unsubstantiated false allegations resulted in causing mental cruelty to the respondent.
Observing the arguments and pieces of evidence from both the parties, High Court contended that in the written statement the husband did not plead that his wife was suffering from Epilepsy and hence was just a false allegation. It was observed that the husband had made various complaints to his wife’s employer so that they could fire her from the job.
Therefore, the High Court bench stated that “It thus becomes clear that making of unfounded allegations against the spouse or his/her relatives in the pleadings or making complaints with a view to affecting the job of the spouse amounts to causing mental cruelty to the said spouse. However, it appears from the conduct of the husband that in one way or the other he intended to prejudice the service of the wife.” Hence, High Court dismissed the appeal of the appellant and agreed for granting the decree of divorce to the respondent. The court stated that the wild and unsubstantiated allegations of the appellant caused mental cruelty to the respondent.