The phrase “cruelty” refer to either physical or mental abuse: Uttarakhand High Court

The phrase “cruelty” refer to either physical or mental abuse is upheld by the Uttarakhand High Court in the case of Anita Gaur v. Rajesh Gaur through a Division Bench of Ravi Malimath and Narayan Singh Dhanik, JJ.


Rajesh Gaur, the plaintiff and Anita Gaur the defendant were legally wed in accordance with Hindu traditions and rituals. They then moved to Mumbai, where the plaintiff was operating his business. There were also two unmarried births of children.

Later, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, seeking a divorce judgement based on cruelty. He claimed that his wife’s conduct abruptly changed five years ago, and valuable items, including jewellery, cash, and other items, began to disappear from the residence.

Furthermore, he claimed that two to three years later, he began getting calls from dishonest people warning him to return the money or risk being kidnapped. When questioned, the plaintiff admitted to him that she had borrowed money with interest of 10% per month and had also bought clothing and ornaments on credit.

After receiving repeated threats of being kidnapped and having his apartment taken, the defendant fearing for his life and freedom, made the decision to return to Dehradun with his wife. Subsequently, a Panchayat was held in the village, during which the defendant acknowledged her writing errors, but even then, fights and scenes continued to occur frequently, making it impossible for the plaintiff to continue living with the defendant.


The Court explained that the phrase “cruelty” was not defined by the Act and might refer to either physical or mental abuse while rejecting the appeal and upholding the Family Court’s ruling. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Praveen Mehta v. Inderjit Mehta, 2002, which stated that “Mental cruelty cannot be established by direct evidence and is necessarily a matter of inference to be drawn from the facts and circumstances of the case,” was one of the rulings that the Court cited.

The Court held that all of these behaviors and acts are cruel. The defendant repeatedly mistreated and was abusive to her husband.

Accordingly, the appeal against Family Court’s decision and order granting the plaintiff’s  motion for the dissolution of marriage was dismissed by the Uttaranchal High Court.

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