Assailing the character of a wife amounts to the worst form of mental assault: high court of Calcutta
In the decision reported in AIR 2003 Supreme Court 2462 it has been laid down that unfounded allegations by the husband assailing the moral character and chastity of the wife in his written statement amount to worst form of insult and cruelty sufficient by itself to pass a decree of divorce in favour of the wife-was upheld in the high court Calcutta, by the learned bench of Honourable Justices Nishita Mhatre and Honourable Justice Tapash Mookerjee, in the case of Sunita Saha V. Chandan Kumar Saha, F.A. No. 72 of 2008.
The petitioner who is the wife, filed for suit. the Petitioner and the Respondent were married on 29.11.1990 according to Hindu Rites and Customs. The marriage was duly consummated and a son was born on 28.07.1996 in the marriage. It was alleged by the Wife that within a short period after their marriage she was subjected to various kind of physical as well as mental torture by her Husband and other members of her Husband’s family, in different ways and her Husband used to often threaten her of divorce due to which she started living separately in her parental home but, the torture continued. It was further alleged by the Wife that after she started living separately in her parental home her Husband used to come to her parental home on weekends and her Husband used to abuse her mother and herself as well, for which they caused entries in the General Diary of the local Police Station on two occasions, but the Petitioner silently tolerated all those humiliations and tortures with hope for further peace but her Husband did not amend himself and she was ultimately deserted by her Husband. It was further alleged by the Petitioner that all her attempt for a peaceful marital life failed and she apprehended danger to his life and security in case of continuation of her marital tie with her Husband and hence she was compelled to file the Suit for dissolution of marriage on the ground of desertion and cruelty.
The Respondent filed written statement and contested the Suit. In his written statement the Husband denied all the material allegations against him and it was his specific case that he as well as his parents had all kinds of love and affection towards his Wife and it was at their encouragement and active cooperation his Wife continued her higher studies and built up her carrier in teaching at first in a School and thereafter in Colleges. It was the further case of the Husband that he always fulfilled all the demands of his Wife and that he invested time to time huge money in shares and other securities in the name of his Wife and with those funds his Wife purchased a flat according to her choice but treacherously the flat was purchased in the name of his mother-in-law. It was his further case that after his Wife had shifted to the aforesaid flat he used to visit there regularly at the weekends from his place of posting which was at Assansol at that time and he used to discharge all his duties as a Husband but his visit to that home was stopped by his Wife and mother-in-law. The gist of the defence of the Husband was that he never subjected his Wife to any kind of torture and that it was his Wife who at her free will tried to severe their matrimonial knot at the ill advice of his mother-in-law. Thus, denying the allegations in the plaint the Husband prayed for the dismissal of the Suit.
Mr Ghosh, learned Advocate appearing for the Appellant has frankly admitted that the Appellant has failed to prove that she has been deserted by her Husband. Mr Ghosh has also admitted that the manner of alleged torture on the Appellant has not been described anywhere either in the plaint or in the evidence of the Appellant which is a lacuna in the Appellant’s case in the trial. But, the main thrust of argument of Mr Ghosh is that the Respondent in his written statement as well as during evidence has raised certain allegations assailing the morality and character of the Appellant which themselves amount to cruelty to the Appellant and for such reasons alone a decree for divorce should have been passed in favour of the Appellant by the Trial Court. Mr Ghosh has further submitted that the parties are living separately for about fifteen years and the marriage has irretrievably broken down and hence the matrimonial tie between the parties is nothing but an unwanted burden on both the parties now and so it would be reasonable and good for both the parties to end such a dead relationship forever by law.
After considering the produced records from both the sides the trial court decided all the issues against the petitioner and hence dismissed the suit. Though the court laid out that the appellant has alleged in her plaint as well as in her evidence that she has been subjected to torture and harassment by her Husband. Neither in the plaint not during her evidence the appellant could prove her point.
The court also stated how the appellant narrated how and in which manners she has been thus tortured or harassed by her Husband. On the other hand, the Appellant during her cross examination admitted that initially after marriage she was treated well by her parents-in-law like their own daughter but subsequently the situations changed. But she has not explained what are those changes of situations.
It is needed to be mentioned that the Respondent has miserably failed to prove any of his allegations against his Wife described above. So, all those allegations of the Respondent against the Appellant are considered as baseless and vexatious. It has been laid down that unfounded allegations by the husband assailing the moral character and chastity of the Wife in his written statement amount to worst form of insult and cruelty sufficient by itself to pass a decree of divorce in favour of the wife. It should be also noted that in that case although the Husband had withdrawn such allegations by subsequent amendment of his written statement but still honourable Apex Court came to the aforesaid view.
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Judgement reviewed by – Rani Banerjee