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A husband in an illicit relationship cannot ask the Court to dissolve his valid marriage in order to legalise his illicit union with another lady

A husband in an illicit relationship cannot ask the Court to dissolve his valid marriage in order to legalise his illicit union with another lady is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case of Libin Varghese v. Rajani Anna Mathew (Mat. Appeal No. 456 of 2020) through a Division Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ.

FACTS OF THE CASE

A husband who lost his divorce case due to spousal abuse went before the court to challenge the Family Court’s decision. Although they had a fairly amicable and harmonious marriage up until 2018, the husband appellant claimed that after that, the respondent started acting strangely and frequently started fights with him without cause.

He further claimed that his wife, that is, the respondent who he claimed was abusive, violent, and indifferent, caused him to become physically and mentally unwell.

JUDGMENT

According to the Court’s analysis of the facts and the available evidence, the appellant’s claims of cruelty against the respondent were not supported by sufficient evidence to support the dissolution of their marriage. The Court said that the appellant was required to know the cause of such behavioural changes in his wife, whether it was medical, mental, or psychological, as a responsible husband. No evidence exists that he ever took his wife to a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine the cause of her irrational behaviour. Even though his own mother and a close relative of his own testified in court that the couple had a love marriage, the appellant did not mention or acknowledge that fact.

The respondent claims that up until 2018, her marriage to the appellant was very amicable and that after that point, he tried to avoid her and her kids. The appellant’s mother and other close family members unequivocally testified that after engaging in some illegal contact with a woman by the name of Anjali in the year 2017, the appellant sought to avoid his wife, kids, and even his own mother. When his own elderly mother was standing by the respondent, the appellant did not hesitate to call into doubt her virginity.

The Court concluded that the appellant sought to prolong his unholy union with another lady while avoiding the respondent and her children in light of the aforementioned. The Court observed that when the wife had good reason to doubt her husband’s chastity or loyalty, and if she confronts him or expresses her deep grief and pain before him, it cannot be characterised as deviant behaviour because it is the typical human behaviour of a normal wife.

As a result, the Court dismissed the appellant’s claim of mental cruelty stating that courts cannot intervene on behalf of a wrongdoer to have his activities, which are inherently illegal, legalised. Without any good cause, a husband in an illicit relationship cannot ask a court to dissolve his valid marriage in order to legalise his illicit union with another lady in order to evade his legally married wife and his three young children.

As a result, the Court maintained the Family Court’s determination that the appellant is not entitled to a divorce decision based on matrimonial cruelty.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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