"Looking at the social status of the parties, the enormity and magnitude of this act (FIR against wife) is such that it clearly constitutes cruelty," observed a division bench of justices VK Tahilramani and VL Achliya, who dismissed an appeal filed by the wife against a family court order.
In this case, the family court, had on January 19, 1993, granted the husband divorce on grounds of cruelty.
The couple got married on March 3, 1991, and had a son on June 1992.
The husband, who sought divorce, alleged that the woman was in the habit of lying and stealing money. She had forged other people's signatures and withdrew money from their bank account.
In May 2008, an FIR was lodged against her by a colleague alleging debit card fraud. She allegedly stole a colleague's debit card and withdrew Rs 37,000, stated the husband's counsels–Vivek Kantawala and Urvi Dave.
She was arrested and was in custody for five days.
Milan Desai and Sunil Dubey, counsels for the wife, opposed the allegations and sought setting aside the family court order.
However, the HC noted that records showed she had been arrested and was in custody for many days. "This shows wilful and unjustifiable conduct on the part of the appellant (wife) which has justifiably caused an apprehension in the mind of the husband regarding her mental wellness."
The judges said: "This single incident by itself is of such a serious nature that it would make it impossible for the respondent (husband) to live with the appellant (wife) without mental agony, torture or distress. It is sufficient to entitle the respondent to secure divorce on the ground of cruelty."
According to her son, who testified before the family court, his mother had stopped cooking for him and his father, and used to prepare food only for herself. Apart from his family members, the wife's brother and father too had, in their testimony, supported the man, Kantawala told HC.
"In Indian society, the closest people to a woman are her father, mother, brother, sister, husband and children. Among these persons, her husband, father, brother and son have deposed against her. This may be the first matrimonial dispute in which the elder brother and father of a woman are deposing against their sister/daughter in favour of the son-in-law. Not only that, her son also deposed against the appellant," observed the HC.
Desai argued that these people had falsely deposed against her as the man had given them money.
Dismissing her appeal, the judges said: "There has been no effort on the part of the appellant to change for the better. In fact, day by day her illegal activities have been getting more and more serious. The effect of the conduct of the appellant cannot be said to be ordinary wear and tear of married life. In fact, her conduct is so grave and weighty that the respondent cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with her."