The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld a divorce granted in 2004 on grounds that the wife had leveled allegations against her father-in-law which she could not prove, due to which her act amounted to subjecting her husband to mental cruelty.
While rejecting an appeal filed by the wife challenging the 2004 family court order, a division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A S Chandurkar said, "It is clear that if one party makes wild and reckless allegations as regards to the character of the other party or any near relative of the other party and such allegations remain unsubstantiated, they amount to causing cruelty within the meaning of the sections under the Hindu Marriage Act."
The couple had married in 1998, but had been staying together for four years before their marriage. In 2003, the husband filed a divorce petition, and the wife filed an application seeking maintenance. The petition was then withdrawn by the husband and refilled in 2004.
In the petition, the husband had alleged that his wife would often threaten to commit suicide and to undergo an abortion. Moreover, she had made wild and reckless allegations against her father-in-law, would not help her mother-in-law in household work and commented on his financial status, he claimed.
The father-in-law then filed an affidavit in the family court denying all allegations leveled by the woman. The husband examined his father in court, but he was not cross-examined by his daughter-in-law. The family court then granted a divorce to the couple while rejecting the grounds for cruelty on the basis that the woman had been unable to prove the allegations she had leveled against the father-in-law.
It was on this basis that the high court upheld the divorce, adding that the since the charges were unproven, they amounted to mental cruelty towards the husband. As regards to maintenance, the court ordered the husband to continue to pay the woman an amount fixed by the family court, but granted both liberty to move court for an increase or reduction in the amount.