Case Title: Santosh Meena vs Siddharth B.S. Meena
The division bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Virender Singh of Madhya Pradesh High court while upholding the findings of family court, held that the wife showing no respect towards the husband and his family would amount as cruelty towards the husband.
“The evidence available on record and as discussed above would suggest in definite terms that the behaviour of the appellant-wife was not respectful towards the respondent or his family member. The same would construe as a cruelty towards the husband. The evidence also goes to show that reason assigned by the appellant to leave her matrimonial house is not satisfactory and also that without any just and reasonable cause, she is residing separately from the husband. Both the parties are living separately since 13.08.2013 and no cohabitation took place between them since then. The wife is not much willing to stay with the husband. Under these circumstances, in our considered view, the learned Family Court rightly has granted decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty”.
The divorce was sought on the ground of cruelty and desertion. The learned Family Court found both the grounds proved but holding that statutory period of 2 years of desertion is not completed by the time of filing of the petition by the husband and, therefore, decree cannot be granted on that ground of desertion and allowed the petition on the ground of ‘cruelty’ and dissolved their marriage by a decree of divorce.
In the case on hand, the husband has deposed in his examination-in-chief that his wife is a very proud, arrogant, stubborn, short tempered and pretentious lady. She has a complex that she is a beloved daughter of an IPS officer. Since the day she entered in her matrimonial house, she started disobeying everyone stating that she is a progressive girl and neither likes nor follows the orthodox traditions. On her arrival in the matrimonial house after the marriage, when their relatives and people of their community came to greet her and her mother call her for a tradition of face unveiling (Muh Dikhai), she very rudely refused to come out of the room. When his mother tried to exhort her stating that this is an age old tradition, she started shouting that she doesn’t believe in such idiotic traditions and that she is not an article to be demonstrated before the people. From the day one, her behaviour with the elders of the family and the society was disrespectful and disgraceful. She used to insult his family member on one or the other issues. She was not cordial even with him and immediately after marriage started abusing and torturing him mentally, emotionally and even physically. She used to fight with him on petty issues and whenever he tried to pacify her, she often become even more furious. She used to misbehave and abuse him as well as his family members.
On the other hand, the wife has examined herself and her sister before the ld. Family Court. In their statements, both the sisters have made counter allegations of physical and mental cruelty. They both have deposed that the husband as well as his parents and other family members were taunting, insulting and harassing her for not bringing adequate dowry. On many of the occasions, husband went physical. The wife further deposed that whenever she wanted to call her family members, the husband used to say that this is his house and if she will call her family members, he will drive them out. When her mother’s health deteriorated, he herself called her to Mumbai and got her treated at Tata Memorial Hospital at his own expense. The husband neither gave any cooperation nor even gave any respect to her parents during their stay in Mumbai for the said treatment.
The bench observed that “On careful reading of statements of the witnesses examined by the respondent/husband before the Family Court, we do not find anything to consider them untrustworthy or doubtful on any of the material aspects. These statements are further corroborated by relevant documents which could not have been rebutted by the appellant/wife; while on the other hand, keeping in mind the traditions, most of the allegations of the appellant regarding post wedding ceremonies or delivery of the baby in Jaipur etc. are usual conduct and expectations of the respondent and his family”.