Husband cohabiting with another woman after long separation from wife not cruelty: Delhi High Court

The Court said that after long years of separation, the husband may have found peace and comfort by living with another woman and this cannot disentitle him from divorce from his wife.
Delhi High Court, couple
Delhi High Court, couple

The Delhi High Court recently held that a husband living with another woman long after his separation from wife cannot be termed cruelty when there is no possibility of reunion.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna said that after such long years of separation with no possibility of re-union, the husband may have found his peace by living with another woman and this cannot disentitle him from divorce from his wife.

“Even if it is accepted that the respondent-husband has started living with another woman and has two sons during the pendency of divorce petition, that in itself, cannot be termed as cruelty in the peculiar circumstances of this case when the parties have not been co-habiting since 2005. After such long years of separation with no possibility of re-union, the respondent husband may have found his peace and comfort by living with another woman, but, that is a subsequent event during the pendency of the divorce petition and cannot disentitle the husband from divorce from the wife on the proven grounds of cruelty,” the Court observed.

It added that the consequence of such liaison shall be borne by the respondent-husband, the woman and the children. 

The Court rejected a plea by a woman challenging the family court order granting divorce to husband on grounds of cruelty under Section 13(1)(ia) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The couple had got married on December 3, 2003 but disputes soon arose and they started living separately in 2005.

It was alleged that the wife subjected her husband to cruelty by creating several problems and even had him beaten up by her brother and relatives. It was informed that the wife and her family members have been convicted for offences under Section 506(II) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well.

The appellant-wife contended that they had a lavish wedding and despite that the husband made several demands. She said that she was given some medicines by her mother-in-law with an assurance that a son would be born but it was intended to abort her pregnancy.

After considering the case, the Court noted that even though the wife had claimed that she was subjected to harassment for dowry and cruelty, she has not been able to substantiate her assertions and this amounts to an act of cruelty.

The Court said that it was only in the appeal that the woman first claimed that her husband got married and sired two sons. However, the Bench added that neither any specific details nor any proof of the alleged second marriage has been tendered on record or given in the complaints to the police.

Therefore, the Court rejected the appeal and upheld the trial court order granting divorce.

Advocates RK Bali, Pragya Verma and Meghna Bali appeared for the wife.

The husband was represented by advocates Sahil Malik, Abhishek Kumar and Jitender.

[Read Judgment]

Matrimonial judgement.pdf
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