No person can be expected to live with constant abuse: Delhi High Court upholds divorce on ground of cruelty by wife

Every person is entitled to live with dignity and honour, and repeated use of derogatory words is clearly humiliating and would certainly amount to cruelty, the Court said.
No person can be expected to live with constant abuse: Delhi High Court upholds divorce on ground of cruelty by wife

The Delhi High Court recently observed that constant use of derogatory and humiliating words by a wife against her husband and his family amounts to cruelty as a ground for divorce [Deepti Bhardwaj v. Rajeev Bhardwaj].

While upholding the dissolution of marriage and consequent divorce of a couple, a Bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Vikas Mahajan noted,

"Repeated use of words of the nature as extracted herein hereinabove are clearly humiliating and would certainly amount to cruelty. No person can be expected to live with constant abuse being hurled upon him."

The Court was hearing a challenge by the appellant-wife against a family court order allowing the petition filed by the respondent-husband under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act seeking dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty. The lower court had also passed a decree of divorce in favour of the husband.

In her appeal, the wife contended that the family court had been swayed by a mere suggestion given by the counsel towards the end of the cross-examination of the husband that he had filed the petition for divorce for the reason that he was having an extra-marital affair with his co-worker.

It was noted that in the petition filed for divorce, the husband has specifically reproduced the taunts and the language used by the appellant and her father against him and his family.

Some of the instances of cruelty were spelt out as under:

  • "I am a superintendent in education department, your family is not upto our standard"

  • "2 kodi ka policewala hai tera baap, mera kuch nahi bigad sakta, ministry tak pahuch hai mere papa ki (your father has no reputation as a policeman, he can't harm me, my father has reach in the ministry)"

  • "main itna kharch nahi karti jitna teri dawao pe kharch hota hai (I don't spend as much as your medicines cost)”

  • "dikhayi nahi deta baat kar rahi hu, saans ki bimari hai lakwa nahi hai jo khud nahi le sakte dawai (can't you see, I'm talking, you have respiratory disease, not paralysis that you can't take medicine yourself)"

In response to these utterances, the Court said,

"Every person is entitled to live with dignity and honour. If the words as stated herein above are used against an individual, the same would be very derogatory and humiliating for the individual."

It thus found that the conduct of the appellant, which has been proved on record, is of such quality, magnitude and impact as would have caused mental agony, pain, anger and suffering to the husband on a regular and continuous basis, and thus clearly amounted to cruelty.

The Court also rejected the contention of wife that specific dates and times of instances of cruelty were not mentioned in the plea decided by family court.

"In the facts and circumstances of the case, would lose its significance for the reason that the respondent-husband has in his evidence specifically stated that whenever a quarrel would take place the appellant-wife would use those words against him and his family, which implies that the said words have been used -repeatedly over the period when they were together," the order stated.

Accordingly, the Court was of the view that there was no infirmity in the the family court's findings, and thus dismissed the appeal.

The appellant-wife was represented by Advocates Nishit Kush, Mercy Hussain, Siddharth Sikri and Kirti, while the respondent-husband was represented by Advocate Priyanka Gupta.

[Read Order]

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