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Delhi High Court grants divorce to woman, includes financial stability as ground under mental cruelty

The High Court of Delhi has recently granted divorce to a woman on the grounds of desertion and mental cruelty, stating that the term was wide enough to take within its ambit the financial instability of a spouse.

The Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed that it was easy to decipher the mental trauma in the present case as the appellant (wife) was working and the respondent was not working, which led to a huge disparity in their financial status.

It further took in view the fact that the endeavours of the respondent to be able to sustain himself had admittedly failed. 

Such kind of financial instability of the respondent (husband) not being able to settle in any business or profession was bound to result in mental anxiety to the appellant (wife), which also resulted in other vices and could be termed as a constant source of mental cruelty to the appellant, noted the Division Bench.

The High Court passed the orders on a petition filed by the woman challenging a family court order, which refused to grant her divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion by her  husband. 

As per the appellant, she got married to the respondent in 1989 and they parted ways in 1996 after residing together for seven years.

She said at the time of marriage, parents of the respondent represented that their son had a good financial status and that they owned a two and a half storey bungalow. 

However, the appellant subsequently came to know that her husband was not a graduate, had no job as represented and that the only money he used to get was from his mother.

She alleged that the husband and his family started making demands for money after marriage. She claimed that she suffered from cruelty and that was deserted by the husband for more than two years prior to filing of the divorce petition by her.

The High Court observed that while the respondent asserted that he made several efforts to bring the appellant back to her matrimonial home, there was no evidence to show that he made any sincere efforts of bringing her back. 

It further took in view the fact that the parties have been living separately since November 1996 and no conciliation has taken place for the past about 27 years and noted that the parties were unable to sustain their matrimonial relationship.

As per the Division bench, for a couple to be deprived of each other’s company and of conjugal relationship could be interpreted only as amounting to mental cruelty. Noting that a dead relationship would only bring pain and agony, the High Court refused to be a party to perpetuation of such mental cruelty.

The Division Bench said the separation of more than 27 years since December 1996 could be a ground for dissolution of marriage under cruelty and held that the appellant was entitled to divorce on the ground of cruelty under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

It noted that the respondent had separated from the appellant in 1996 and had no intention to resume the matrimonial ties. Further, the respondent had separated with an intent to not resume the matrimonial relationship for a period of more than two years prior to the filing of this petition. Therefore, the appellant was also entitled to divorce on the ground of desertion under Section 13(1)(ib) of the Act.

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