Getting Divorce on Cruelty
The degree of proof needed to prove cruelty and getting divorce on grounds of it is far less than in the cases of 498a, because in divorce cases preponderance of evidence is more important than proving cruelty than proving it beyond reasonable doubt.
In recent judgement
Cruelty for the purpose of Section 13(1)(ia) is to be taken as a behavior by one spouse towards the other which causes reasonable apprehension in the mind of the latter that it is not safe for him or her to continue the matrimonial relationship with the other. Mental cruelty is a state of mind and feeling with one of the spouses due to the behavior or behavioral pattern by the other. Unlike the case of physical cruelty the mental cruelty is difficult to establish by direct evidence. It is necessarily a matter of inference to be drawn from the facts and circumstances of the case. A feeling of anguish, disappointment and frustration in one spouse caused by the conduct of the other can only be appreciated on assessing the attending facts and circumstances in which the two partners of matrimonial life have been living. The inference has to be drawn from the attending facts and circumstances taken cumulatively. In case of mental cruelty it will not be a correct approach to take an instance of misbehavior in isolation and then pose the question whether such behaviour is sufficient by itself to cause mental cruelty. The approach should be to take the cumulative effect of the facts and circumstances emerging from the evidence on record and then draw a fair inference whether the petitioner in the divorce petition has been subjected to mental trauma due to conduct of the other.
The major thing is that there is a breakdown of marriage because of the conduct and its not possible for husband and wife to live together, there should be a continuous atrocities and it should be apart from the normal wear and tear of marriage.
Making certain statements on the spur of the moment and expressing certain displeasure about the behavior of elders may not be characterized as cruelty. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels, normal wear and tear of married life which happens in day to day life in all families would not be adequate for grant of divorce on this ground.
Sustained unjustifiable and reprehensible conduct affecting physical and mental health of the other spouse may lead to mental cruelty.
Therefore for getting divorce on the ground on this ground, whole marriage is to be assessed by the court, remember that the policy of the court is on reconciliation, one or two incidence does not suffice the grounds of cruelty.
By: Nitish Banka
B.E LLB HONS