Can I get divorce if I am acquitted in 498a?

These days filing 498a and divorce are becoming an ordeal in a Matrimonial cases in the country.

Once a wife files 498a which is without any evidence of course and as a result of which husband files divorce petition under section 13(1)(i-a) i.e divorce on the grounds of cruelty.

If any party does not have evidence they fail..

But what will happen when if wife fails and husband gets acquittal in false 498a will he get divorce?

In Rani Narasimha Sastry v. Rani Suneela Rani this the recent Judgement of apex court in which a detailed discussion of the issue of acquittal in 498a and consequent divorce taken place.

In this case wife had filed a false 498a against the husband and relatives and husband has filed divorce on ground of cruelty and mental disorder.

The Husband case was dismissed at Family court as well as the High Court and reached Supreme court.

Now the important thing was that his 498a case was not decided at the stage of family court and High court has held


14…..Merely because the respondent has sought for maintenance or has filed a complaint against the petitioner for the offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC, they cannot be said to be valid grounds for holding that such a recourse adopted by the respondent amounts to cruelty.”

But Hon’ble Supreme court has made a different observations

The above observation of the High Court cannot be approved. It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution for redressal for his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot  ipso facto be treated as cruelty. But when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband. As per pleadings before us, after parties having been married on 14.08.2005, they lived together only 18 months and thereafter they are separately living for more than a decade now.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court granted divorce on this alone.

In a recent case in Kolkata High Court in the case

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court has ruled in March 2020, that falsely implicating one’s husband/ his family in a criminal case, which leads to their arrest and subsistence in jail, amounts to cruelty.

The Appellant/husband had moved the high court against an order of the Additional District Judge, who had declined the Appellant’s divorce petition.

Case:

  • Couple had got married in February 2002
  • According to the husband, within 2-3 years of marriage, wife under the influence of her family started misbehaving with her in-laws
  • The wife was accused of not doing any domestic work in the joint family and after constant fights on a daily basis, in February 2004, the husband’s parents shifted to a separate home, while his brother and his family moved into a rented apartment
  • Even when the couple was now living as a nuclear family, the husband alleged of being constantly harassed physically and mentally since his wife was an active member of one Mahila Samity
  • In 2007, the couple argued on the admission of their son to a particular school, which is when the wife attacked husband with a sickle
  • This is when the man filed for a juridicial separation, post which the wife slapped him and his family with a series of criminal charges

In his appeal to the High Court, the husband argued that his wife had lodged a false complaint against him and his family under Sections 498A, 406 and 313 of IPC for cruelty and causing miscarriage without her consent. It was further pointed out that on her filing the false complaint, he and his father were arrested and put under nine days police custody for investigation. Later on however, the trial court found that the claim of the respondent/wife was not supported by medical evidence or other material placed on record, and all of them were acquitted.

While allowing an appeal for divorce preferred by an aggrieved husband, Justices Samapti Chatterjee and Manojit Mandal observed,

The respondent/wife, in our opinion, had no intention of living with the husband as would appear from the facts and circumstances of the case and respondent/wife deliberately made wild allegations against the husband and his relatives. Inference can be drawn that the wife had no intention to reside with the husband and her intention was to terminate the matrimonial relationship.

Hence such acts of the respondent/wife, specially filing a criminal case and for which her husband and father-in-law languished in the custody amounts to cruelty so as to create an apprehension about life and, thus, it amounts to ground of divorce.

The Appellant/husband had moved the high court against an order of the Additional District Judge, who had declined the Appellant’s divorce petition.

He argued that his wife had lodged a false complaint against him and his family under Sections 498A, 406 and 313 of IPC for cruelty and causing miscarriage without her consent. It was further pointed out that on her filing the false complaint, he and his father were arrested and put under nine days police custody for investigation. Later on however, the trial court found that the claim of the respondent/wife was not supported by medical evidence or other material placed on record, and all of them were acquitted.

April, 2007, following a dispute regarding admission of his son in the village school, she assaulted him with a sickle and lastly petitioner/husband was forced to file a suit for a decree of judicial separation, which was registered as MAT Suit No. 125 of 2007 and which was subsequently compromised on 12th June, 2007. Thereafter, they lived peacefully for some days. Further case of the petitioner/husband is that to prevent birth of further issue, they used to use contraceptive pills but since the respondent/wife had forgotten to use the same, she was conceived again and on 17th June, 2007, the respondent/wife got aborted in one Nursing Home out of her own volition and even going against the intention of him.

It is the further case of the petitioner/husband that on 21st June, 2007, when the petitioner/husband got back at home after having bath in a nearby pond, the respondent/wife did not allow him to enter into the room and kept him standing with wet wearing apparels for at least 11⁄2 hours and in spite of being requested on numerous times, respondent/wife did not open the door and hence petitioner/husband was forced to take shelter in another house, where his parents used to reside and on the very same day in the evening when he had been to the former house, he was abused and was not allowed to stay in that house. Thereafter, on 23rd June, 2007, the respondent/wife lodged a false complaint against him, his parents, his brother and sisters-in-law and treating the compliant as FIR being No. 152, one case under Sections 498A, 406 and 313 of the Indian Penal Code was started against them. Further case of the petitioner/husband is that respondent/wife had been inflicting tortures upon them since long back.

Adv. Nitish Banka

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