The battle of matrimonial disputes between husband and wife becomes really bad when a lot of unsubstantiated allegations are put against each other in the proceedings.
For example what if wife puts an allegation that her husband has extramarital affair with his own sister in court in the written statement that is the reason she is not living with him.
Now this type of allegation is insulting, stigmatic and grave. The husband should get a divorce on this allegation alone if wife alleges the same and puts such allegations without any evidence.
Now efforts from the husband side should be to make a issue of this allegation and mark it as OPD. Means onus to prove this issue will be on the wife.
The Judgement of Smt. Sadhana Srivastava Wife Of … vs Sri Arvind Kumar Srivastava will be of much useful in this context.
The appellant-wife in her written statement denied the allegations of cruelty made by the husband in the petition for divorce. However, the fact of various litigation both civil and criminal between the parties and the compromise was admitted in the written statement.. In the additional pleas it was pleaded that behaviour of the respondent-husband was utterly dissatisfactory and against the pious relationship of the husband and wife and she was made target of shots of torture mentally, physically by all possible means by the husband, his parents, his elder brother and elder brother’s wife. Allegations of having an illicit and extra marital relation with one Km. Nitu Mehta @ Shalini, the sister of his elder brother’s wife were also made. It was also pleaded that; husband wanted to give elder son in adoption to his brother who’ was issueless. However, because of unwillingness and resistance put by wife, the husband could not succeed. It was further pleaded that husband found the presence of the wife and children as a hurdle in free access to Km Nitu @ Shalini and as such his behaviour became very undesirable to the extent that several times the wife and minor children were assaulted and beaten for no fault and without justification. On 9th June, the wife and children were abused and beaten and thrown out of the house and since then the husband never cared to maintain them. It was further alleged that on 18.1.1991 the husband with the help of softie undesirable elements forcibly took away the elder son. The wife also made allegation in the written statement that the husband himself was responsible for the murder of the younger son.
Issue no.(7) was framed by the Family court about the alleged illicit and extra marital relationship of the husband. However, the appellant-wife herself moved an application dated 22.1.1997 stating that she did not want to press the said issue. She also did not led any evidence and accordingly, the said issue was decided in negative.
Nevertheless, the allegations were made, were serious in nature and merely by not pressing the issue on the point would not loose their impact and were there on the record of the case. Unfounded allegations of adultery made against the wife though not pressed during the proceedings have been held by the Hon’ble Apex Court to be cruel conduct by the husband entailing the wife to seek relief of divorce. In the case of R. Balasubramanian v. Vijayalakshmi Balasubramanian, it has been observed by the Apex Court as follows :
“Learned counsel appearing for the husband submitted that as far us the allegation of adultery against respondent-wife is concerned he is not going to press, That may be good of him but the fact remains that the allegation that the wife had sexual intercourse with a person other than (he husband is a serious allegation against the wife and shows the cruel conduct of the husband entitling the wife to seek relief against him under the Act or otherwise”.
In yet another decision in the case of Vijaykumar Rumchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, , the Apex Court has held that allegation of extra marital relationship constitutes grave assaultion the character, honour and reputation of wife. Such allegations though withdrawn by seeking amendment in written statement which may have been allowed amounts to cruelty entitling the petitioner to a decree of divorce. Following observations made by the Court may be relevant to quote :
“That apart, even the fact that the application for amendment seeking deletion of the accusations made in the written statement was ordered and amendments carried out subsequently does not absolve the husband in this case, from being held liable for having treated the wife with cruelty by making earlier such injurious reproaches and statements, due to their impact when made and continued to remain on record. To satisfy the requirement of Clause (I-a) of Sub-section (I) of Section 13 of the Act, it is not as though the cruel treatment for any particular duration or period has been statutorily stipulated to be necessary. As to what constitutes the required mental cruelty for purposes of the said provision, will not depend upon the numerical count of such incidents or only on the continuous course of such conduct, but really goes by the intensity, gravity and stigmatic impact of it when meted 6ut even once and the deleterious effect of it on the mental attitude necessary for maintaining a conducive matrimonial home If the taunts, complaints and reproaches are of ordinary nature only, the courts perhaps need to consider the further Question as to whether their continuance or persistence over a period of time render, what normally would, otherwise, not he so serious an act to be so injurious and painful as to make the spouse charged with them genuinely and reasonably conclude that the maintenance of matrimonial home is not possible any longer A conscious and deliberate statement leveled with pungency and that too placed on record, through the written statement, cannot so lightly be ignored or brushed aside, to he of no conseauence merely because it came to be removed from the record only. The allegations leveled and the incidents enumerated in the case oh hand, apart from they being per se cruel in nature, on their own also constitute an admission of the fact that for quite some time in the past the husband had been persistently indulging in them, unrelented and unmindful of their impact. That the husband in this case has treated the wife with intense cruelty is a fact, which became a fait accompli the day they were made in the Written statement. They continued on record at any rate till the carrying of the amendment of the written statement and the indelible impact and scar they initially would have created, cannot be said to have got ipso factor dissolved, with (he amendments ordered. Therefore, no exception could be taken to the courts below placing reliance on the said conduct of the appellant, in this regard, to record a finding against him.”
What has been observed by the Apex Court in the case of wife will stand true and with equal force in the case of a husband as well. The allegation of having illicit relationship and extra marital affair made by the appellant wife against the respondent husband in her written statement, in our view, cannot but constitute mental cruelty of such a nature that respondent husband cannot be reasonably asked to live with the wife. Thus we see no illegality in the finding recorded by the trial Judge that the allegations of having illicit relationship and extra marital affair made by the wife against the husband amounted to cruelty.
Thus court granted divorce on this ground alone that wife was not able to prove extramartial affair.
Adv. Nitish Banka