On what ground you should file divorce Adultery or Cruelty when wife/husband has extramarital affair?

There is a big confusion among people regarding ground on which the divorce can be filed in court when wife or husband has extra martial affair.

There are two grounds on which the situation can be address one is Adultery and other is cruelty.

Now depending on the evidence the above question can be answered.

Now on the ground of adultery the evidence required is bit strong and her are some case laws

Divorce on Adultery

Under the Hindu Marraige Act, 1955 adultery word is not used in the Section 13 1(i) of the HMA 1955

13. Divorce- (1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the
commencement of the Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or
the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party-
(i) has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse
with any person other than his or her spouse;

Divorce on Adultery

Now How to prove Adultery in Indian Courts?

The courts in India puts heavy burden on the person who is saying that his estranged spouse and invoked the provision of section 13 1(i) of the HMA 1955. Anything short may come under the crueltyground and petition of divorce can be dismissed, therefore it very important to consider whether constitute adultery or not.

Though direct evidence of adultery is rarely adduced but largely the evidence is circumstantial.

What are the  facts that can prove adultery?

Since circumstantial evidence is the basis of proving adultery, the circumstance like wife and her paramour lived in a Hotel for 1 night and no explanation is given by the wife to this effect then adultery is presumed for this entry in Hotel register, CCTV footage with certificate under section 65B of IT act. It is important to make paramour also a party to the suit though no decree can be sought against the paramour. it is important the evidence of witnesses in are of equal weight age like A Husband brings his girlfriend to house in absence of wife and take her into bedroom. the witnesses can be grown up children, neighbors, maid etc. These are the circumstances where adultery can be presumed.

But a mere suspicion that wife was not home whole night is not enough to prove adultery. There should be voluntary sexual intercourse and if husband tries to create a situation wherein a wife is left alone with male person not his husband under such circumstances it is not adultery. A rape on wife is not adultery.

Even if the paramour of the wife writes filthy letter that too also does not come into an ambit of adultery. what adultery is in the eyes of a reasonable man?  that circumstances are such that a reasonable man would think its adultery. like wife is living with paramour for more than 7 months . Another thing is merely having flirtatious conversation with a person not his/her husband/wife does not mean adultery, though it can come under mental cruelty. Wife conceiving a child and husband was away for 365 days is a conclusive proof.

Conclusion

The ingredients for proving adultery are like the facts in which the intimacy is such that in the eyes of the reasonable man, such intimacy is there, credible evidence needs to be produced before the court to prove adultery merely on the basis of whims fancies suspicion the same cannot be proved. The court also  put the heavy burden of proof on the person alleging. Divorce on adultery is difficult.

In case of Extra Martial affair

In the case of extra martial affair the burden of proof is not that strong the main difference is here you do not have to show physical intimacy proof.

In H Vs. W it is held that the trial court had made a mistake in assesment with regards to evidence the petitioner had infact filed the divorce on the ground of cruelty and not adultery and evidence is different. The court admitted greeting cards and other material like letter and granted divorce on ground of cruelty. Now this judgement is not available online I am publishing extract.

Now another good judgement holding in this field is Barnali sen Vs. Debashish Sen

 From the evidence adduced on behalf of the respective parties it is quite clear, as observed by the learned trial Court, that the appellant was not leading an unblemished life. Even if the evidence of P.Ws. 1, 2 and 3 is treated with circumspection, there is no reason to disbelieve P.W.4, an elderly lady, who quite candidly stated that at the time of her oral testimony she had no sympathy for her daughter-in-law. She too deposed of how Burki Saha’s mother and sister came to her house and threatened her and other members of her family about the appellant’s relationship with Burki Sana which compelled them to shift to the respondent’s unfinished flat at Manicktala. She also stated that even after the family shifted to Manicktala from Paikpara, the appellant did not change her ways and continued to roam outside the house.

57. The evidence of P.W.4 completely supports the case of the respondent, and, on the other hand, it is highly significant that none of the appellant’s family members came to depose or support the appellant’s case. Such conduct is hardly expected from the family members of an Individual whose married life was at stake in the suit, unless they had wilfully chosen to stay aloof which casts a shadow over the simplistic defence taken on behalf of the appellant that the respondent had filed the suit for divorce as she was unable to satisfy his sexual appetite after her repeated operations, including removal of her uterus, which left her in continuous pain.

58. The general view adopted by the Supreme Court and the High Courts is that cruelty against a spouse must be specifically pleaded and such acts of cruelty should be discernible from the evidence adduced, the standard of proof being of a lesser degree than a criminal trial.

59. In our view, the preponderance of events which appears from the evidence adduced by the parties clearly supports the case of mental cruelty made on behalf of the respondent husband who appears to have been compelled to file the suit for divorce after a series of incidents where the marital fidelity of the appellant came to be questioned and the marital ties came under severe strain. In our view, the circumstances were sufficient to establish mental cruelty suffered by the respondent on account of the actions of the appellant.

In P.V. Prakash v/s R. Bindu & Another

As far as the ground of cruelty urged by the husband is concerned, the Family Court has referred to the evidence adduced and found that maintaining a relationship with another person during the subsistence of the marriage with the husband has caused mental cruelty to the husband. In so far as this case is concerned, Exts.A2 and A3 and the oral evidence of PW1 and PW2 proved the subsistence of an illicit relationship between the wife and the 2nd respondent or else she would not have made calls to him for long durations and at odd hours and he would not have come to know the details of the sexual acts between the husband and the wife.

14. As far as the case of selfishness of the husband pleaded by the wife is concerned, his evidence amply demonstrated his concern for the wife and children. As far as the allegation that after obtaining lakhs and lakhs of rupees, husband has now fabricated a case for getting divorce is concerned, there again, the evidence of wife herself disproves this case. She has admitted before the Family Court that the husband used to send money to her account in SBI, Kannur from which she and her father used to withdraw substantial amounts. The husband had deposited Rs.3,00,000/- in the Post Office, Pazhayangadi in her name from which she was getting Rs.3,000/- per month. She also admitted that in Madayi Co-operative Bank, there is a Fixed Deposit of Rs.5,00,000/- in her name made by the husband. She has also admitted that her children’s birthday used to be celebrated in an extravagant manner. She has confessed that her mother-in-law and the sister-in-law were cordial to her. Her evidence also showed that the husband had given her 14 sovereigns of gold and that the children were given chains weighing 1 sovereigns each at the time of their birthday. This therefore showed that the husband was a generous man and a loving and affectionate father.

15. It is true that the counsel for the wife referred to the observations of the Family Court that “from a totality of the evidence of RW1, it can be seen that it was PW1 who has foisted such allegations against her in order to have a divorce”. He also referred to the sentence “a totality of the evidence of RWs 1 and 2 proved that they have no acquaintance with the 2nd respondent.”

16. According to him, in view of these findings, the Family Court could not have granted any relief to the husband. However, if these findings are read in the context in which these observations are made, it can very well be seen that all that the Family Court was trying to convey was that this was the version of RWs 1 and 2 and were not findings arrived at by the Family Court.

17. This is a case where mental cruelty is pleaded and found by the Family Court. Concept of mental cruelty and the standard of proof that is required has come up for consideration of the Apex Court in Jayachandra v. Aneel Kaur (2005(1) KLT 26) and in para 10 to 13 of the judgment, the Apex Court has held thus;

10. The expression “cruelty” has not been defined in the Act. Cruelty can be physical or mental. Cruelty which is aground for dissolution of marriage may be defined as willful and unjustifiable conduct of such character as to cause danger to life, limb or health, bodily or mental, or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such a danger. The question of mental cruelty has to be considered in the light of the norms of marital ties of the particular society to which the parties belong, their social values, status, environment in which they live. Cruelly, as noted above, includes mental cruelly, which falls within the purview of a matrimonial wrong. Cruelty need not be physical. If from the conduct of his spouse same is established and/or an inference can be legitimately drawn that the treatment of the spouse is such that it causes an apprehension in the mind of the other spouse, about his or her mental welfare then this conduct amounts to cruelty. In delicate human relationship like matrimony, one has to see the probabilities of the case. The concept, a proof beyond the shadow of doubt, is to be applied to criminal trials and not to civil matters and certainly not to matters of such delicate personal relationship as those of husband and wife. Therefore, one has to see what are the probabilities in a case and legal cruelty has to be found out, not merely as a matter of fact, but as the effect on the mind of the complainant spouse because of the acts or omissions of the other. Cruelty may be physical or corporeal or may be mental. In physical cruelty, there can be tangible and direct evidence, but in the case of mental cruelty there may not at the same time be direct evidence. In cases where there is no direct evidence, Courts are required to probe into the mental process and mental effect of incidents that are brought out in evidence. It is in this view that one has to consider the evidence in matrimonial disputes.

11. The expression Rs.cruelty’ has been used in relation to human conduct or human behaviour. It is the conduct in relation to or in respect of matrimonial duties and obligations. Cruelty is a course or conduct of one, which is adversely affecting the other.

The cruelty may be menial or physical, intentional or unintentional. If it is physical, the Court will have no problem in determining it. It is a question of fact and degree. If it is mental, the problem presents difficulties. First, the enquiry must begin as to the nature of cruel treatment, second the impact of such treatment in the mind of the spouse, whether it caused reasonable apprehension that it would be harmful or injurious to live with the other. Ultimately, it is a matter of inference to be drawn by taking into account the nature of the conduct and its effect on the complaining spouse. However, there may be a case where the conduct complained of itself is bad enough and per se unlawful or illegal. Then the impact or injurious effect on the other spouse need not be enquired into or considered. In such cases, the cruelty will be established if the conduct itself is proved or admitted {See Sobh Rani v. Madhukar Reddi (AIR 1988 SC 121)).

12. To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be “grave and weighty” so as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse, It must be something more serious than “ordinary wear and tear of married life”. The conduct, taking into consideration the circumstances and background has to be examined to reach the conclusion whether the conduct complained of amounts to cruelty in the matrimonial law. Conduct has to be considered, as noted above, in the background of several factors such as social status of parties, their education, physical and mental conditions, customs and traditions. It is difficult to lay down a precise definition or to give exhaustive description of the circumstances, which would constitute cruelty. It must be of the type as to satisfy the conscience of the Court that the relationship between the parties had deteriorated to such an extent due to the conduct of the other spouse that it would be impossible for them to live together without mental agony, torture or distress, to entitle the complaining spouse to secure divorce. Physical violence is not absolutely essential to constitute cruelty and a consistent course of conduct inflicting immeasurable mental agony and torture may well constitute cruelty within the meaning of S. 10 of the Act. Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy and abusive language leading to constant disturbance of mental peace of the other party.

13. The Court dealing with the petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty has to bear in mind that the problems before it are those of human beings and the psychological changes in a spouse’s conduct have to be borne in mind before disposing of the petition for divorce. However, insignificant or trifling, such conduct may cause pain in the mind of another. But before the conduct can be called cruelty, it must touch a certain pitch of severity. It is for the Court to weigh the gravity

Conclusion-: In Adultery if you have an absolute proof of physical intimacy then only it is the best way to go on this ground otherwise do not do any mistake to go on ground of adultery if there is only an affair.

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