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Attempt to Commit Suicide by the Wife Amounts to Cruelty, Divorce Granted

Court:Punjab-Haryana High Court

Bench: JUSTICE R Sethi, S Sudhalkar

Navin Chawla vs Veena Rani Chawla on 25 May, 1995

Equivalent citations: I (1996) DMC 118, (1995) 111 PLR 363

Law Point:
Attempt to Commit Suicide by the Wife Amounts to Cruelty, Divorce Granted.



1. It is stated that the respondent- wife has no objection to the marriage being dissolved if a lump sum amount in lieu of permanent alimony is paid to her. The appellant-husband who is present in person has delivered two drafts Nos. 1593 and 1594 dated 24.5.1995 drawn on the Central Bank of India in a sum of Rs. 50,000/- each to the respondent-wife who is also present in Court. The respondent-wife also admits that the dowry items have also been returned to her.

2. This appeal is directed against the judgment and decree of the learned Additional District Judge, Panipat who vide his judgment impugned before us has dismissed the petition of the appellant filed under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The appellant had stated that the marriage between the parties was solemnised at Panipat on 8.2.1987 and after the marriage both the parties lived as husband and wife at Panipat. Out of the wed-lock one daughter namely Munisha was born on 11.12.1987. If was submitted that the respondent-wife was not happy with the marriage with the appellant and allegedly started mis-behaving him and his family members. The appellant has alleged that the respondent-wife threatened, to immolate herself and ultimately on 8.1.1988 sprinkled kerosene oil on her body and put herself on fire. A case under Section 309 I.P.C. bearing F.I.R. No. 24, dated 8.1.1988 was registered in which she was challaned and was duly convicted and sentenced on 19.4.1988 but was released on probation for six months on furnishing of bond in the amount of Rs. 5,000/-. It was alleged that this act of the respondent-wife resulted in great mental cruelty of the appellant who could not sleep for nights together and was lowered in the estimation of his friends and relatives. The allegations were denied by the respondent-wife. She however, admitted that a case under Section 309 I.P.C. was registered against her at Police Station City Panipat. It was, however, alleged that the appellant and his family members were responsible for the episode as they had allegedly treated her with physical and mental cruelty on account of the demand of dowry.

3. On the pleadings of the parties, the following issues were framed on 9.1.1991 :-

“1. Whether the petitioner is entitled to a divorce decree on the ground of cruelty ?

2. Relief”.

In order to prove the allegations, the appellant examined Prem Kumar besides getting his own statement recorded. The respondent produced one Gobind Lal besides getting her own statement recorded.

4. After discussing the evidence produced in the case, the Court below came to the conclusion that the respondent-wife was not in any way responsible for the alleged mental cruelty to the appellant. It is not disputed that after the marriage of the parties their relations were strained and the respondent-wife had attempted to commit suicide by sprinkling kerosene on her body. It is also not disputed that she was convicted and sentenced for attempt to commit suicide. The fact that the respondent-wife had attempted to commit suicide. In the context of the circumstances in which the parties were living was sufficient to hold that the appellant had been subjected to mental cruelty.

5. It is acknowledged position of law that cruelty for the purposes of a petition of divorce under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act includes within its ambit the mental cruelty as well. It is the attitude of the parties, the environment in which they live and the circumstances attributable to their particular acts which would determine the existence or non-existence of such a cruelty. In the instant case the conduct of the respondent was such which could be held to be sufficient for the purposes of holding her guilty for causing mental cruelty to the appellant-husband. We have been persuaded to come to this conclusion mainly on the ground that the respondent-wife has herself desired for dissolution of marriage after receiving an amount of Rs. 1,00,000/- in lieu of permanent alimony. No useful purpose would be served by continuing this broken marriage between the parties.

6. Under the circumstances, the appeal is allowed and judgment and decree of the Court below is set aside and the marriage between the parties is dissolved by a decree of divorce. The parties to bear their own costs.