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Conviction of Wife for Murdering Her Mother-in-law, does Amount to Cruelty on Husband


Bench: JUSTICE J.C. Verma

JHABAR MAL Vs. GUDDI @ KAMLA On 24 August 2001

Law Point:
Conviction of Wife for Murdering Her Mother-in-law, does Amount to Cruelty on Husband : Even if Wife is Acquitted, it shall not be Humanly Possible for Husband to Stay or Cohabitate Once Again with Respondent-wife and to Accept her as his Wife.



1. The appellant-husband is challenging the order dated 17.10.2000 passed by the Additional District Judge, Neem Ka Thana, Distt. Sikar in Divorce Petition No. 27/1998 by which order the divorce petition filed by the appellant-husband was dismissed.

2. The parties were married on 2.7.1992 as per Hindu rites at village Jaswantpura and live together as husband and wife at Dhani Navedi Tan Trilokpura. She was sent in “Muklava” to his matrimonial house after two years in July, 1994. It was alleged that just after 5 or 6 days, the parties started quarrelling with him and his parents, younger brother and younger sister of the husband. It was further alleged that she had a habit of taking `Gutka’ (Zarda Masala) in such quantity. She was asked not to indulge in toxicating eating Masala. She left for her parents in the year 1995, but again came back in August, 1995. She was again taken away by her parents. It was alleged that some young persons from her village used to come whose visit was being objected. The appellant was doubting the character of the respondent-wife. It was alleged that when the appellant was at Delhi in connection with his work, the respondent-wife killed his mother on 13.9.1995 by giving as many as 21 injuries and buried her. An FIR was registered against her. She was arrested on the same day and was sentenced to Life Imprisonment on 26.8.1998. It was also one of the grounds that the respondent-wife was not staying with the husband-petitioner for last more than three years at the time of filing of the divorce petition.

3. Allegations of cruelty as stated were denied. The respondent-wife had narrated that she was being un-necessarily doubted so far her character was concerned. However, it was admitted that she has been sentenced to Life Imprisonment for killing her mother-in-law with the rider that she had been involved falsely and an appeal against the said order of conviction is pending. The respondent had taken a counter defence that as a matter of fact she had not left the appellant, but it was appellant who had left her at her parents’ house and had not come to take her back. Following issues were framed :

“(1) Whether the respondent after `Muklava’ ceremony in July, 1994 was misbehaving with the parents, brother and sister of the appellant and was quarrelling with them and causing cruelty to the appellant ?

(2) Whether in the year 1995 when she was at her husband’s house, some young men used to visit which was being objected to by the side of the appellant ?

(3) Whether the respondent had been convicted for killing her mother-in-law i.e. the mother of the husband and is undergoing life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 1,000/- ?

(4) Whether the parties are living separately for last three years before filing of the present application of divorce ?

(5) Whether earlier an application was filed by the appellant in 1995, but was dismissed on 6.2.1998 as having been closed for non-production of evidence ?”

4. In regard to issue No. 5 about the previous application of divorce having been filed by the appellant, the Trial Court had given a finding that it did not amount to res judicata as no final decision was given by the Court.

5. In regard to issue No. 3 it was held that the respondent had been convicted to undergo imprisonment for life for killing her mother-in-law, but for the reason that the appeal had been filed in the High Court, therefore, the conviction could not be held to be final till the appeal is decided.

6. Issue Nos. 1, 2 and 4 were decided against the appellant and in favour of the respondent.
Record was called for.

7. The only point which has been argued before me is that in view of the conviction of the respondent for murdering the mother of the appellant i.e. mother-in-law of the respondent wherein she is undergoing life imprisonment, it amounts to cruelty and in no circumstance it shall ever be possible for the husband to live with the wife who has been convicted for life and even if she is acquitted by the Appellate Court, the past would always hurt him.

8. To support the contention, Counsel for the appellant relies on the judgment of this Court in the case of Smt. Pramila Bhatia v. Vijay Kumar Bhatia, 2000 (3) WLC (Raj.) 496, and also in the case of Smt. Chandrakala Trivedi v. Dr. S.P. Trivedi, II (1993) DMC 271 (SC)=51 (1993) DLT 428 (SC)=1993 (3) SCALE 541, wherein it was observed as under :

“The bond of human relationship, between husband and wife, owes its origin to their determination to create and perpetuate and their deliberate efforts to do that which is necessary and to abstain from doing that which is harmful for such relationship. If they do not have the determination to create or perpetuate the relationship or they have no desire to do that which is necessary for creation of perpetuating it, or they do not desire to abstain from doing that which is harmful for the relationship, it is obvious that the human relationship can neither be brought into existence nor it can be perpetuated notwithstanding the legal relationship which is brought into existence by performance of certain ceremonies of marriage as required by Section 6 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.”

9. The parties were called in person and in the chamber meetings were also held as to evolve some compromise, but efforts of the amicable settlement either of granting of divorce or of living together if the conviction is set aside or when the punishment is completed, were very remote. However, the appellant who is working as Constable in the Police Department submits that even though he is not in a position to pay any amount even for her alimony but shall abide by the order of this Court if any alimony is fixed.

10. In my opinion, without going into any other aspect of the case on the point of conviction of the respondent for murdering her mother-in-law, it does amount to cruelty on the husband that his mother was killed by his wife. Even if she is ultimately acquitted, it shall not be humanly possible for the husband to stay or cohabitate once again with the respondent and to accept her as his wife. The past of alleged killing of his mother by the respondent shall always haunt him. In my opinion, the Trial Court has erred in law in not appreciating this fact properly. Only because of the reason that the appeal is filed in the High Court and even if the wife is ultimately acquitted of the murder charge, the past shall always remain in the mind and thought of the parties which according to me is such a circumstance, it shall not be possible for the husband to stay with her and to accept her as wife once again who was accused of murdering his mother and is undergoing the life imprisonment.

11. For the reasons mentioned above, I accept the appeal and dissolve the marriage by way of decree of divorce. The decree of divorce shall be prepared in accordance with law.

12. However, during arguments, the appellant had offered a permanent alimony of Rs. 50,000/- to be paid to the respondent in the event of divorce having been granted. In my opinion, in view of the fact that the appellant is the Constable, I order that an amount of Rs. 50,000/- shall be paid within three months as permanent alimony to the wife respondent for maintenance. The amount shall be paid through the Trial Court which Court shall ensure that the amount is deposited in some nationalised Bank as FDR in the name of the respondent-wife. The respondent shall be entitled to withdraw the interest of such amount if it is so required by her. The amount deposited shall be made initially for three years.

13. With the above said observations, the appeal is allowed.

Appeal allowed.