Court:Madhya Pradesh High Court
Bench: JUSTICE D. Sreedevi
Smt. Vimla Ladkani vs Dr. Chandra Prakash Ladkani on 31 July, 1995
False allegation about character of husband and family members amounts to mental cruelty.Divorce granted.
1. This appeal under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, has been preferred by the wife against her husband against the judgment and decree dated 6-9- 1994, passed by Smt. Manjusha Namjoshi, the then Seventh Additional Judge to the District Judge, Gwalior, whereby a decree for divorce was passed against the appellant on the petition of the respondent under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
2. Admittedly, the parties were married according to Hindu rites at Gwalior on 4-12-1977 and out of the union, three sons, namely, Pankaj, Kapil and Ravi ware born. The relationship between the parties was cordial and the couple was regarded as a respectable family. At the time of marriage, the petitioner’s mother-in-law was residing at Na Sadak, Lashkar, but later on, she started living in the first floor of the house of the petitioner which he tolerted in order to avoid-any unpleasantness. One Mohan Sindhi used to visit the house of the respondent’s mother. Respondent too had developed great intimacy with him. Respondent had a good physique and was also beautiful. She was employed in the U. Co. Bank, High Court Road Branch, Gwalior, as a Clerk. Mohan Sindhi alias Teku has got bad reputation and is involved in unsocial activities and held a bad character, He has an evil eye on the respondent. Respondent was also attracted towards him. He used to visit the house of the respondent’s mother practically daily in the night and used to sit there for long and used to call the respondent also. Sometimes respondent herself, out of her own accord, used to go to her mother’s portion and that for long. They also cut jokes and indulged in obscene talks. The petitioner forbade her several times and also called her, but she gave a dry reply and continued to talk with Mohan Sindhi till late at night. Thus, there was great apprehension in the mind of the petitioner. In spite of his insistence, the respondent did not mend herself. She was not ready to hear him. The respondent ignored the petitioner’s old mother as well as the petitioner and also insulted him before Mohan Sindhi. She also specifically refused to have marital relations. The petitioner moved the Pujjya Sindhi Hindu General Panchayat in which all concerned including Mohan Sindhi were made to understand, but to no effect. On 1-2-1991, at about 12.00 in the night, Mohan Sindhi alias Teku called the petitioner and abused him. He was also beaten. A knife was kept on his chest and he was threatened because he had made a complaint in the Sindhi Panchayat and insulted him. When the petitioner asked the respondent, she said that whatsoever Mohan Sindhi was doing was correct. The respondent also lodged a report on 26-4-1991 in Mahila Thana, Padav against the petitioner and his mother on wrong allegations which caused a great harassment to him-and he had to obtain bail. The respondent and her mother got a pamphlet’ in the name of “Papa Sudhar Jaiye”, published and got it distributed in the High Court building as well as Phalka Bazar where the petitioner has his clinic and at several other placed in order to insult him. It brought bad name to him. Due to the activities of the respondent, he received mental agony and his life had become a moving dead-body. The relations of the respondent with Mohan Sindhi ‘were so developed that they started a great mental tension. He was not in a position to carry on his medical profession as well. He was also defamed in the Society. On 27th August, 1990, the respondent left petitioner’s house along with her articles and sons and started living with. her. mother in the first floor without any justifiable cause. She was not performing her marital obligations though he had been ready to keep her, but he failed: A notice was also given to respondent, but she did not obey.
3. The respondent denied the allegations of the petitioner and alleged that the treatment the petitioner and his mother was cruel. She did accept the illegal demands and hence, the petition has been filed with wrong allegations. Even after filing of the petition, she maintained the marital relations with him. She also consented for physical relations on the assurance of the petitioner that he had filed the petition only for income-tax purposes. The report with Mahila Police Thana, Padav was based on correct facts. The allegations relating to Mohan Sindhi are all false. Petitioner himself used to bring several ladies and roam about with them in his Marutt car. He had illicit connections with them. He has once went to the Bank with a lady for opening an account and accepted that she was his would — be wife. She tried to enter into compromise, but the petitioner’s character was not proper. He used to say that he will change his wife, The first floor of the house was got constructed by her mother after paying a sum of Rs. 75,000/-. Since it was constructed, her mother was living in it. The petitioner said that she will continue to live till her death and will also get a deed registered. The petitioner was a man of derailed mind. He wanted to live an immoral life. Several psychiatrics such as Dr. Kale, Dr. Sahu and Dr. Malhotra were consulted on his mental depression. About 4 or 5 months back, he had brought one Sangita Lalwani who used to pick up quarrel with her. The dispute was on this point. The petitioner used to bring his friends and asked her to sit with them, drink with them to which she did not agree. The petitioner also started demanding dowry. He kept all the articles of Dahej. The petitioner was a drunkard and a gambler and had illicit connections with other ladies. His treatment was cruel. The petition was liable to be rejected.
4. The learned trial Court took the evidence adduced before it by the parties and after considering in detail, allowed the petition on 6-9-1994. Feeling aggrieved of this, the respondent has preferred this appeal.
5. The learned counsel for the appellant argued that the learned trial Court has committed an error in granting a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. He urged that that the cruelty is based upon a ‘Parcha’, that is, Ex. P/8. It has not been proved as to who is instrumental in getting the ‘Parcha’ published and circulated. He also contended that the prayer cannot be allowed as two years’ period has not elapsed before the filing of the petition.
6. The learned counsel for the respondent urged that it is admitted by the appellant as well as by her witnesses that Mohan Sindhi used to visit the, house of the mother of the appellant and the appellant used to sit along with him for long time. It is is also admitted that the appellant went with Mohan to Jaipur etc. alone and also used to roam about at Gwalior. It all, therefore, goes to show that the respondent was leading an immoral life. It has caused a great mental agony to the petitioner/respondent and is covered under the ground of ‘cruelty’. The petitioner was, therefore, rightly granted a decree of divorce. He also urged that the material on record also shows that relations of the appellant and respondent are very bad for the last 7 or 8 years and under these circumstances, it is not possible for the parties to live together. The learned counsel urged that when marriage is dead, emotionally and practically, and there is no chance of its being retrieved, continuance of it would itself be a cruelty and in this connection, reliance has been placed on Romesh Chander v. Savitri (Smt.) (1995) 2 SCC 7.
7. The admitted facts in the case are that a marriage had taken place between the parties and the parties lived happily together for several-years and as a result of the union three sons were born who are, admittedly, living with the wife, i.e., the appellant. It is also admitted that the appellant is living in the same house along with her mother in the first floor. One Mohan, Sindhi is also on visiting terms with the appellant as well as the mother. He visited the house of and on. It is also admitted, as I shall show hereinafter, that the appellant had gone with Mohan Sindhi to Jaipur and other places. In this connection, it is significant to mention here that according to the claim of the petitioner/respondent she went along with Mohan Sindhi, whereas the appellant claims that the entire family including the petitioner had gone. The appellant ‘ specifically and unequivocally admitted in her statement (para 10) that her relations with Dr. Saheb, that is the respondent, are seriously uncordial for the last 7 or 8 years, Her statement was recorded in July, 1994, mathematically, it comes to 1986 or 1987. Again she stated that since when she” entered into service, her relations were bad. Thus, h is not in dispute that the relations between the parties are bad. Efforts for reconciliation were made in the trial Court as well as in this Court, but they bore no fruit. It again shows that the relations have come to such a point as reconciliation is not possible.
8, In the background of the admitted facts shown above, it has to be found from the material on record as to whether the case of cruelty within the meaning of Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act is made out or not. Under Section (1 A) of Section 13, cruelty is a ground for divorce. The expression ‘cruelty’ has not been defined in the Act. In the absence of any definition, the Court has to be satisfied and has to come to its decision on the facts and circumstances of each case as to whether a particular conduct amounts to cruelty or not. The court has to make an assessment of human nature and human affairs and the picture of domestic life of the spouses to be surveyed as a whole before forming judgment of their possible future relations. Due regard to social customs and conditions of the parties has also to be given. ‘Cruelty’ postulates a treatment of the petitioner with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in the petitioner’s mind that it will be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the other spouse. It need not be physical violence administered by defaulting party. The cruelty may be either physical or mental. The question of mental cruelty should be answered in the light of the norms of marital ties of the particular society to which the parties belong, their social values, status of the parties, environments of the parties etc. In the present case, there is no allegation of the petitioner that there was any physical cruelty. The allegation of the petitioner is that the wife, i.e., the present appellant had been. leading a life which may be said to be an immoral life inasmuch as she had great intimacy with one Mohan Sindhi who used to visit her mother’s place and she used to chat with her late at night. She also went to several places with him. It has also been contended that this Mohan Sindhi has been doing ‘Pairavi’in the present case and is taking keen interest on behalf of the wife/ appellant. The conduct, in order to postulate, cruelty should be grave and weighty. It must be more serious than the ordinary wear and tear of the marriage. The Court should be reluctant to find cruelty on the mere evidence of the petitioner unless it finds corrobortion from other material. Normally, the Court should be reluctant to grant a decree for divorce and every effort should be made to bring the parties to terms so that they may lead a happy married life. It is only when it becomes impossible to bring the parties to terms, the Court has to take the unpleasant duty upon itself and to find out from the material on record as to whether a case is made out as claimed by the petitioner. The learned trial Court, after considering the entire material, held that it was not possible for the parties to live together and a case of cruelty was made out. It, therefore, granted the decree of divorce. I have already said above that there are certain admitted facts. The main plank of the petitioner on which the petition has been based is the relation of the appellant with Mohan Sindhi. It is admitted that he has been visiting the house where the appellant lived along with her mother and she sits late at night. It is also established that the said Mohan had gone with the appellant to various places. No doubt, this Mohan has .admitted in the witness-box and he, in his statement, has stated that he had gone to ‘Udaipur, Jaipur, Shivpuri, Mt. Abu along with Vimla and members of her family. He also stated that at that time, he had got photos with him which he did not bring. He further stated that it was incorrect to say that he had taken Vimla alone to Udaipur, Jaipur, Shivpuri and other places. Smt. Vimla, in her statement, in para 9, admitted that she had gone to Jaipur once with Mohan Sindhi and had also gone to Shivpuri once. She has also admitted that she went in Gwalior several times, but she could not give the details as to when she had gone. She has not said that she had gone with Mohan Sindhi along with other family members as stated by Mohan Sindhi. Had it been a fact that Mohan had gone with family members of Vimla, he ought to have filed those photographs which would have shown that his statement is correct. Some photographs have been brought on record, but it is not shown as to whether these photographs contained the parties and their family members. Not only this, it has also not been shown that these photographs referred to the places where they visited. The fact, however, remains that he had gone with Vimla, appellant, to these places. He is the . person who has been taking active part in prosecuting this case right from the beginning, but this fact that he has been taking active part has been suppressed by Smt. Vimla as wall as by her mother though it is clear from the record as pointed out by the learned trial Court. Smt. Vimla, appellant, showed her ignorance about engagement of counsel etc. and presence of this person also in Court on the date of hearing. More or less similar is the statement of Vidya Devi, the mother of the appellant. She stated that she was doing ‘Pairavi’ of this case except engaging a counsel. But, when her statement was tested in cross-examination in this regard, she could not give details. The presence of Mohan Sindhi in Court has been mentioned by the learned trial Court specifically. Thus, it is clear that the said Mohan Sindhi has been going out of station along with the appellant. It is also clear that he has been visiting the place where the appellant lived. Under these circumstances, the apprehension in the mind of the petitioner/ respondent that the relations between the two are illicit cannot be ruled out. No person can tolerate such familiarity. Even the appellant Vimla herself has stated in her statement that Doctor Saheb was mentally derailed and this fact was correct. The conduct of the appellant, as shown above, is sufficient to derail a person mentally and if the petitioner/ respondent has been mentally derailed, it is no wonder. This fact is, therefore,, sufficient to bring the case within the purview of ‘cruelty’.
9. Apart from what has been said above, there is another material on record which also goes to show that the case of cruelty has been established. Smt. Vimla, appellant, admitted in para 10 that her relations with Doctor Saheb, i.e., the respondent, are seriously uncordial for the last 7 or 8 years. She also admitted in para 22 that it was correct that on 26-4-1991, she. had accused her demand of dowry and breach of trust and filed a report in Mahila Thana, Padav. It was also correct that on that report, a case was registered against both of them. The Police had gone to arrest. This accusation has not been established. Not only this, the appellant also accused the respondent of immoral life when she made allegations in written statement as well in this regard as mentioned in the narration of facts above. Not only this, she also stated on oath in this regard that the petitioner/respondent used to roam about with girls. In para 31 of her statement, she stated that when written statement was filed, her husband did not roam about with girls, and hence it was not mentioned in the written statement, but she has made a complaint with her mother. She stated that she did not make any complaint to the police and has not lodged any report. Thus, all these accusations appear to be incorrect and such allegations are made which have no foundation. They do constitute cruelty. Making false allegations in open Court about the character of the husband and the family members so as to injure the reputation of the husband amounts to cruelty.
10. In the present case, a pamphlet has also been brought on record: “PAPA SUDHAR JAIYE NAI MUMMY MAT LAIYE”. It purports to have been published on behalf of the sons, Pankaj, Kapiland Ravi, of the petitioner/respondent, Dr. Chandra Prakash Ladkani. No doubt, there is no material on record to prove convincingly that it was got published by the appellant or it was published under her instructions. It has been contended by the learned counsel for the plaintiff/respondent that a perusal of the pamphlet shows that it must have been not publsihed under instructions of the appellant No decision can be taken on the basis of conjectures; but the circumstances do suggest that it might have been got published or circulated as claimed by the petitioner/ respondent. The respondent has stated that it was published in the High Court, near his clinic etc. The contents do show that they might have injured the reputation of the petitioner/respondent, who is admittedly a practising Doctor.
11. Taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances brought on record, I entirely agree with the learned trial Court that a case of cruelty has been made out. The learned trial Court was, therefore, justified in passing a decree of divorce. There is nothing which may enable the Court to interfere in the findings arrived at by the learned trial Court. The appeal, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.