Court:Punjab-Haryana High Court
Bench: JUSTICE R Anand
Manjit Kaur vs Avtar Singh on 15 February, 2001
False allegation by wife that husband is leading an adulterous life. Cruelty Proved.
1. This is wife’s appeal and has been directed against the judgment and decree dated 3.5.1999 passed by the District Judge, Sangrur, who allowed the petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and granted a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. The brief facts of the case are that Avtar Singh Chahal filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act against his wife by inter alia pleading that the marriage between the parties was solemnised on 9.12.1990. The parties after the marriage cohabited with each other as husband and wife and out of the wedlock, a male child was born on 16.12.1991 and his name is Aminderjit Singh. It is also alleged by the husband that the appellant treated him with cruelty. Her behaviour was very cruel. She never tried to adjust herself in the house and she was adamant to live separately in the city life. It was not possible for him as his mother is a widow lady and she was dependent upon him. The appellant without information to her husband and his mother, used to leave the house with the minor child. She confined herself in a room with a threat to commit suicide, she also showed disrespect to the photograph of his father and shouted on him and his mother disgracefully. She also moved applications to the Women Cell of Police at Patiala and Sangrur and also before DSP Sanum with intent to harass them and defame them. She caused so much cruelty, mental agony, torture and distress to him that now he cannot expect reasonably to live with her. She lived with him for few days occasionally. Ultimately, she left and took the child with her. He along with respectables including Santokh Singh, Avtar Singh, Buta Singh attempted number of times to bring her back. He had to file petition for restitution of conjugal rights and in reconciliation proceedings of that case, she showed unwillingness to live with him and when she was sent, in reconciliation with him, she threatened to kill herself. She filed a petition for maintenance under Section 125 Code of Criminal Procedure. He had not condoned her acts of cruelty.
2. With these board allegations, the respondent sought a decree for divorce. Notice of the petition was given to the appellant who filed reply and denied the allegations.
3. According to the appellant, her parents performed a very good marriage but her husband was not satisfied with the articles of dowry. He made a demand for scooter and refrigerator. He used to maltreat her. It was stated by the appellant that her husband filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act which was dismissed as he did not pay the maintenance fixed by the court under Section 24 of the Act. It was admitted by the appellant that she filed a petition under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
4. The respondent filed a rejoinder to the written statement. From the pleadings of the parties, the learned trial Court framed the following issues :-
” 1. Whether the respondent has treated the petitioner with cruelty ? if so, its effect ? OPP
5. The parties led evidence in support of their case and while disposing of issue No. 1, the learned trial Court came to the conclusion that it stands established on the record that the appellant has treated the respondent with cruelty. The effect is that it was impossible for the husband to live peacefully with the appellant in a conjugal home. Resultantly, the decree of divorce was granted for the following reasons given in paras 8 to 11 :
“8. The onus to prove this issue is on the petitioner. The admitted facts are that the marriage between the parties took place. Birth of male child is also admitted. It is also not disputed that the parties are living apart from each other since June/July, 1996. The previous litigation between the parties under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act and also under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. is also not disputed. The wife respondent has also not denied having filed application before the Women Cell of the Police at Sangrur and also before police at Patiala and Sunam against the petitioner and his mother. The case of the petitioner is that the respondent showed disrespect to him, his mother and she oftenly used to leave his house without his information and consent. He further pleaded that she confined herself in a room and threatened to commit suicide. In support of his case, the petitioner has appeared into witness box as PW1 and reiterated the averments made in the petition. He stated on oath that the respondent had been adamant and insisted on her (him ?) to live separate from his mother and she used to leave his house of her own without informing him. He also stated about the fact of her moving false applications before the Women Cell at Sangrur and Patiala and also before DSP Sunam with an intention to harass him and his mother and to defame them. He stated that the respondent has treated her with cruelty. He also stated that he put their son in a school at Lehra and the respondent used to take the child from the school without information of the petitioner even when the parties are residing separately and the child was being brought up by the petitioner. The petitioner examined Tarsem Chand AW2 who brought the record of a school at Lehra and proved that Aminderpal Singh son of Avtar Singh (petitioner) was admitted in their school vide admission from Exhibit P1 on 28.3.1996 and the child attended the school only upto 27.5.1996 and thereafter he remained absent. He proved the copies of attendance register. Gurmeet Kaur, PW3 is a Lady Constable from Women Cell of Police at Sangrur and she proved the copy of application of respondent Manjit Kaur Exhibit P-8 against the petitioner and his mother. This witness stated that parties had compromised on this application and copy of compromise is Exhibit P-9. The respondent was sent with the petitioner. The petitioner has also examined PW6 Constable Jamail Singh from Office of SSP, Patiala, who proved application Exhibit P-10 made by Kishan Singh father of the respondent against the petitioner and his mother. This witness stated that mater was got investigated from DSP who sub-milted his report copy of which has been placed on record as Exhibit P-11. This witness was not cross-examined. The report of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Exhibit P-11 on this application of Kishan Singh father of respondent is that the applicant did not give any proof of the allegations levelled therein. PW4 Buta Singh and PW5 Santokh Singh have supported the case of the petitioner. As against this evidence, the respondent herself appeared as RW1. She has her own case to tell that after the marriage the behaviour of petitioner towards her was noi good and he used to beaf her maltreat her. She in cross-examination stated that the petitioner made an attempt to kill her by giving poisonous tablet sulphas. In cross-examination, she admitted that she had brought the child from the school at Lehra without getting his name cut and without any transfer certificate. She admitted that she used to bring the child from school usually without information to the petitioner.
9. The respondent had moved an application copy of which is Exhibit P-8 before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur, as is proved by PW3. In the said application, she levelled allegation of leading of adulterous life by the petitioner with wife of his deceased friend at Patiala. In cross-examination as RW1 firstly she denied this fact and in the next breath she stated that she had mentioned this fact in the application Exhibit P-8. She has not led any evidence to prove the factum that petitioner is leading an adulterous life. Thus, making allegations falsely and making application before police against him levelling false allegations amounts to cruelty towards petitioner on the part of the respondent. In the written reply the respondent has simply denied the allegations of the petitioner and rather made allegations of demand of dowry etc. by the petitioner and also alleged that he had given beatings to her. To prove that allegation, she had not led any evidence but staled only that inspite of all this, she is ready to live with him but she has not given any reasons. On one hand, she is making complaints against the petitioner levelling allegations and with a view to harass him and his mother. In the case of Rajinder Bhardwaj v. Mrs. Anita, AIR 1993 Delhi 135, it was held that filing of false and scandulous cases by one spouse against other amounts to cruelty. As said above in the present case, the respondent has filed applications before the police not only at Sangrur, Sunam, but also at Patiala and in none of those applications, the allegations levelled were found to be true. The police got the matter compromised. In Exhibit P-8, one such application, the respondent event went to the extent of levelling allegations of scandulous type that petitioner bad illicit relations with wife of his deceased friend. All these acts on the part of the wife amount to cruelty by her towards the husband. Apart from the false and scandulous, allegations made by her before police Women Cell, the other allegations of cruelty against her also stand proved. The respondent has made simple denial of such acts of cruelty. She did not lead any evidence in support of her case. Even in the written reply, she alleged that the petitioner made demand of dowry and gave beatings to her. The case of the petitioner is that she closed herself in a room and threatened to commit suicide which act caused great mental agony and tension to the petitioner. When she appeared as RW1, she in cross-examination stated that mother of the petitioner made an attempt to kill her by giving her poisonous substance but she has not led any evidence to prove that sort of allegation. It was never pleaded by her in her written reply and as such is an after-thought. Thus, the conduct of the respondent is that she had been making accusations against the petitioner which allegations are scandalous and false. As held in Rajinder Bhardwaj case (supra) all these allegations amount to cruelty.
10. As said above in the written reply and in her statement she has stated that she is ready and wiling to live with the petitioner inspite of the fact that his behaviour is not good towards her and an attempt was made by his family to kill her. But she has not given reasons thereof. It appears that she has made this version to ward off the result of this petition, otherwise when the petitioner filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, for restitution of conjugal rights, she contested that petition. It is pertinent to note that in the proceedings of reconciliation in petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, she was sent with the petitioner by the Court but even then the parties could not reconcile and she returned. The copies of orders passed by the Court in that petition are on this file as Exhibits R-1, R-2 and R-3. She filed a petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. claiming maintenance. Had the respondent really been ready and willing to live with petitioner, she would not have filed false complaints before the police and would have re-
quested the court in proceedings under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, to send her to the house of the petitioner. But here in the present case what is emerged and concluded from evidence of parties is that her behaviour in matrimonial home was not cordial, she was disrespectful towards her in-laws, she threatened and attempted to commit suicide and lodged false complaints before police against the petitioner and his mother. In the case of Rama Kant v. Mohinder Laxmidas, AIR 1996 Pb. and Hy. 98: 1995(3) RCR(Civil) 345 (P&H), it was held by our own Hon’ble High Court that behaviour of wife in matrimonial home not cordial, she was disrespectful towards her in-laws; her threats and attempt to commit suicide, her act of lodging false complaints against husband are incidents of her cruel behaviour towards husband making it impossible for him to live peacefully with her in conjugal home. It was held that grant of divorce on ground of cruelty on part of wife was not illegal.
11. The conduct of the wife is worth noticeable. In the petition and in her statement as RW1 she claims to be ready to go to the house of petitioner as his wife but before this Court in reconciliation proceedings, she made statement on 13.2.1998 that she apprehends danger to her life and as such she was not ready to go to the house of petitioner. While appearing as RW1 she denied having made any such statement. So the respondent had gone to the extent of denying statement made in the court. Thus, the conduct of the respondent wife is incorrigible and it amounts to cruelty towards her husband.”
6. I have heard Mr. H.N.S. Gill, Advocate, for the petitioner and Mr. Harsh Aggarwal, Advocate, for the respondent and with their assistance I have gone through the record of the case.
7. Cruelty has not been defined in the Hindu Marriage Act. It is a question of fact depending upon each and every case whether the conduct of a spouse amounts to cruelty or not. It has been held repeatedly by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as by this Hon’ble High Court that unfounded allegations of adultery consists of cruelty. The marriage is a trust between the male and female partner and if irresponsible allegations are levelled by the spouse against each other, it will cause mental cruelty of the worst kind. In the present case, it is proved on the record that the appellant moved one application before the SSP Sangrur which is Annexure P-8. In the said application, the appellant levelled allegations against the husband that he was leading an adulterous life with the wife of his deceased friend. This type of allegation has also been admitted by the appellant. She categorically stated that she moved an application before the SSP, Sangrur, levelling allegations of adultery against her husband but she has not been able to prove that her husband was leading an adulterous life with the wife of his deceased friend. The spouse when makes reckless allegations without any basis, does so, at his/her own risk and responsibility. No evidence has been led for showing that her husband was leading an adulterous life. Thus, levelling of false allegations to the extent that her husband was leading an adulterous life is an act of cruclty and even a single act of cruelty after marriage is a valid ground for divorce. Learned counsel for the appellant admitted at the bar that his client did make an application and there is no evidence on the record to show that the husband of the appellant was leading an adulterous life.
8. In this view of the matter, I do not differ with the findings and the reasons by the trial Court in allowing the petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Thus, there is no merit in the appeal and the same is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs.
9. Appeal dismissed