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Allahabad High Court Dissolves Marriage That Had No Intention to Cohabit on Lines of Irretrievable Breakdown Theory of Marriage

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In the present case, a petition was filed by the Petitioner-husband challenging the previous decision of the Trial Court. Further, the Court allowed the same and thereby dissolved the marriage of the Petitioner- Respondent on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. The Court considered the amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to incorporate an irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for granting of the divorce.

Facts of the Case 

In the present case, Plaintiff had solemnized his marriage with the Respondent, Smt. Rajni Mittal on 24.05.2002. This solemnization of marriage was done as per the Hindu rites and rituals without raising any demand for dowry. Further, it was alleged that after fifteen days of the marriage, Respondent, Smt. Rajni Mittal started misbehaving with the Plaintiff and his other family members (i.e., in-laws of the Respondent) in a cruel manner and also started harassing them. Moreover, the Respondent had deserted the Petitioner since 2002 and parties were staying separately since 2003. Furthermore, Petitioner alleged that his wife was always disobedient to him and his parents. One instance of her disobedience was when she took a job in Cyber/Computer Center without any communication and informing the Petitioner or his family members. She would leave home in the early morning and return by midnight. And when the Petitioner inquired for same, she abused him. She wanted to enjoy her life without any obstruction from anybody of any kind. It was also stated by her that she wanted to enjoy in her own company and she had no interest in the Petitioner and his family members. She even threatened the Petitioner and his family members by saying that if the family members would cause any problem in her life, she would implicate them in false and frivolous criminal proceedings. Besides this, a child was also born out of their wedlock. But the behaviour of the Respondent never changed.  Further on 27.05.2005, she departed from the house with a sum of Rs. 20,000/- and some jewellery.  Then after this, she returned on 29.05.2005 in the night at 10:00 P.M. and thus in the morning on 30.05.2005 Petitioner enquired about the reason for her missing and her whereabouts during the missing period. Responding to this, she committed “mar-pit” with the Petitioner with a knife and had bitten in his arm and thereafter lodged the First Information Report against the Petitioner with false allegations under sections 498A, 323, 504, 506 I.P.C. and Section ¾ D.P. Act at the police station, New Agra.  Thereby, based on the said FIR  the police arrested the Petitioner and his parents and further were sent to jail. After passing a long period of detention in prison, the Petitioner along with his parents were enlarged on bail by the court below. After the conclusion of the trial proceedings, the trial court convicted and sentenced the Petitioner and his parents with two years Rigorous Imprisonment under Section 498A I.P.C. with a fine of Rs. 20,000/- each and in default of payment of fine they shall undergo three years simple imprisonment and they were also convicted and sentenced to six months simple imprisonment under Section 4 D.P. Act with fine of Rs. 1000/- each and in default of payment of fine they shall further undergo one-month simple imprisonment. However, the Petitioner was not satisfied by the order dated 29.10.2012 passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Agra. And hence the present appeal/revision had been filed, which was allowed. The appellant has been exonerated and his revision came to be allowed by the Sessions Judge. 

Arguments before the Court 

Learned counsel for the Petitioner contended that the Respondent had filed no. of complaints against Petitioner and his family members on various grounds but he was acquitted in all the cases. however according to him, in this way, the Respondent had caused severe mental harassment to him and had also been defamed in society.  Further, the Petitioner stated that the Respondent had no intention to continue their marriage bond as he had made several efforts to call her back but all the efforts for reconciliation had been proved futile. Moreover, the Respondent had treated him with cruelty by going on filing various criminal complaints against him and his family members from time to time on one or other pretext on fabricated grounds only to harass him and he has been deserted without any reasonable cause and any fault on his side. Furthermore, the Learned Counsel gave references to the following judgments in support of his contention that the decree of divorce was the only answer to the marital discord between Petitioner and Respondent:- K. Srinivas vs. K. Sunita.; Lata Baburao Mane and another vs. Ramchandra Mane (Dead) Through L.Rs.; Smt. Manisha Srivastava vs. Rohit Srivastava.; Smt. Sadhana Srivastava vs.  Arvind Kumar Srivastava. There was no one present before the Court from the wife’s – Respondent’s side.

Court’s Observations

The Court referred to the chronology of the events and the provisions of Section 13 (1) (i-b) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. And concluded that it is very clear from the facts and the documents produced that the wife had filed criminal complaints against the husband and his family members. This fact was abundantly clear from the documentary evidence. The evidence led by the wife was also sifted Therefore, in light of the settled legal position and the judgments on which the Petitioner had relied, it is proved that the wife had no intention of cohabiting on the following grounds:

(1) desertion for more than ten years

(2) cruelty perpetrated by the wife.

Further, the Court gave references to some prominent cases, namely, Narendra Kumar Gupta vs. Indu; AIR 2002 Rajasthan 169; Praveen Mehta vs. Inderjit Mehta; AIR 2002 SC 2582.  Besides, from the discussion of the above cases and shreds of evidence on record that of Petitioner -husband and the Respondent-wife, proved that wife had no intention of continuing with the marital tie and thus no intention of cohabiting with the husband. Further, the parties had lost mutual trust in each other. They are living separately for long rather more than a decade. The wife has ignored the husband. There was a breakdown, which couldn’t be reconciled. And to give a more clarified vision the Court referred to some prominent cases which had arisen with similar circumstances, namely, Durga Prasanna Tripathy v. Arundhati Tripathy; AIR 2005 SC 3297; Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli AIR 2006 SC 1675 (wherein Hon’ble Apex Court has recommended the Union of India to consider bringing in an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to incorporate irretrievable break down of marriage as a ground for granting of the divorce. There also the wife had registered several criminal complaints and thereby perpetrated cruelty on the husband).  In the present case also, allegations were levelled against the husband regarding having concubine but were not proved satisfactorily. Further, there was no possibility of reconciliation between the parties, and therefore, this marriage was required to be dissolved as done in the aforesaid decisions. Furthermore, it can be concluded based on the facts and circumstances which emerged from the record that the Petitioner husband has been subjected to mental cruelty due to the conduct of the Respondent-wife. Moreover, it is an admitted position of the fact that there has been no sincere attempt made by the deserting wife to cohabit with the husband. And if she had the same, she would have shown her willingness in the petition filed by the husband for restitution of conjugal rights. But Instead of it, she filed a complaint under Section 498 (a)even after the husband was acquitted, the wife has not filed an appeal/revision in the superior Court.  Thus,  for the reasons stated above, the marriage should be dissolved.

Court’s Decision 

The Court ordered to dissolve the marriage. But, as the wife was not before the Court and as the matter had proceeded ex-parte, it would be left to her to claim maintenance as per law available to her. The appeal is allowed. And the Judgment and decree shall stand modified to the aforesaid extent. The Record would be sent to the Trial Court, namely, the family court.  

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