Cruelty Includes Forced Sex And Same Is A Valid Ground For Divorce Declares Punjab And Haryana High Court

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Punjab and Haryana interpreted the provision of cruelty and gave it a new dimension by ruling that forced sex is cruelty and same can be considered as a ground for divorce.

Facts of the Case and Arguments advanced

Petitioner was united with respondent on 21st January 2007 in the holy union of marriage. She was blessed with a baby boy from the wedlock. A sum of 4 lakh rupees was spent on her marriage and sufficient dowry had been given to the respondent. Petitioner’s plea for divorce in the trial court was dismissed by District Judge of Bhatinda, aggrieved by the decision of the lower court, petitioner preferred an appeal in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. During the pendency of appeal petitioner waived of her rights of maintenance and requested for a divorce by mutual consent but the idea of divorce by mutual consent did not see the light of the day.

Petitioner alleges that she was treated with cruelty as was forcibly made to participate in barbarous and abhorrent obscene obnoxious acts of the respondent. It was also alleged that Respondent was a drunkard and had lied to the petitioner about his occupation and had made a promise of supporting her education after marriage. Petitioner while in her matrimony home was repeatedly taunted by her in-laws for not bringing sufficient dowry and often beaten by respondent for the same. Furthermore, Petition also claimed that Respondent committed forcible sexual acts against her wishes and moods even during the painful period of menses continuously sodomized the petitioner and forced her to indulge in oral sex.

Respondent attacked the petition on the ground that there was no cause of action. Petitioner went to Bhatinda for writing her exams and her parents are not allowing her to return to her matrimonial home. Respondent’s further submitted that petition was filed at the instance of petitioner’s parent. Respondent denied that he had concealed his true occupation from the petitioner and other allegations of domestic violence and sodomy were denied. The allegation of demanding dowry was also denied as improbable because respondent’s family was a reputed family and father of the respondent was a class I officer in Bihar Government.

Issues

Following issues were framed by the court:-

  1. Whether the respondent had caused physical and mental cruelty to the petitioner?
  2. Whether the petitioner is entitled to the decree of divorce?
  3. Whether the petition is not maintainable in the present form?
  4. Whether the petitioner has no cause of action or filing the petition?
  5. Relief

The Decision of the case

Division Bench of High Court after listening to the submissions of both the sides said that “The act of sodomy, forcible sexual intercourse, and adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse and result for unbearable pain to the extent that one is forced to stay away would certainly be a ground to seek separation or decree of divorce”. Moreover, the court also said that “In the present case there are allegations of demand of dowry, beating, the commission of unnatural sex, creating such circumstances that the appellant was compelled to leave Bihar 8 years back.” Court held that the appellant had been treated with both, mental and physical cruelty and keeping in mind the same dissolved the appellant’s marriage with respondent.

Learnings of the Case

From this case, we learn that wife can be granted a divorce if she is being forced by her husband to have sexual intercourse with him.

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