The Delhi High Court, in the case of Vishal Singh v. Priya concluded that the new bride’s conduct of being in her room, unwillingness to perform household chores, or making a physical relationship is not cruelty to a husband.
Facts of the Case
Vishal Singh had married Priya on 29.11.2012 according to Hindu rites and ceremonies. He claims that she was cruel, insulted his family among guests, and refused to consummate with him at the beginning of the marriage. The husband claimed that she also had an affair with Respondent No. 2 (R.N. 2). And that she tried to elope with R.N. 2 with jewelry and valuables. He submitted her letter where she mentioned her preference to marry R.N. 2. However, she was brought back home by her brother and had apologized to the appellant over the phone.
On the contrary, R.N. 1 opposed the divorce petition stating that the husband had tried to hide his misconduct. She claimed that her in-laws had harassed and attempted to murder her for bringing a 10 lakh rupees car. For this, she was forced to write and sign the letter. The husband has relied on the same for evidence.
The learned Family Court concluded that the husband was unable to prove the allegations. Thus, he was unsuitable for the divorce. Aggrieved by the judgment, the husband had appealed to the Delhi High Court. He sought dissolution of the marriage with R.N. 1 under Section 13(1) (i) and (i a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The appellant accused the wife of the following:
- Having a ‘rude’ and ‘cruel behavior’ after the marriage.
- Picking up quarrels on trivial matters.
- Refusing to have a regular physical relationship with him.
- Not appearing for the Post wedding ceremony(including Muh Dikhai).
- Looking nervous and unhappy at the marriage reception.
- Disinclination to do any household work.
The husband had appealed on the grounds that the Family Court had ignored the evidence. He contended that the evidence had remained unchallenged and un-rebutted. Further, he urged that the illicit relationship of the wife was enough to dissolve the marriage. The appellant also claimed immense suffering in police custody due to the wife’s complaint. Now, the marriage was consummated but no child was born to them. These were the grounds stated for the dissolution of marriage.
The wife denied the suggestion of a live-in, adulterous relationship with R.N. 2. She stated that she had disclosed everything to her husband before the marriage. She also alleged that her in-laws had attempted to kill her and tried to suffocate her with a pillow. Not only this, but they also threw her near her parental village. Moreover, she had registered a complaint against the husband and his family members. The complaint was filed at PS Khurja under Sections 498-A/307/504/50 of the IPC after this incident.
A Division Bench comprised of Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon heard the matter. The Court stated that even on perusal of the appellant’s affidavit, they could not recognize a case of adultery or cruelty. Also, there was no proof on record to show the adultery of R.N. 1, despite the appellant’s claim to have produced it. Moreover, the allegation of adultery before marriage is meaningless, and it could occur only after the marriage solemnity. However, there was no proof to substantiate the continuation of the affair after the marriage. The Court further opined that none of the ‘cruel acts’ attributed by the appellant could tantamount to ‘cruel’ conduct. In sum, the Court asserted that,
“A new bride would be hesitant in her new surroundings in the matrimonial home. It is always for the husband’s family to make the new bride feel at home and accepted as a family member. Therefore, such conduct of the respondent No.1/wife of being interested in remaining in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work can by no stretch of imagination be described as cruel behavior and that too upon the appellant/husband.”
The Court found that she did not refuse her husband for physical relations regularly. And this was done only on one occasion. Thus, this ground too was unavailable to claim ‘cruelty’. Further, the guests, parents, or relatives of the husband did not comment on the alleged misbehavior. Also, the husband failed to counter the allegations of the wife against him.
After assessing, the Court held that prima facie evidence of the FIR wouldn’t be held false, frivolous, or vague nor has any Court concluded it to be false. The Court appreciated the husband’s step of reunion with his wife and hope for a bright future. This left no scope for any dissolution of the marriage between the parties.
The Court upheld the decision of the learned Family Court. Since there was no merit, the Court dismissed the pending application and appeal.
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