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Unnecessary Accusation Against Person About Impotency Amounts to Mental Cruelty: Kerala High Court

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The appellant and respondents entered their new stage of life i.e., married life on 30th June of 2008. Both were into the medical field and married with the hope to stay together with love and joy. But this hope never became a reality from day one of the marriage as claimed by the appellant. The respondent was not seen excited even after a week of marriage. Later the appellant travelled to another town for perusing his studies and the respondent to a different town. After 2 years they came together for almost 25 days and yet the excitement was not seen by the appellant. The same continued for a long time and the appellant decided to get done with the marriage for once. 

Due to this, he approached the Family Court in Thrissur seeking to annul his marriage and to declare it void. In response to this, the respondent moved to the same court seeking restitution of conjugal rights. The learned judge of the Family Court, after hearing the petitioners and respondents in the original petition, dismissed the appellants petition of nulling his marriage and granted a decree to the respondent seeking restitution of conjugal rights. The instant appeal arises due to the aforesaid order.  

Arguments before the Court

The appellant or the petitioner in the original petition was represented by Advocate N.K. Subramanian put forth the arguments for the side of the petitioner. The first point argued by the counsel was about the suppression of facts by the respondent. The counsel claimed that the suppressed fact of unsoundness of mind led to the consent of the marriage between the appellant and respondent. The second point placed before the bench was the dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty by the spouse. The respondent had alleged that the appellant was incapable of entering into sexual contact with the respondent. But the counsel for the appellant provided all the sufficient evidence acceptable by the court to contradict the respondent’s claim. The respondent was represented by Advocate Sri K.N. Abhilash. The respondents did not make any significant submission that would justify the order passed by the learned judge of the Family Court. 

Court’s Observation

The Court in the instant matter observed that the consent to marriage is by the free will of both the parties. The appellant sought dissolution of marriage on the ground of fraud or force under section 19 of the Divorce Act, 1869. But the Court observed that the word suppression does not amount to fraud or force. Hence the Court observed that the appellants claim with regard to the aforesaid point was not considerable. When concerned with the point of cruelty, raised by the appellant, was examined. The Court considered the allegation of impotency and the contradictory statement by the respondent herself in this regard, it was held that cruelty does not restrict itself to physical harassment but extends to mental harassment as well. When considered the educational qualification, social background, economic background, the respondent’s allegation caused damage to the character of the appellant. Hence the bench considered that fake allegation on a person will amount to cruelty. 

Court’s Judgement

The Court declared that the Family Court’s order was not based on examination of facts and circumstances and hence not valid. The Court’s order was reversed and the appellant’s prayer for dissolution of marriage was accepted. The Court rejected the respondent’s prayer of restitution of conjugal rights. The Court held that the act of respondent amounted to cruelty, as a false or fake allegation of impotency against a person does amount to cruelty. 

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