Leaving The Company of Spouse for Many Years without Reasonable Cause Amounts to Desertion

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Orissa High Court in its recent decision in Usharani Pradhan v. Brajakishore Pradhan, decided on 19 November 2015 by a division bench of S.K. Sahoo and Vinod Prasad JJ, held that a wife living separately from her husband and children, keeping high ambition of becoming a politician and neglecting her marital duties is desertion and is entitled to divorce. The appellant and the respondent were married on 22.05.1991 and thereafter were blessed with a boy and a girl. Due to the appellant’s interest in politics, she neglected her family by being outside till late hours of night, not making food for children and behaved badly with her husband. The appellant even instituted false police charges against respondent. She left her husband’s house on 07.03.2007 and started residing at another place in same town. After two years of desertion, respondent instituted a divorce proceeding at Family Court, Puri, where the court held that husband was entitled to divorce. Aggrieved by this, the wife filed an appeal in Orissa High Court alleging that after they were blessed with their children they adopted the child of their maternal aunt who died on giving birth to the child and the respondent later on was pressurizing appellant to return the child, due to which there were tension between them and the husband assaulted her. Due to this reason appellant had to leave her husband’s house and take shelter at her paternal house with the adopted child. But the material on record indicated that due to her involvement with Mahila Samiti, she was neglecting her family and her marital duties. The respondent was taking care of their children. The court upheld the decision of Family Court and dismissed the appeal stating that the conduct of the appellant clearly indicated no interest in her family life.

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