NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has come to the rescue of a man who had to face a criminal case in which his wife had falsely accused him of dowry harassment, complained of adultery to his superiors and finally stopped living with him from March 4, 2006. However, she refused to allow him a divorce.
A division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Deepa Sharma recently ended his agony on the ground of mental cruelty by upholding a trial court order that was challenged by the wife.
“The allegations leveled by the wife which she failed to substantiate even on the yardstick of preponderance of evidence are of such a nature that would have lowered the image of the husband in the eyes of his superiors, subordinates and peers and this act would certainly constitute cruelty,” the court said, reiterating the legal dictum laid down by the Supreme Court that unsubstantiated allegations amounts to mental cruelty and is a ground for divorce.
The wife claimed that the trial court had ignored her allegations of dowry harassment and torture by in-laws. She had also accused the husband of ill-treating her and denying maintenance. But HC saw no evidence, noting that “during the existence of a marriage of about 13 years, no complaint of demand of dowry was ever lodged by her against the husband or his family members”.
The husband said she used to quarrel on petty issues and had even refused to prepare food for him and do the household chores. He alleged she had also humiliated him in front of his friends on several occasions by refusing to serve them tea.
Focusing on the false criminal case and the adultery allegations, HC said, “Evidence clearly establishes the facts that the wife had filed a false criminal complaint under Section 498A of IPC, and the (trial) court had discharged the husband. On her complaints, the department (of the husband) had also conducted inquiry against him and exonerated him. During the trial, the wife had taken a stand that her husband remarried…but could not prove it.”
The court relied upon basic principles laid down by both SC and HC that “false police complaints would result in mental cruelty as it leads to loss of reputation and standing in the society at the instance of one’s spouse. The act of leveling unsubstantiated charges of adultery against the husband not only during the stay of the spouses together but also during the divorce proceedings was treated as an act of cruelty on the part of the wife”.
Times of India| Aug 12, 2017 Pg. 6