Damaging reputation of spouse amounts to mental cruelty: Supreme Court

Damaging reputation of spouse amounts to mental cruelty: Supreme Court

New Delhi, February 26

Defamatory complaints against spouse and damaging his reputation amount to mental cruelty, the Supreme Court said on Friday while granting divorce to an Army officer.

A Bench headed by Justice SK Kaul said the Uttarakhand High Court was in error in describing the broken relationship as normal wear and tear of middle-class married life.

“It is a definite case of cruelty inflicted by the respondent against the appellant and as such enough justification is found to set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and to restore the order passed by the family court,” the Bench observed.

‘Error in HC judgment’

  • An apex court Bench, headed by Justice SK Kaul, says Uttarakhand High Court erred in describing the broken relationship as normal wear and tear of middle-class married life.
  • Rules appellant Army officer entitled to dissolution of marriage.

“The appellant is accordingly held entitled to dissolution of his marriage and consequently the respondent’s application for restitution of conjugal rights stands dismissed. It is ordered accordingly,” it said.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the Army officer seeking divorce alleging mental cruelty by his wife who is holding a faculty position in a government PG College.

They got married in 2006 and lived together for a few months, but differences cropped up and they have lived apart since 2007.

The wife also filed a petition against the husband for restitution of conjugal rights and for resumption of matrimonial life.

The Bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, said: “The degree of tolerance will vary from one couple to another and the court will have to bear in mind the background, the level of education and also the status of the parties, in order to determine whether the cruelty alleged is sufficient to justify dissolution of marriage, at the instance of the wronged party.”

“For considering dissolution of marriage at the instance of a spouse who alleges mental cruelty, the result of such mental cruelty must be such that it is not possible to continue with the matrimonial relationship,” the Bench added

The court said the allegations were levelled by a highly educated spouse and they do have the propensity to irreparably damage the character and reputation of the appellant.

The apex court noted that materials in the present case reveal that the wife had made several defamatory complaints to the appellant’s superiors in the Army for which, a Court of Inquiry was conducted by the Army. — PTI

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