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10/7/2017 Cruelty - as a ground for Divorce

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and husband-wife are considered to be one in law. In 1869 the Indian Divorce Act was passed but it had remained in
Yet Another Category applicable to the Hindus and after the Independence on 18th may 1955 The Hindu Marriage Act has been passes
which governs all the matters and situations related to Hindu marriages.
More Options Impact of Physical and Mental Cruelty in Matrimonial Matters;

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Prior to the 1976 amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 cruelty was not a ground for claiming divorce under
Most rated articles the Hindu Marriage Act. It was only a ground for claiming judicial separation under Section 10 of the Act. By 1976 1/5
10/7/2017 Cruelty - as a ground for Divorce

Subscription Amendment, the Cruelty was made ground for divorce. The words, which have been incorporated, are "as to cause a
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Legal Provisions:
Email The Hindu Marriage Act-1955 has given the legal provision for divorce on basis of cruelty under section 13(1)(ia) as
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Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by
either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party has, after the
solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty.
On basis of this section we can explain this legal basis for the divorce as anybody who is getting suffer from the other
party in physical manner or a mental torture or any other type of harassment then the other can reach to the court
To Copyright Your Books, with this base and claim for the divorce. And there are various cases where courts held that the intention to be cruel
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Call us at: 9891244487 / or email is not an essential element of cruelty as envisaged under this section.
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Law Updates: Apart from the cruelty there are several other bases for divorce on which one can claim divorce and some of those
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So on these above grounds men and women can claim for decree of divorce in front of the law.

Cruelty In Eyes Of The Court:

There are various grounds for claim on basis of cruelty and types of cruelty, which are identified by the courts in their
various judgements, and the courts provide a legal backup for the sufferer in this sense. They have given following
explanation within the scope of cruelty under section 13(1)(ia);

It is sufficient that if the cruelty is of such type that it becomes impossible for spouses to live together,

The leveling of false allegation by one spouse about the other having alleged illicit relations with different persons
outside wedlock amounted to mental cruelty,

A husband cannot ask his wife that he does not like her company, but she can or should stay with other members of
the family in matrimonial home. Such an attitude is cruelty in itself on the part of the husband,

Social torture by anyone of the spouses to the other, found to be as the mental torture and cruelty.

If the intention to harm, harass or hurt could be inferred by the nature of the conduct or brutal act complained of,
cruelty could be easily established. But the absence of intention should not make any difference in the case. The
cruel treatment may also result from the cultural conflict between the parties.

A party can cause mental cruelty when the other spouse levels an allegation that the petitioner is a mental patient,
or that he requires expert psychological treatment to restore his mental health.

There are various other forms of cruelty given by courts in different cases.

Case Laws:

Naveen Kohli Vs. Neelu Kohli [AIR 2004 All 1]


The appellant, Naveen Kohli got married to Neelu Kohli on 20.11.1975. Three sons were born out of the wedlock of
the parties.

According to the appellant, the respondent is bad tempered and a woman of rude behaviour. After marriage, she
started quarrelling and misbehaving with the appellant and his parents and ultimately, the appellant was compelled
to leave the parental residence and started to reside in a rented premises from May 1994.

The appellant alleged that in the month of May 1994, when he along with the respondent and their children visited
Bombay to attend the golden jubilee marriage anniversary of his father-in-law, he noticed that the respondent was
indulging in an indecent manner and found her in a compromising position with one Biswas Rout. Immediately
thereafter, the appellant started living separately from the respondent since May 1994. The appellant suffered
intense physical and mental torture.

According to the appellant, the respondent had withdrawn Rs. 9,50,000/- from the Bank Account of the appellant and
deposited the same in her account. The appellant alleged that the respondent got a false first information report
registered against him under Sections 420/467/468 and 471 IPC, which was registered as Case No. 156 of 1995.
According to him, the respondent again got a case under Sections 323/324 I.P.C. registered in the police station
Panki, Kanpur City and efforts were made to get the appellant arrested.

Husband field for divorce on grounds of cruelty, Trial Court recorded specific finding about wife harassing and
torturing husband, mentally, physically and financially. Decree of dissolution of marriage passed by Trial Court
marriage under Section 13, Hindu Marriage Act.

Wife appealed in High Court and HC held evidence on record not properly appreciated by Trial Court. A finding that
husband immorally cohabited with another lady recorded by the High Court. On that ground held, that it amounted to
misconduct and was uncondonable for the purpose of Section 13(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act and suit for divorce 2/5
10/7/2017 Cruelty - as a ground for Divorce
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Hence, the husband is appealing in SC for the decree of divorce.


From the analysis and evaluation of the entire evidence, it is clear that the respondent has resolved to live in agony
only to make life a miserable hell for the appellant as well. This type of adamant and callous attitude, in the context of
the facts of this case, leaves no manner of doubt in our mind that the respondent is bent upon treating the appellant
with mental cruelty.

The respondent against the appellant has filed number of cases including criminal complaints and every effort has
been made to harass and torture him and even to put the appellant behind the bars by the respondent.

SC held that the word "cruelty" is used in Section 13(1)(i)(a) of the Act in the context of human conduct or behavior in
relation to or in respect of matrimonial duties or obligations. Physical violence is not absolutely essential to constitute
cruelty. A consistent course of conduct inflicting immeasurable mental agony and torture may constitute cruelty.
Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy and abusive language leading to constant
disturbance of mental peace of the other party. Hence SC set aside the judgment of the High Court and directs that
the marriage between the parties should be dissolved according to the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Yudhishthir Singh Vs. Smt. Sarita [AIR 2002 Raj. 382]

The marriage between the appellant-Yudhishter Singh and Sarita was solemnised on 9-12-1990 at Jodhpur.

After one year of the marriage, i.e. on 13-4-1992, Sarita had to file an application for restitution of conjugal rights in
the Family Court at Jodhpur.

She averred that her husband, who was posted as Junior Engineer at Village Gotan was depriving her the company.
She was kept at the ancestral house at Mandore instead at Gotan. He used to visit on weekend. Whenever she
made a request to take her to Gotan, it was rejected on the ground that her father did not meet the demand of
Scooter and Rs. 11,000/- in cash.

The efforts made by the relatives to drop the demand of Scooter and payment of cash did not succeed. She was
asked to leave the house. The husband did not make any effort to bring her from her parents' house.

On the contrary with a view to contract a second marriage strategies were evolved including securing a decree for
divorce. It is also alleged that whenever she visited her matrimonial home, she was not being accepted and sent

The husband in his written statement denied the allegations. The husband sought a decree for dissolution of
marriage on the ground of cruelty. The instances of cruelty have been enumerated in the order of the learned Judge,
Family Court, as follows: -

The wife used to insist him to live separately in the locality known as Paota. She was not willing to stay with his
parents. In order to mount pressure on him, on some pretext or the other, she used to stay at her parental house;
In spite of the information she did not attend the marriage in the family of his aunt on 23-11-91;
On 5-4-91 she visited his place of working at Gotan, threatened and mentally tortured him with a view to obtain a
decree for divorce;
In his absence (while he used to be at Gotan) she used to stay at her parents' house instead of matrimonial home.
She used to visit the matrimonial home only on the week end.
It is stated by the husband that after marriage in December, 1990 the wife started quarrelling with him in February,
1991. She was not prepared to stay in the joint family. Therefore, she insisted for separate residence in the locality
known as Paota. She also refused to stay with him at the place of his posting at Gotan. It is also stated that she used
to mostly stay at her parents' house. It is further stated that he used to visit Jodhpur on the weekend and she also
used to visit the matrimonial home only on the week end. He has further stated that on 4-2-91 she left the
matrimonial home along with her brother. Thereafter, when his elder brother Naresh and Bhabhi went to take her
back she refused to accompany them saying that she was not in a mood to return.


The statement of husband does not find corroboration from the statement of his brother Naresh Chandra. He gave
evasive reply denying knowledge as to the fact of insistence for separate house. The allegations made by the
husband on this count are vague. They are not of conclusive nature.

There is evidence on record to show that the husband and his family members made a demand for the dowry stated
above. It has also been admitted that in July 1991 the Scooter was purchased. Therefore, on the basis of the nature
of evidence, which has come on record, it cannot be said that allegations of dowry demand were false and

As regards, the instance of not attending the marriage in the family of his aunt, cannot be construed as cruelty in
absence of evidence as to the exact relation, persuasion and obligation to attend the marriage.

The allegations, pertains to giving of threat of divorce on 5-4-91 at the place of his working. The wife has admitted
that she visited Gotan on 5th but she denied that she took up quarrel with the husband. The husband to establish this
part of the allegation has produced no independent evidence.

The allegation that the wife used to visit the matrimonial home only on weekend, at the first instance, the husband
has failed to establish the absence of the wife at the house on days other than the weekend.

Even if it is true, it cannot be construed as cruelty. It is the case of the husband himself that he used to visit his house
at Jodhpur only on weekend. If he was so keen to keep his wife at her matrimonial home, he could have taken her to
Gotan the place of his working. A husband cannot ask his wife that he does not like her company, but she can or
should stay with other members of the family in matrimonial home. Such an attitude is cruelty in itself on the part of
the husband.

Therefore court had dismissed the appeal of the husband.

On basis of these various points we can say how in history there was no such law, which governs the matter of
divorce in Hindu society but with the implementation of the Hindu Marriage Act-1955, this vacuum has been filled
with proper directions and the law very well handling these matters with the help of the courts. 3/5
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There are many grounds for the divorce provided by law but since we are mainly concerned to the cruelty and in
context of this we have seen how the courts have interpreted cruelty within the boundaries of law according to the

When we go for the interpretation of the section 13 (1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act-1955 we can find that the cruelty
cannot be restricted in a boundary of physical harm but it has the meaning beyond that. As in the case of Naveen
Kohli the court said physical violence is not absolutely essential to constitute cruelty, a consistent course of conduct
inflicting immeasurable mental agony and torture may constitute cruelty and also in case of Yudhishthir Singh court
has held that a husband cannot ask his wife that he does not like her company, but she can or should stay with other
members of the family in matrimonial home, such an attitude is cruelty in itself on the part of the husband. It means
the way for deciding the matter of cruelty the court can apply their own discretionary power.

At last we can conclude that anybody can reach the court for the divorce on basis of cruelty, but, the case will be
decided by the mere facts of that case, court can extend or summarize the meaning of cruelty according to their own
interpretation but within the boundary of the law.

In Addition:
On basis of these vary facts of the project I have constructed the conclusion for the project report, but I want to add
something more for these type of cases; as I have seen in the High Court that laws are in such a manner that women
are getting more of the benefits and the male is helpless in many matters but the balance must be maintained
between spouses so that no body claim to be suffered. Hence for these types of cases Judges are taking
humanitarian approach generally. They did not use the law till certain limit, when they feel that the matter can not be
resolved then only they go for the decree of divorce, e.g. in two different cases where the allegations were same on
the husband that he was making physical harm and mental torture to the wife, they found that on the part of female
her maternal family members are involved in the matter and they are making allegations on behalf of the lady but she
is not, hence judges have gone for the meeting with both the parties and found that the allegations those were put by
them on husband are not true and those were put in the case on advice of the family members and lawyers of the
parties, then judges resolved the cases as the settlement and gone for decree of divorce with the consent of women
that they are taking back the allegations on their husband and those were made under pressure.

So we can see in the case of Kohli also there was the prestige of the man that is on gamble because if the criminal
cases were proved then he will be behind the bars and what could be the social life of them after that. Hence for the
cases of this type we must see for both faces of coin and then only go for any decision, so no body will claim to be

# Laws of Marriage and Divorce (1999), by: H.K. Saharaj; Eastern Law House, Calcutta.
# Bare Act on Hindu Laws (2006), Universal Law Publishing Company Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi.
# Text Material given by Institute.

The author can be reached at:

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