Divorce & Restitution of Conjugal Rights - If a spouse abuses the other as being born from a prostitute, this cannot be termed as “wear and tear” of family life. - Summoning the police on false or flimsy grounds cannot also be similarly viewed. - Making it impossible for any close relatives to visit or reside in the matrimonial home would also indubitably result in cruelty to the other spouse. - After a cursory discussion of the evidence which the Trial Court had discussed threadbare, the High Court was not justified to set aside the conclusions arrived at by the Trial Court without giving substantiated reasons. - 2015 S.C. msklawreports
The Trial Court
The Appellant has deposed that
when his sister came to the U.S., she initially stayed with him and the
However, the Respondent did not like having her in the house,
so she locked the Respondent and his sister out of the house, was abusive
towards them and told them that they belonged to a “prostitute family”.
Eventually the Appellant’s sister was constrained to stay at a Lodge.
Respondent claimed that the dispute was because her sister-in-law tried to
make her join her diamond business, which she did not want to do.
Court found no truth in the argument of the Respondent, in light of the
fact that she has no background or knowledge of the diamond business.
Furthermore, the Appellant has deposed that when his brother came to the
U.S. to study, he also initially stayed at the Appellant’s house.
it is in evidence that the Respondent called the Appellant at work alleging
that his brother was knocking on her door, thus implying that he was
behaving in an untoward manner.
She abused the Appellant and his family in
the presence of his brother and threatened to file a police complaint.
Appellant has deposed that he was forced to make his brother stay
In a subsequent event, the Appellant informed the Respondent
that his parents would be coming to the U.S.
The Respondent was verbally
and physically abusive, and called the police alleging domestic violence.
The Appellant was given a warning by the Police.
The Respondent claimed
that the incident took place because the Appellant was having an affair
with a woman named Solai.
She claimed that he took her to Solai’s house
that evening and then wanted to go back at night, which is why she called
The Trial Court has justifiably highlighted that summoning the
police was serious because the Appellant was in a foreign country and
didn’t know the laws and procedure.
Further, the allegation that he was
having an affair was not accepted, as it was unbelievable that the
Respondent had previously not told anyone about Solai and further that it
never came up du ring the attempted compromise between the families of the
The Respondent claimed that after having the child, she came
to live with the Appellant, which the Appellant denied.
The Respondent also
alleged that while she was living with the Appellant’s family, his parents
took the child who was only three months old away for six hours. By the
time they brought him back, he was unconscious due to starvation.
Respondent questioned them about this, they asked her to leave the house
with the child, even though it was late in the night.
The Trial Court found
this allegation entirely unbelievable. Her allegation that the father of
the Appellant started misbehaving with her and went to the extent of
pulling her hands was also found to be false.
The Trial Court also took
into consideration the voice mails and emails from the Respondent to the
Appellant, which were not treated as the main evidence but as evidence
intended to substantiate the oral evidence.
It was held that the evidence
and the submissions of the Respondent indicate that she was unwilling to
live in the Appellant’s house in Chennai, and that she wanted him to leave
his family in India and live in the U.S. with her.
It is pertinent to note
that the Appellant had lost his job in the U.S. and was unemployed and
consequently had to set up residence in Chennai.
In light of these
circumstances, it was found that the Respondent is not entitled to conjugal
rights. An order of dissolution of marriage was passed and maintenance was
fixed at Rs. 25,000 per month.
The High Court,
however, held that the Appellant’s allegations in his
divorce petition were no more than “the ordinary wear and tear” that takes
place in a marriage.
It observed that the Appellant did not give details of
the events of abuse by the Respondent towards his family or the cruelty
that was meted out to him in the U.S. in his main petition or his
subsequent counter affidavits.
It was only after filing the petition that
the Appellant had produced copies of the abusive voicemails and emails he
received from the Respondent.
The High Court noted that the Trial Court did
not need to strictly adhere to hard and fast rules while entertaining
evidence, but nevertheless held that the Trial Court had acted in haste in
allowing the Appellant’s allegations.
The High Court found that the Trial
Court, instead of considering whether the Appellant had established cruelty
by adducing evidence, took certain answers from the Respondent’s Chief
examination and cross-examination out of context and held that a case of
cruelty was made out.
The High Court stated that in a matrimonial
relationship, parties must be prepared to subject themselves to the normal
wear and tear of life, and that the situation at hand was no more than
The divorce petition was thus dismissed and the petition for
restitution of conjugal rights was allowed.
If a spouse abuses the other as being born from a prostitute, this cannot be termed as “wear and tear” of family life. - Summoning the police on false or flimsy grounds cannot
also be similarly viewed. - Making it impossible for any close relatives to visit or reside in the matrimonial home would also indubitably result in cruelty to the other spouse. -
After a cursory discussion of the evidence which the Trial Court had discussed threadbare, the High Court was not justified to set aside the conclusions arrived at by the Trial Court without giving substantiated reasons. - 2015 S.C. msklawreports