Tag Archives: cruelty

woman aborting kid without husband’s consent is mental cruelty & ground for divorce : PUNE COURT

A family court here recently held that a woman’s decision to abort her child without consent from her husband is cause for mental cruelty and can form
— Read on m.timesofindia.com/city/pune/family-court-rules-in-mans-favour/amp_articleshow/69588131.cms

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ASI suicide after fight with wife !! Matrimonial issues are becoming so torturous that even policemen commit suicide

पत्नी से विवाद के कारण ASI ने लगाई फांसी, छोड़ा 4 पेज का सुसाइड नोट
Published: by Rashmi Shrivastava
Long Press here to Share
जांजगीर-चाम्पा। पारिवारिक विवाद के चलते शुक्रवार को एसपी कार्यलय में पदस्थ एएसआई उमेश भारद्वाज ने घर में पंखे पर लटककर खुदखुशी कर ली। खुदकुशी करने से पहले मृत एएसआई ने दोस्तों को सुसाइड मैसेज भेजा था।
— Read on m.inhnews.in/Janjgir-Champa/news/attempt-theft-bank-10340

#Ridiculing #Husband Before His Close Friends, Relatives, Colleagues & Challenging His #Dignity is #cruelty: Kerala HC

“….The various letters and complaints written by the respondent against her husband before the authorities wherein the husband was working, ridiculing him among the officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the oral evidence tendered by PW2 to PW14 and Exhibits A1 to A38. Ridiculing the husband among his close friends, relatives and also before the officials wherein he was working and challenging his dignity amounts to #cruelty in all means…

…The #pain and #suffering meted out by the petitioner on registration of a crime against him by the concerned #police can very well discern from the fact that it was registered while he was at the age of 70 years. He was not #permitted to participate in the #marriage of his one and the #only #daughter, PW7. He has been #ridiculed before his #officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the various complaints and letters issued at various occasions. The extent of cruelty is well evident from the nature of #wild #allegations #levelled against him in those complaints and letters…..” : Hon Kerala HC

kerala hc

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

PRESENT:

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE A.M.SHAFFIQUE

&

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.SOMARAJAN

WEDNESDAY, THE 1ST DAY OF AUGUST 2018 / 10TH SRAVANA, 1940

Mat.Appeal.No. 360 of 2013

AGAINST THE JUDGMENT DATED 06-03-2013 IN OPNO.134/2006 of FAMILY COURT, KANNUR

APPELLANT/PETITIONER
V.V.PRABHAKARAN
S/O. KUNHIRAMAN NAMBIAR,
CHALIL, “LAKSHMIPRABHA”,
ELAYAVOOR AMSOM DESOM,
P.O. MUNDAYAD, KANNUR – 670 597.
BY SRI. V.V.PRABHAKARAN
(PARTY-IN-PERSON)

RESPONDENT/RESPONDENT:
T.CHANDRAMATHI
D/O.LATE T.K.G. NAMBIAR,
THEENDAKKARA HOUSE,
KANNAPURAM AMSOM DESOM,
P.O. MOTTAMMAL, KANNUR – 670 331.

BY ADV. SRI.K.RAJESH SUKUMARAN

THIS MATRIMONIAL APPEAL HAVING BEEN FINALLY HEARD ON 20.6.2018,
THE COURT ON 01-08-2018, DELIVERED THE FOLLOWING:

A.M.SHAFFIQUE &

P. SOMARAJAN, JJ.


Mat. Appeal No. 360 of 2013


Dated this the 1st day of August, 2018

J U D G M E N T

P. Somarajan, J.

  1. Against the order dated 06.03.2013 in O.P.No.134/2006 of the Family Court, Kannur, the husband came up with this appeal aggrieved by the order refusing to grant divorce of the marriage.
  2. 2. The marriage was solemnized as early as on 13.05.1973. There are four issues in the wedlock. Since 1995, they are residing separately and the petition for divorce was filed in the year 2006 alleging cruelty. The Family Court on consideration of evidence and on hearing the parties found that there is no sufficient ground for granting divorce and consequently the application was dismissed, against which this appeal is preferred.
  3. 3. The original petition was submitted by the petitioner after a long cohabitation with his wife, the respondent herein, more specifically after the expiry of more than 22 years. This would prima facie cast a duty on the court to examine the ground alleged for divorce with its all details so as to find out the existence of elements of cruelty and whether it is sufficient to bring the relationship to an end. The petitioner had given oral evidence as PW1. PW2 to PW14 were examined in support of his case besides the marking of Exhibits A1 to A38. All these persons were examined along with the relevant documents in order to show the misbehaviour of the respondent towards her husband, the petitioner herein, and that he was subjected to continuous mental cruelty challenging his dignity among his friends, relatives, subordinate officers and higher officials. There is no much dispute that the husband/petitioner is living separately from the respondent/wife right from the year 1995. The wife is aged 60 and the petitioner is aged 70 years. There are four issues in the wedlock. They were living as husband and wife for a long period of more than 22 years. It is an admitted case of the respondent that she had preferred a complaint against her husband alleging offence under Section 498A IPC, that too in the year 2003, and a crime was registered as Crime No.379/2003 of Kannapuram Police Station. Subsequently the case was, according to the respondent, settled out of court and herself and her children had given evidence hostile to the prosecution. This would be a factor requires serious consideration as to why they have turned hostile to the criminal case initiated at their instance and whether it was a pressurizing tactics played on the petitioner who was aged more than 70 years. The intention to subject the petitioner with mental cruelty is well evident.
  4. 4. Admittedly the petitioner who is the father of PW7, was not invited for the marriage of PW7, though PW7 is the only daughter born in the wedlock. The reason advanced by the respondent that by that time he had filed a divorce O.P. against the respondent and hence cannot find any fault with her, is seemed to be so strange. The marriage of PW7 was conducted without inviting her father, the petitioner herein. Whether the relationship in between the father and mother became strained is not at all a ground for excluding the father from attending the marriage of his only daughter.
  5. 5. Exhibit A29 letter written by the respondent on 30.09.2003 is self explanatory with respect to the cruelty meted out by the petitioner from his wife. The filthy language used against her mother-in-law and the various wild allegations made against him would prima facie show the way in which he was treated by his wife, the respondent herein. Scandalous allegations were raised against him in Exhibit A30 complaint submitted to the superior officer of the petitioner. The nature of scandalous allegations raised in Exhibit A30 which was submitted to the senior officer of the petitioner would amply show the cruelty and misbehaviour showered on the petitioner by his wife, the respondent. Exhibit A28 apology letter would be an admission of what she had done against her husband, the petitioner herein. Exhibits A24 and A25 would also show the misbehaviour and cruelty unleashed against the petitioner by the respondent.
  6. 6. The various letters and complaints written by the respondent against her husband before the authorities wherein the husband was working, ridiculing him among the officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the oral evidence tendered by PW2 to PW14 and Exhibits A1 to A38. Ridiculing the husband among his close friends, relatives and also before the officials wherein he was working and challenging his dignity amounts to cruelty in all means. Filing of a complaint against her husband alleging offence under Section 498A IPC and registration of a crime against him and the admission made by her that she herself and her children turned hostile to the prosecution resulting in acquittal of the petitioner would prima facie show the way in which he was subjected to cruelty challenging his dignity. The pain and suffering meted out by the petitioner on registration of a crime against him by the concerned police can very well discern from the fact that it was registered while he was at the age of 70 years. He was not permitted to participate in the marriage of his one and the only daughter, PW7. He has been ridiculed before his officials, friends and relatives is well evident from the various complaints and letters issued at various occasions. The extent of cruelty is well evident from the nature of wild allegations levelled against him in those complaints and letters. As discussed earlier, ridiculing the husband before his friends, officials and relatives and challenging his dignity by his wife amounts to mental cruelty having far reaching effects. This cannot be condoned on a later point of time as it will remain in the mind of the petitioner as an incurable injury. The way in which he was treated and ridiculed is further evident from the fact that a publication was made regarding the marriage of her daughter under Exhibit A10 notice which is yet another attempt to degrade the dignity of her father who was excluded from attending the marriage of his one and the only daughter. The reasons advanced by the Lower Court even by quoting a Sanskrit sloga alleged to have been borrowed from the petitioner that “wife should be minister in purpose, slave in duty, Lakshmi in appearance, Earth in patience, Mother in love and prostitute in bed” would itself show the manner in which the Lower Court misappreciated the evidence involved in the case. Submission of a compromise signed by the parties, exhibited as A32, regarding the crime registered against the petitioner will not condone the earlier act of the respondent causing registration of a criminal case under the guise of an alleged offence under Section 498A IPC against her husband who was at the age of 70 years. The cruelty meted out by the petitioner is of that nature sufficient to bring their relationship as husband and wife in an irretrievable halt and hence the petitioner is entitled to the grant of a decree of divorce of the marriage with the respondent. Hence, the judgment of the Lower Court is hereby set aside. A decree of divorce of marriage of the petitioner with the respondent with effect from the date of decree is hereby granted.
  7. Appeal is allowed accordingly, no costs.

sd/-

A.M.SHAFFIQUE (JUDGE)

sd/-

P. SOMARAJAN (JUDGE)

DMR/-

Filing #False498a on husband is #Cruelty. #Divorce affirmed. #MadrasHC

/////a fase complaint was lodged against her husband, and the case came to be registered under Sec. 498A I.P.C., and criminal proceedings were initiated, and the husband was also arrested. It remains to be stated that the mental cruelty faced by the husband has to be assessed having regard to his status in his life, educational background and the environment, in which he lived. The husband could have suffered traumatic experience because of the police complaint and the consequent loss of reputation and prestige in the society. This Court is of the considered view that the facts and circumstances in the instant case would clearly speak of volume of the false complaint given by the appellant wife against her husband, which resulted in the criminal proceedings, which he had to face. It is true that he was arrested, and then, he was let on bail. No doubt, it is a clear case, wherein the reputation and prestige of the husband in the society has been spoiled. In such circumstances, lodging of the police complaint by the appellant wife has got to be necessarily termed as mental cruelty. In view of these reasons, it would be suffice to sustain the finding of the lower Court that there was sufficient ground of mental cruelty, which would necessitate for grant of divorce./////
******
Madras High Court
Author: M Chockalingam
Bench: N Balasubramanian, M Chockalingam

JUDGMENT M. Chockalingam, J.

1. This appeal has arisen from the order of the I Additional Family Court, Chennai, granting divorce in favour of the respondent husband under Sec. 13(1)(1a) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

2. The respondent husband sought a decree of divorce before the lower Court alleging that the marriage between himself and the appellant herein took place on 5.9.1991; that they have been living happily for a short while; that thereafter, she created problem and went over from the matrimonial house to her parents’ house; that she lodged a false complaint against him, on the basis of which a case was registered by the police for dowry harassment; that he was arrested and later, let on bail; that the criminal proceedings also went on, and thus, all along, he has been harassed by her; that because of that, he had mental cruelty, and hence, it was a fit case for granting the relief of divorce.

3. The O.P. was contested by the appellant wife stating that it is true that there was a marriage between the parties, but, she was driven away; that there was a child born; that he has not even cared to maintain her or her child; that the allegation that there was mental cruelty caused by the wife against the husband, is utterly false; that he having failed to maintain his wife and child, has come with this false case; that within a short time from the time of marriage, namely a week, there was a dowry harassment by the husband and his sister; that a complaint was lodged by her father in that regard; that pursuant to the same, a case came to be registered under Sec. 498A I.P.C., and criminal proceedings went on; that he was also found guilty in the said case by the trial Court; that the allegation now made by him is an invention; that in order to wriggle out of the marriage tie, he has filed this false case, and hence, the relief was to be denied. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021441313613459456

4. The trial Court recorded the evidence. On the appraisal of the entire evidence, the Court below has found that it was a fit case for divorce and accordingly, granted the relief, what is being challenged in this C.M.A.

5. The learned Counsel appearing for the appellant wife, would submit that in the criminal case, both the lower Courts have found that there was a dowry harassment; that though the judgments of the lower Courts were set aside by this Court, there was sufficient evidence let in to substantiate the dowry harassment, and apart from that, having harassed his wife by demanding dowry, he has come forward with the false case for divorce; that he has not even cared to maintain the wife and child; and that it is pertinent to note that the wife has also filed a O.P. for restitution of conjugal rights, which shows the intention of the appellant to live with him. Added further the learned Counsel that the husband has not produced any iota of evidence to show that there was any cruelty made against him; that the petition should have been dismissed by the lower Court, and hence, the order of the lower Court has got to be set aside.

6. After careful consideration of the submission made by the learned Counsel for the appellant and on scrutiny of the available materials, this Court is of the considered opinion that it is not a fit case warranting for admission or for notice to the respondent. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021441313613459456

7. Admittedly, the appellant married the respondent on 5.9.1991, and out of the said wedlock, there was a male born. It is also not in dispute that she lived with him only for a short time. The only contention put forth by the appellant’s side, is that she was driven away from her matrimonial house, and thus, there was a necessity to live with her parents. On the contrary, the respondent husband came with the case of divorce stating that there was mental cruelty, exerted by her by lodging a false complaint under Sec. 498A I.P.C.; that a case came to be registered, and he was also arrested in that regard; that the same would constitute a cruelty, and hence, divorce has to be given. It is an admitted position that the appellant herein lodged a complaint against her husband, and criminal proceedings were initiated; that the said complaint was taken on file by the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Chennai, in C.C.No.11007 of 1992, and the trial went on. It is pertinent to point out that after the initiation of the criminal proceedings, the respondent herein was arrested, and subsequently, he was let on bail. Though the case ended in conviction, he took it on appeal in C.A.No.91 of 1998, which was taken up by the Sessions Court, Madras, which also confirmed the conviction and sentence imposed on him. In such circumstances, the husband took it on revision before this Court in Crl.R.C.No.941 of 2000. This Court had an occasion to consider the rival submissions made and to scrutinise the materials. This Court allowed the revision case and acquitted the respondent husband. At this juncture, it has to be pointed out that on the complaint given by the appellant wife against her husband for dowry harassment, a case came to be registered by the police, and he was arrested and let on bail. He faced the trial before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Chennai in a Calendar Case, and he was convicted and sentenced. That apart, the appeal in C.A.91/98 preferred by him, has also met the same fate at the hands of the Sessions Court. Finally, he was acquitted by this Court.

8. It would be more appropriate and advantageous to reproduce the order of this Court in Crl.R.C.941 of 2000 as follows: “The facts narrated above indicate that the allegations in the complaint to P.W.8 on 26.5.92 should only be considered as an after thought and that the said complaint was given by P.W.1 only to harass the petitioners to subjugate the first petitioner to her wish to stay at Madras. I am unable to accept the prosecution version that the petitioners, joining with the other accused, made a demand for dowry.” Thus, from the wordings found in the judgment of this Court in the revision, it would be clear that it was a false complaint.

9. The case of the appellant was that there was no cruelty exerted, cannot be accepted or countenanced for the simple reason that a fase complaint was lodged against her husband, and the case came to be registered under Sec. 498AI.P.C., and criminal proceedings were initiated, and the husband was also arrested. It remains to be stated that the mental cruelty faced by the husband has to be assessed having regard to his status in his life, educational background and the environment, in which he lived. The husband could have suffered traumatic experience because of the police complaint and the consequent loss of reputation and prestige in the society. This Court is of the considered view that the facts and circumstances in the instant case would clearly speak of volume of the false complaint given by the appellant wife against her husband, which resulted in the criminal proceedings, which he had to face. It is true that he was arrested, and then, he was let on bail. No doubt, it is a clear case, wherein the reputation and prestige of the husband in the society has been spoiled. In such circumstances, lodging of the police complaint by the appellant wife has got to be necessarily termed as mental cruelty. In view of these reasons, it would be suffice to sustain the finding of the lower Court that there was sufficient ground of mental cruelty, which would necessitate for grant of divorce.

10. The learned Counsel for the appellant would submit that the respondent husband has not even made any arrangement for the maintenance of the appellant wife and the minor child also. In such circumstances, while confirming the order of the lower Court, it is made clear that the observations made herein, will not in any way impede the appellant to take necessary proceedings in respect of maintenance for herself and for the child. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021441313613459456

11. With the above observation, this civil miscellaneous appeal is dismissed. No costs. Consequently, connected C.M.Ps. are also dismissed.

#Cruelty under #Hindu #Marriage Act different from #IPC #498a. Different standards even IF events & parties are same – #CalcuttaHC

/////It is well known that the standard of proof in civil suit as well as in the criminal proceeding, is different from each other. Civil suit is tried on the basis of preponderance of probability. Criminal proceedings are tried on the basis of proof beyond reasonable doubt

….

Thus, it appears that the ‘cruelty’ under the Hindu Marriage Act has a different meaning altogether, than that of the concept of ‘cruelty’ as envisaged in the Indian Penal Code. It necessarily follows that even the act complained of, in the criminal proceeding may not constitute cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, but, still such act may constitute a ground of divorce on the ground of cruelty where such acts are so grave and weighty as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021387677759832064 ////

 
IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA

Civil Revisional Jurisdiction Appellate Side

Present:

The Hon’ble Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya

C.O. No.4462 of 2007

Asok Kumar Pal

-versus-

Smt. Sawan Pal

For the Petitioner : Mr. Sardar Amjad Ali, Ms. Kaberi Ghosh.
For the Opposite : Ms. Chama Mookherji, Parties. Mr. Surojit Roy Chowdhury, Ms. Chandrima Chatterjee.
Judgment On : 11 – 07 – 2008.

Two proceedings are continuing side by side. One of such proceedings which was initiated on the complaint of the wife/opposite party against her husband under Section 498A/406/120B of the Indian Penal Code, is now pending for consideration before the learned 1st Court of Judicial Magistrate at Sealdah. The other proceeding is a suit for divorce which was also filed by the wife/opposite party against her husband on the ground of cruelty under Section 13(I)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. Both the aforesaid proceedings were thus, initiated at the instance of the wife/opposite party. First of such proceedings was the criminal proceeding which was filed by the wife, as aforesaid. The civil suit for divorce was filed subsequently. The allegations constituting ‘cruelty’, on which the criminal proceeding was initiated, are the allegations on which the Civil Suit was also founded. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021387677759832064

There is no disagreement between the parties on the issue that the similar set of facts are the foundation of both the criminal proceeding and the civil suit. Charge has already been framed in the criminal proceeding. Issues have also been framed in the civil suit.

Since the claim and counter-claim of the parties are identical in both the aforesaid proceedings it is not quite unnatural that some of the issues and/or charges in those proceedings will be identical.

Both the criminal proceeding and the civil suit have matured for hearing. The cross-examination of the wife/opposite party is now going on, in the criminal proceeding. In the civil suit the petitioner has already submitted his evidence in chief on affidavit. Cross-examination of the petitioner is yet to be commenced. At this stage the petitioner/husband filed an application under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure in the civil suit inter alia praying for stay of further proceeding of the civil suit till the disposal of the aforesaid criminal proceeding on the ground that if both the proceedings are allowed to be proceeded with simultaneously then there will be embarrassment of trial not only for the parties, but also for the Court. It was alleged by the petitioner in the said application that if the civil suit is allowed to be proceeded with then he will be compelled to disclose his full defence, in the civil suit and such disclosure will affect his defence in the criminal proceeding.

Such application of the petitioner/husband was rejected by the learned Trial Judge primarily on the ground that since the petitioner has already filed written statement in the suit and the issues have already been framed, the petitioner cannot be affected, if the civil suit is allowed to be continued simultaneously with the criminal proceeding. Thus, the learned Trial Judge held that though similar set of facts are involved in both the criminal proceeding as well as in the civil suit but, still then, there is hardly any chance of embarrassment in the trial of both the proceedings simultaneously, as the defence had already been disclosed by the petitioner in the civil suit.

Challenging the propriety of the said order the petitioner/husband has filed the instant application under Article 227 of the Constitution of India before this Court. Mr. Sardar Amzad Ali, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner relied upon various decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as of this Hon’ble Court to show that when the pleadings of the parties are identical in both the criminal proceeding as well as in the civil suit and when there is possibility of embarrassment of trial because of such identity of dispute in the said proceedings, it will be expedient to stay all further proceedings of the civil suit till the disposal of the criminal proceeding. Following are the decisions which were relied upon by Mr. Ali in support of his aforesaid submission:-

  1. In the case of M.S. Sheriff & Anr. -Vs- State of Madras & Ors. reported in AIR 1954 SC 397.
  2. In the case of Kusheshwar Deby -Vs- Bharat Cooking Coak Ltd. & Ors. reported in AIR 1988 SCC 2118.

  3. In the case of Dibakar Das -Vs- Registrar General, Appellate Side, High Court & Anr. reported in (2006)2 CHN 48.

  4. In the case of Captain M. Paul Anthony -Vs- Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. reported in AIR 1999 SC 1416.

  5. In the case of Union of India -Vs- Monoranjan Mondal @ M.R. Mondal reported in (2005)1 CHN 222.

  6. In the case of Senior Divisional Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd.

& Anr. -Vs- Satima Cold Storage & Ors. reported in (1989)1 CHN 555.

Mrs. Chama Mookherji, learned Advocate appearing for the opposite party refuted such submission of Mr. Ali by submitting that there is no hard and fast rule which prescribes that in all cases where civil suit and criminal proceeding are founded on a common footing, further proceeding of the civil suit should be stayed till the disposal of the criminal case. Mrs. Mookherji submitted that since the scope of enquiry and the standard of proof in the criminal proceeding as well as in the civil suit are different from each other, civil suit cannot be stayed merely because of pendency of the criminal proceeding. Mrs. Mookherji further contended that in every criminal case, offence complained of, is an offence committed by the accused against the State and as such, the de-facto complainant cannot get any relief in such criminal case, even if, the accused is ultimately found to be guilty and is punished. But, in civil suit the plaintiff can surely get the relief if she succeeds in getting a decree in her favour. She further contended that both the civil suit and the criminal proceeding of such nature, demand speedy and expeditious disposal. As such, further proceeding of the civil suit cannot be stayed. In support of such submission, Mrs. Mookherji relied upon various decisions which are as follows :-

  1. In the case of Kamala Devi Agarwal -Vs- State of West Bengal & Ors. reported in AIR 2001 SC 3846.
  • In the case of Dipot Manager, A.P. State Road Transport Corporation – Vs- Hohd. Yousuf Miya & Ors. reported in (1997)2 SCC 699.

  • In the case of State of Bihar -Vs- Murad Ali Khan & Ors. reported in (1988)4 SCC 655.

  • In the case of Pratibha -Vs- Rameshwari Devi & Ors. reported in 2007(6) SC 554.

  • In the case of State of Rajasthan -Vs- Kalyan Sundaram Cement Industries & Ors. reported in (1996)2 Supreme 333.

  • Heard the learned Counsel of the parties. Considered the materials on record including the order impugned.

    On perusal of the decisions which were cited by Mr. Ali this Court finds that there is uniformity in all the said decisions to the effect that there is no hard and fast rule governing the field. It is only when there is any likelihood of embarrassment, further proceeding of the civil suit can be stayed till the disposal of the criminal proceeding. Whether simultaneous trial of the criminal proceeding and the civil suit will cause any embarrassment or not depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. As such, the Court has to apply its mind for ascertaining as to whether simultaneous trial of the criminal proceeding and the civil suit will cause any embarrassment, in the present set of facts.

    The decisions which were cited by Mrs. Mookherji excepting the decision in the case of State of Rajasthan -Vs- Kalyan Sundaram Cement Industries (supra), are mostly irrelevant for the present purpose as those are the case where either the criminal proceeding was quashed by different High Courts because of pendency of the civil suit or the departmental enquiry in service matter was stayed because of the pendency of the criminal proceeding. In those set of facts the Hon’ble Supreme Court interfered with the decisions of different High Courts which were under challenge before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In the case of State of Rajasthan -Vs- Kalyan Sundaram Cement Industries Ltd. & Ors. (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court, however, held that stay of the civil suit cannot be granted when the defence has already been filed by the defendant in the civil suit. In fact, the principle which were laid down in the said decision, supports the order impugned as the learned Trial Judge rejected the petitioner’s prayer for stay on identical findings.

    Keeping in mind the principles which were laid down in the aforesaid decisions cited by the parties, let me now consider as to whether the further proceeding of the suit should remain stayed till the disposal of the criminal proceeding or not. It is well known that the standard of proof in civil suit as well as in the criminal proceeding, is different from each other. Civil suit is tried on the basis of preponderance of probability. Criminal proceedings are tried on the basis of proof beyond reasonable doubt. When the standard of proof and the scope of enquiry are different from each other, no Court will feel any embarrassment if both the criminal proceeding and the civil suit are proceeded with simultaneously. That apart, the decision of the Criminal Court is not binding upon Civil Court. As such, civil suit should not ordinarily be stayed for considering the fate of the criminal proceeding in the civil suit. But, still then, it is noticed by this Court that on some occasions, proceeding of the Civil Suit was stayed during the pendency of the criminal proceeding, to avoid embarrassment, on the part of the Court for trial of both the proceedings simultaneously. One of such instances is the case of M.S. Sheriff & Anr. -Vs- State of Madras & Ors. (supra), wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court stayed the further proceeding of the civil suits till the disposal of the criminal proceeding. In the said decision I find that the criminal proceeding was initiated for wrongful confinement and in the civil suit, damages were claimed on account of such wrongful confinement. Thus, wrongful confinement was a common issue in both the criminal case as well as in the civil suit, and in fact, damage is the consequential relief on account of wrongful confinement. Under such circumstances, the Hon’ble Supreme Court stayed the further proceeding of the civil suit during the pendency of the criminal proceeding for avoiding embarrassment.

    Let me now consider as to how far the said principle is applicable in the facts of the instant case. No doubt cruelty is the ground for divorce. It is equally true that the cruelty is the foundation of the complaint before the criminal Court. Undisputedly the acts constituting cruelty, which were complained of in the criminal proceeding are the acts of cruelty on which the decree for divorce was sought for. Thus, apparently facts are similar in both the aforesaid cases but mere similarity of the facts in both the cases are not sufficient to stay the further proceeding of the civil suit in all cases. Scope and ambit of trial of both the proceedings are to be considered before passing an order of stay of further proceeding of the civil suit.

    Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with cruelty by husband or relatives of husband. The said provision provides that whoever, being the husband or the relatives of the husband of a woman subjects such woman to cruelty, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extent to three years and shall also be liable to fine. What amounts to cruelty for the purpose of the said provision has also been clarified in the explanation added to the said Section which provides that :-

    a) Any unlawful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health “whether mental or physical” of the woman or;

    b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view of coercing her or any person related to her meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand. Thus, cruelty has a limited meaning as defined in the said provision.

    But under the Hindu Marriage Act cruelty has not been defined. As such, any act or conduct which though may not amount to cruelty within the meaning of the definition of cruelty as given in Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, may constitute cruelty as envisaged under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1021387677759832064

    Since the cruelty has not been defined in the Hindu Marriage Act, it is difficult to define precisely as to what exactly cruelty means under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. Cruelty under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act may extend to behaviour which may cause pain and injury to the mind as well as to render the continuance in matrimonial home an ordeal where it becomes impossible for them to live together with mental agony, torture or distress. The question as to whether an act complained of was cruel or not is to be determined from whole of the facts and matrimonial relations between the spouses regard being given to their culture, temperament, status in life and state of health of the parties interaction between them in their daily life. Cruelty for the purpose of matrimonial relationship means where one spouse has so treated the other and manifested such feelings towards her or him as to have inflicted bodily injury or to have caused reasonable apprehension of bodily sufferings or of being injured. Cruelty may be physical, mental or legal. In matrimonial laws it may be of infinite variety. It may be by words, gestures or by mere silence, violence or non-violence. To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of, should be so grave and weighty as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse. It must be more serious than ordinary wear and tear of the married life. The cumulative conduct, taking into consideration the circumstances and background of the parties has to be examined to reach the conclusion whether the conduct complained of amounts to cruelty in matrimonial laws or not. Thus, cruelty postulates a treatment of the petitioner with such cruelty as to reasonable apprehension in the petitioner’s mind that it will be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the other spouse. Cruelty may be physical or mental. Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuse and insult by using filthy and abusive language leading to constant disturbance of mental peace of the other party.

    Thus, it appears that the ‘cruelty’ under the Hindu Marriage Act has a different meaning altogether, than that of the concept of ‘cruelty’ as envisaged in the Indian Penal Code. It necessarily follows that even the act complained of, in the criminal proceeding may not constitute cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, but, still such act may constitute a ground of divorce on the ground of cruelty where such acts are so grave and weighty as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other.

    Since the concept of cruelty under the Indian Penal Code is not exactly identical with the concept of cruelty as envisaged under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, this Court cannot hold that there will be any embarrassment on the part of the Civil Court in continuing with the trial of the suit during the pendency of the criminal proceeding.

    That apart, the petitioner has already disclosed his defence in the civil suit. Since the defence has already been disclosed by the petitioner in the civil suit, it cannot be reasonably expected that a different stand will be taken by him in the criminal proceeding against identical acquisition. Thus, when the defence has already been filed by the petitioner in the civil suit and the scope of enquiry in the civil suit has already been determined by framing of issue therein, this Court relying upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of State of Rajasthan -Vs- Kalyan Sundaram Cement Industries Ltd. & Ors. (supra) as well as on the decision of the Hon’ble Court in the case of Senior Divisional Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr. -Vs- Satima Cold Storage & Ors. (supra), holds that further proceeding of the civil suit cannot be stayed on account of pendency of the Criminal proceeding.

    In both the criminal proceeding as well as in the Civil Suit, the examination of the wife has commenced. Evidence-in-chief of the wife has already been concluded in both the criminal proceeding as well as in the Civil Suit. Cross- examination of the wife has commenced in the criminal proceeding and a date has been fixed in the Civil Suit for cross-examination of the wife. This Court holds that if the Civil Suit is stayed at such advanced stage of trial, then the opposite party will suffer loss and injury.

    In my view, under such circumstances, the Civil Court will not find any embarrassment, if both the criminal proceedings and the civil suit are tried simultaneously as the scope of enquiry and the standard of proof in both the proceedings are not identical. That apart, both the criminal proceeding as well as the suit for divorce demand speedy disposal. Stay of any one of such suit and/or proceeding will surely have a wrong impact not only on the society but also on the parties in their matrimonial life.

    Under such circumstances, this Court does not find any justification to interfere with the order impugned.

    Urgent xerox certified copy of this order, if applied for, be given to the parties, as expeditiously as possible.

    ( Jyotirmay Bhattacharya, J. )