Tag Archives: False allegations of illicit relation with girls is cruelty

Suicide threats, alienating from parents 4 no reason, baseless character allegations ALL cruelty. Husband wins divorce. Supreme court

#Cruelty #Matrimonial_Cruelty #False_Allegations #Character_Assassination #Suicide_threats #Divorce

In this cornerstone case, the Hon Supreme court clearly analyses various instances of matrimonial cruelty and orders in favour of the husband (seeking divorce). This case should be of much use to husbands who face similar cruelty at the hands of their wife ! It is pertinent to note that the husband continue to fight for approx 2 decades to get justice and also create yet another cornerstone case (on matrimonial Cruelty) !! Excerpts from the judgement are added below for a quick read

Excerpts :
* “……..The Respondent wife wanted the Appellant to get separated from his family. The evidence shows that the family was virtually maintained from the income of the Appellant husband. It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from the parents upon getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family. In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. ……xxxx…….As stated hereinabove, in a Hindu society, it is a pious obligation of the son to maintain the parents. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income. The persistent effort of the Respondent wife to constrain the Appellant to be separated from the family would be torturous for the husband and in our opinion, the trial Court was right when it came to the conclusion that this constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’. ….”
* “….We feel that there was no fault on the part of the Appellant nor was there any reason for the Respondent wife to make an attempt to commit suicide. No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life. The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing. Such a mental cruelty could not have been taken lightly by the High Court. In our opinion, only this one event was sufficient for the Appellant husband to get a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. It is needless to add that such threats or acts constitute cruelty. Our aforesaid view is fortified by a decision of this Court in the case of Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple @ Kajal (2011) 12 SCC 1, wherein it has been held that giving repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to cruelty….”
* “…..We have carefully gone through the evidence but we could not find any reliable evidence to show that the Appellant had an extra-marital affair with someone. Except for the baseless and reckless allegations, there is not even the slightest evidence that would suggest that there was something like an affair of the Appellant with the maid named by the Respondent. We consider levelling of absolutely false allegations and that too, with regard to an extra-marital life to be quite serious and that can surely be a cause for metal cruelty….”

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REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.3253 OF 2008

NARENDRA … APPELLANT

VERSUS

K. MEENA … RESPONDENT

J U D G M E N T

ANIL R. DAVE, J.

  1. 1. This appeal has been filed by the Appellant husband, whose decree for divorce passed by the trial Court has been set aside by the impugned judgment dated 8th March, 2006 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Miscellaneous First Appeal No.171 of 2002 (FC).
  2. 2. The facts giving rise to the present appeal, in a nutshell, are as under : The Respondent wife filed Miscellaneous First Appeal under Section 28(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) before the High Court as she was aggrieved by the judgment and decree dated 17th November, 2001, passed by the Principal Judge, Family Court, Bangalore in M.C. No.603 of 1995 under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act filed by the Appellant husband seeking divorce.
  3. 3. The Appellant husband had married the Respondent wife on 26th February, 1992. Out of the wedlock, a female child named Ranjitha was born on 13th November, 1993. The case of the Appellant was that the Respondent did not live happily with the Appellant even for a month after the marriage. The reason for filing the divorce petition was that the Respondent wife had become cruel because of her highly suspicious nature and she used to level absolutely frivolous but serious allegations against him regarding his character and more particularly about his extra-marital relationship. Behaviour of the Respondent wife made life of the Appellant husband miserable and it became impossible for the Appellant to stay with the Respondent for the aforestated reasons. Moreover, the Respondent wanted the Appellant to leave his parents and other family members and to get separated from them so that the Respondent can live independently; and in that event it would become more torturous for the Appellant to stay only with the Respondent wife with her such nature and behaviour. The main ground was cruelty, as serious allegations were levelled about the moral character of the Appellant to the effect that he was having an extra-marital affair with a maid, named Kamla. Another important allegation was that the Respondent would very often threaten the Appellant that she would commit suicide. In fact, on 2th July, 1995, she picked up a quarrel with the Appellant, went to the bathroom, locked the door from inside and poured kerosene on her body and attempted to commit suicide. On getting smell of kerosene coming from the bathroom, the Appellant, his elder brother and some of the neighbours broke open the door of the bathroom and prevented the Respondent wife from committing suicide. The aforestated facts were found to be sufficient by the learned Family Court for granting the Appellant a decree of divorce dated 17th November, 2001, after considering the evidence adduced by both the parties.
  4. 4. Being aggrieved by the judgment and decree of divorce dated 17th November, 2001, the Respondent wife had filed Miscellaneous First Appeal No.171 of 2002 (FC), which has been allowed by the High Court on 8th March, 2006, whereby the decree of divorce dated 17th November, 2001 has been set aside. Being aggrieved by the judgment and order passed by the High Court, the Appellant has filed this appeal.http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
  5. 5. The learned counsel appearing for the Respondent was not present when the appeal was called out for hearing. The matter was kept back but for the whole day, the learned counsel for the Respondent did not appear. Even on an earlier occasion on 31st March, 2016, when the appeal was called out, the learned counsel appearing for the Respondent wife was not present and therefore, the Court had heard the learned counsel appearing for the Appellant.
  6. 6. The learned counsel appearing for the Appellant submitted that the High Court had committed a grave error in the process of re-appreciating the evidence and by setting aside the decree of divorce granted in favour of the Appellant. He submitted that there was no reason to believe that there was no cruelty on the part of the Respondent wife. He highlighted the observations made by the Family Court and took us through the evidence, which was recorded before the Family Court. He drew our attention to the depositions made by independent witnesses, neighbours of the Appellant, who had rescued the Respondent wife from committing suicide by breaking open the door of the bathroom when the Respondent was on the verge of committing suicide by pouring kerosene on herself and by lighting a match stick. Our attention was also drawn to the fact that serious allegations levelled against the character of the Appellant in relation to an extra-marital affair with a maid were absolutely baseless as no maid named Kamla had ever worked in the house of the Appellant. It was also stated that the Respondent wife was insisting the Appellant to get separated from his family members and on 12th July, 1995 i.e. the date of the attempt to commit suicide, the Respondent wife deserted the Appellant husband. According to the learned counsel, the facts recorded by the learned Family Court after appreciating the evidence were sufficient to show that the Appellant was entitled to a decree of divorce as per the provisions of Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act.
  7. 7. We have carefully gone through the evidence adduced by the parties before the trial Court and we tried to find out as to why the appellate Court had taken a different view than the one taken by the Family Court i.e. the trial Court.
  8. 8. The High Court came to the conclusion that there was no cruelty meted out to the Appellant, which would enable him to get a decree of divorce, as per the provisions of the Act. The allegations with regard to the character of the Appellant and the extra-marital affair with a maid were taken very seriously by the Family Court, but the High Court did not give much importance to the false allegations made. The constant persuasion by the Respondent for getting separated from the family members of the Appellant and constraining the Appellant to live separately and only with her was also not considered to be of any importance by the High Court. No importance was given to the incident with regard to an attempt to commit suicide made by the Respondent wife. On the contrary, it appears that the High Court found some justification in the request made by the Respondent to live separately from the family of the Appellant husband. According to the High Court, the trial Court did not appreciate the evidence properly. For the aforestated reasons, the High Court reversed the findings arrived at by the learned Family Court and set aside the decree of divorce.
  9. 9. We do not agree with the manner in which the High Court has re-appreciated the evidence and has come to a different conclusion.
  10. 10. With regard to the allegations of cruelty levelled by the Appellant, we are in agreement with the findings of the trial Court. First of all, let us look at the incident with regard to an attempt to commit suicide by the Respondent. Upon perusal of the evidence of the witnesses, the findings arrived at by the trial Court to the effect that the Respondent wife had locked herself in the bathroom and had poured kerosene on herself so as to commit suicide, are not in dispute. Fortunately for the Appellant, because of the noise and disturbance, even the neighbours of the Appellant rushed to help and the door of the bathroom was broken open and the Respondent was saved. Had she been successful in her attempt to commit suicide, then one can foresee the consequences and the plight of the Appellant because in that event the Appellant would have been put to immense difficulties because of the legal provisions. We feel that there was no fault on the part of the Appellant nor was there any reason for the Respondent wife to make an attempt to commit suicide. No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life. The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing. Such a mental cruelty could not have been taken lightly by the High Court. In our opinion, only this one event was sufficient for the Appellant husband to get a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. It is needless to add that such threats or acts constitute cruelty. Our aforesaid view is fortified by a decision of this Court in the case of Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple @ Kajal (2011) 12 SCC 1, wherein it has been held that giving repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to cruelty.
  11. 11. The Respondent wife wanted the Appellant to get separated from his family. The evidence shows that the family was virtually maintained from the income of the Appellant husband. It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from the parents upon getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family. In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason, she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her. In the instant case, upon appreciation of the evidence, the trial Court came to the conclusion that merely for monetary considerations, the Respondent wife wanted to get her husband separated from his family. The averment of the Respondent was to the effect that the income of the Appellant was also spent for maintaining his family. The said grievance of the Respondent is absolutely unjustified. A son maintaining his parents is absolutely normal in Indian culture and ethos. There is no other reason for which the Respondent wanted the Appellant to be separated from the family – the sole reason was to enjoy the income of the Appellant. Unfortunately, the High Court considered this to be a justifiable reason. In the opinion of the High Court, the wife had a legitimate expectation to see that the income of her husband is used for her and not for the family members of the Respondent husband. We do not see any reason to justify the said view of the High Court. As stated hereinabove, in a Hindu society, it is a pious obligation of the son to maintain the parents. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income. The persistent effort of the Respondent wife to constrain the Appellant to be separated from the family would be torturous for the husband and in our opinion, the trial Court was right when it came to the conclusion that this constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’.
  12. 12. With regard to the allegations about an extra-marital affair with maid named Kamla, the re-appreciation of the evidence by the High Court does not appear to be correct. There is sufficient evidence to the effect that there was no maid named Kamla working at the residence of the Appellant. Some averment with regard to some relative has been relied upon by the High Court to come to a conclusion that there was a lady named Kamla but the High Court has ignored the fact that the Respondent wife had levelled allegations with regard to an extra-marital affair of the Appellant with the maid and not with someone else. Even if there was some relative named Kamla, who might have visited the Appellant, there is nothing to substantiate the allegations levelled by the Respondent with regard to an extra-marital affair. True, it is very difficult to establish such allegations but at the same time, it is equally true that to suffer an allegation pertaining to one’s character of having an extra-marital affair is quite torturous for any person – be it a husband or a wife. We have carefully gone through the evidence but we could not find any reliable evidence to show that the Appellant had an extra-marital affair with someone. Except for the baseless and reckless allegations, there is not even the slightest evidence that would suggest that there was something like an affair of the Appellant with the maid named by the Respondent. We consider levelling of absolutely false allegations and that too, with regard to an extra-marital life to be quite serious and that can surely be a cause for metal cruelty.
  13. 13. This Court, in the case of Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, 2003 (6) SCC 334 has held as under:- “7. The question that requires to be answered first is as to whether the averments, accusations and character assassination of the wife by the appellant husband in the written statement constitutes mental cruelty for sustaining the claim for divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Act. The position of law in this regard has come to be well settled and declared that levelling disgusting accusations of unchastity and indecent familiarity with a person outside wedlock and allegations of extramarital relationship is a grave assault on the character, honour, reputation, status as well as the health of the wife. Such aspersions of perfidiousness attributed to the wife, viewed in the context of an educated Indian wife and judged by Indian conditions and standards would amount to worst form of insult and cruelty, sufficient by itself to substantiate cruelty in law, warranting the claim of the wife being allowed. That such allegations made in the written statement or suggested in the course of examination and by way of cross-examination satisfy the requirement of law has also come to be firmly laid down by this Court. On going through the relevant portions of such allegations, we find that no exception could be taken to the findings recorded by the Family Court as well as the High Court. We find that they are of such quality, magnitude and consequence as to cause mental pain, agony and suffering amounting to the reformulated concept of cruelty in matrimonial law causing profound and lasting disruption and driving the wife to feel deeply hurt and reasonably apprehend that it would be dangerous for her to live with a husband who was taunting her like that and rendered the maintenance of matrimonial home impossible.”
  14. 14. Applying the said ratio to the facts of this case, we are inclined to hold that the unsubstantiated allegations levelled by the Respondent wife and the threats and attempt to commit suicide by her amounted to mental cruelty and therefore, the marriage deserves to be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground stated in Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
  15. 15. Taking an overall view of the entire evidence and the judgment delivered by the trial Court, we firmly believe that there was no need to take a different view than the one taken by the trial Court. The behaviour of the Respondent wife appears to be terrifying and horrible. One would find it difficult to live with such a person with tranquility and peace of mind. Such torture would adversely affect the life of the husband. It is also not in dispute that the Respondent wife had left the matrimonial house on 12th July, 1995 i.e. more than 20 years back. Though not on record, the learned counsel submitted that till today, the Respondent wife is not staying with the Appellant. The daughter of the Appellant and Respondent has also grown up and according to the learned counsel, she is working in an IT company. We have no reason to disbelieve the aforestated facts because with the passage of time, the daughter must have grown up and the separation of the Appellant and the wife must have also become normal for her and therefore, at this juncture it would not be proper to bring them together, especially when the Appellant husband was treated so cruelly by the Respondent wife.
  16. 16. We, therefore, quash and set aside the impugned judgment delivered by the High Court. The decree of divorce dated 17th November, 2001 passed by the Principal Judge, Family Court, Bangalore in M.C. No.603 of 1995 is hereby restored.
  17. 17. The appeal is, accordingly, allowed with no order as to costs.

.…………………………….J. (ANIL R. DAVE)

……………………………..J. (L. NAGESWARA RAO)

NEW DELHI

OCTOBER 06, 2016.

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This judgment and other similar judgments posted on this blog was / were collected from Judis nic in website and / or other websites of Govt. of India or other internet web sites like worldlii or indiankanoon or High court websites. Some notes are made by Vinayak. Should you find the dictum in this judgment or the judgment itself repealed or amended or would like to make improvements or comments, please post a comment on the comment section of the blog and if you are reading this on tumblr please post responses as comments at vinayak.wordpress.com . Vinayak is NOT a lawyer and nothing in this blog and/or site and/or file should be considered as legal advise.


CASE FROM JUDIS / INDIAN KANOON WEB SITE with necessary Emphasis, Re formatting
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False allegations of illicit relation with girls is cruelty. Husbnd wins Dvrc. NO Jewel returned 2 wife ! CAL HC

In this case, the CAL HC decrees that a woman making false and unfounded allegations about husband’s illicit relations is cruelty. The court goes on to say that even if such allegations were made AFTER the institution of the suit, they tantamount to cruelty !! quoting a large number of cornerstone cases, the Husband is granted divorce !

The Hon court observes : “….. written statement, ….wife alleged that the petitioner used to coach a girl at Konnagore and fell in love with her. It was also alleged that the petitioner had illicit connection with the said girl. She did not stop these. Even in her deposition she has stated that the petitioner used to mix with another girl and that when she protested, there was a quarrel with him over this. So in her deposition she also persisted that her husband had illicit connection with another girl. But, barring evidence of her own, she could not adduce any evidence to prove the above mentioned allegation. This allegation, needless to say, has been denied by the petitioner-husband. … She has, as indicated above, spoken of such allegation. But her witnesses have not said anything in this regard. Her own brother Chandidas Banerjee (witness No. 3) has not said anything in this regard. Evidence of witness No. 2 Nepal Chandra Mukherjee in this regard is extremely vague. … Before institution of the instant suit, the respondent-wife made an application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure claiming maintenance against her husband. In this application she did not allege that her husband had love affairs or illicit contection with any girl. …. So in the facts and circumstances of the case and on consideration of the evidence on record we hold that such allegation of the respondent-wife is false and without any foundation. It is now well settled that such false allegation against the character of any spouse made by the other spouse constitutes mental cruelty and that such mental cruelty will be valid ground for passing a decree of divorce under the provision of Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act…..”

while the court is ready to order some permanent alimony to the wife (who also maintains her son), the court refuses to order her any Jewels etc

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Calcutta High Court

Amarendranath Sanyal vs Krishna Sanyal on 1 June, 1992

Equivalent citations: (1993) 1 CALLT 301 HC, I (1993) DMC 565

Author: S Guin

Bench: A Bhattacharjee, S K Guin

JUDGMENT S.K. Guin, J.

This appeal is directed against the judgment and decree passed by the learned District Judge, Hooghly on 22 9 88 in Matrimonial Suit No. 161 of 1985 whereby he dismissed the suit.

1. The petitioner-husband, who is the appellant here. brought the above suit against his wife, who is the respondent here, for dissolution of the marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground of desertion and cruelty. The wife contested the suit by filing a written statement.

2. Undisputedly the marriage between the parties was solemnised according to Hindu rites on 13.3.79 and a son, who is now about 12 years old, was born out of this wedlock. It is also not disputed that since 15.10.83 the parties have been living separately and that the son, born out of this wedlock, has been living with his mother. Both sides adduced evidence-oral and documentary in support of their respective cases before the learned District Judge who on consideration of the same has held that the plaintiff failed to prove cruelty or desertion as alleged by him. With these findings, he dismissed the suit.

3. Being aggrieved the petitioner-husband has preferred the instant appeal challenging the correctness and propriety of the findings as arrived at by the learned District Judge. It has been contended on behalf of the appellant that the learned District Judge should have passed a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion. The respondent, however, has resisted this appeal.

4. Having heard the learned Counsel of both the parties and having gone through the evidence on record, we are not inclined to interfere with the finding of the learned District Judge with regard to desertion. However, we are not inclined to support his finding as to cruelty. In paragraphs 13 and 14 of the written statement, the respondent-wife alleged that the petitioner used to coach a girl at Konnagore and fell in love with her. It was also alleged that the petitioner had illicit connection with the said girl. She did not stop these. Even in her deposition she has stated that the petitioner used to mix with another girl and that when she protested, there was a quarrel with him over this. So in her deposition she also persisted that her husband had illicit connection with another girl. But, barring evidence of her own, she could not adduce any evidence to prove the above mentioned allegation. This allegation, needless to say, has been denied by the petitioner-husband. In this case the respondent-wife has examined three witnesses including herself. She has, as indicated above, spoken of such allegation. But her witnesses have not said anything in this regard. Her own brother Chandidas Banerjee (witness No. 3) has not said anything in this regard. Evidence of witness No. 2 Nepal Chandra Mukherjee in this regard is extremely vague. According to him the respondent-wife told him that her husband had some illicit connection with some girl. So he has got no direct knowledge whether the petitioner-husband had any illicit connection with any girl. Before institution of the instant suit, the respondent-wife made an application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure claiming maintenance against her husband. In this application she did not allege that her husband had love affairs or illicit contection with any girl. Before institution of the instant suit she also appears to have made a complaint to the General Manager of the Government of India Press where the petitioner-husband used to serve (vide Ext. 8). In this complaint against her husband, she did not make any allegation that her husband had any love affairs or illicit connection with any girl. So in the facts and circumstances of the case and on consideration of the evidence on record we hold that such allegation of the respondent-wife is false and without any foundation. It is now well settled that such false allegation against the character of any spouse made by the other spouse constitutes mental cruelty and that such mental cruelty will be valid ground for passing a decree of divorce under the provision of Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. In the case of Nimai Kumar Ghosh v. Smt. Mita Ghosh, reported in 89 C.W.N. 904 a Division Bench of this Court has held that any imputation against the character of any spouse made either by the wife or by the husband on mere suspicion and without any foundation would amount to mental cruelty and would be a valid ground for passing a decree under the provision of Section 13(l)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. A Division Bench of this Court presided over by my learned brother, A.M. Bhattacharjee, J. in the case of Harendranath Burman v. Suprova Burman, has held that unfounded or baseless allegation of adultery by one spouse against the other constitutes mental cruelty of the gravest character to warrant divorce. In the case of Smt. Santana Banerjee v. Sachindra Nath Banerjee, , the wife alleged illicit sexual relation of her husband with an office colleague and also indulged in making reckless, false and motivated allegation against her husband and his close relation not only in her written statement but also in her deposition. Another Division Bench of this Court presided over by G.N. Ray, J. (as he then was) has held in that case that such allegations constitute cruelty of a very grave nature. We respectfully agree with and rely upon the decision as referred to above. It is true that the allegations, as to character of the petitioner-husband were made by the respondent-wife after institution of the instant suit. But it is well settled that such post suit allegations or events may be taken into consideration to shorten the litigation and to do complete justice between the parties. Relying upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Shikhar Chand v. Digambar Jain, , the Division Bench of this Court has held in the case of Harendra Nath Burman v. Suprova Burman (supra) that the allegation made in the written statement and in the deposition can and should be taken note of in matrimonial proceeding without driving the petitioner to another proceeding on the ground of such cruelty. It has further been held that it is open to a Court, including a Court of appeal, to take notice of events which happened after the institution of the suit and afford relief to the parties where it is necessary to do in order to shorten litigation or to do complete justice between the parties. The same view has also been expressed by the Division Bench in the case of Smt. Santana Banerjee v. Sachtndra Nath Banerjee (supra). We see no reason to take a different view. So, though the allegation was made by the respondent-wife regarding the character of petitioner-husband in the written statement and was repeated in her deposition, such post-lis allegation can and should be taken note of in the instant matrimonial proceeding without driving the petitioner-husband to another proceeding on the ground of such cruelty. Thus on consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and also having regard to the decisions as referred to above, we hold that the aforesaid unfounded and baseless allegations made by the respondent-wife against the character of the petitioner-husband in written statement and also in her deposition constitute mental cruelty of the gravest character to warrant a divorce. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

5. Before grant of divorce on the ground as embodied in Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act let us consider whether a decree of judicial separation will serve the purpose in the facts and circumstances of the case. Undisputedly the parties have been living separately since 15.10.83 i.e. for more than 8 years. We have seen that the respondent-wife made baseless and false allegations against her husband to the effect that he had love affairs and illicit connection with another girl. In the facts and circumstances of the case it appears to us that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and irreparably and that no useful purpose would be served by passing a decree of judicial separation on the ground of cruelty. So we are of the opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the case the petitioner-husband is entitled to a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty.

6. At the conclusion of the hearing of appeal, the respondent-wife filed two applications one under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act for permanent alimony and another under Section 27 of the said Act for return of the articles mentioned in “Annexure A” to the application. Mr. Mukherjee, learned Counsel appearing for the appellant raised no objection to the application under Section 25. But be has raised serious objection with regard to the application under Section 27. He has argued that as the respondent- wife claimed the articles and ornaments mentioned in the application as her own stridhan property, the provision of Section 27 cannot be invoked with regard to such stridhan property of the respondent-wife. He has, however, got no objection if the items of furniture such as cot (double bed), steel almirah (big size) and the dressing table are directed to be returned to the respondent-wife. In our opinion, contention as raised on behalf of the appellant must be upheld. In the application under Section 27 the respondent-wife has prayed for return of the ornaments and articles on the allegation that the said properties are her stridhan properties and so belong to her. But Section 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act provides that the Court may make such provision in the decree with respect to the property presented, at or about the time of marriage, which may belong jointly to both the husband and wife. So the provisions of Section 27 can only be invoked for return of properties which were presented at or about the time of marriage and jointly belong to both the husband and wife. In this connection our attention has been drawn to a decision of the Division Bench of this Court presided over by my learned brother, A. M. Bhattacharjee, J. in the case of Sibnath Mukhopadhyay v. Sunita Mukhopadhyay . It has been held therein that Section 27 on its express terms would apply to such property only which (a) has been presented at or about the time of marriage and (b) may belong jointly to both the husband and wife. So Section 27 has no manner of application to the properties which exclusively belong to the wife or to the husband. The ornaments as mentioned in the Annexure ‘A’ to the application under Section 27 have been claimed by the respondent-wife as her stridhan and exclusive properties and as such the respondent-wife is not entitled to an order for return of those articles under the provision of Section 27. So the prayer for return of those ornaments must be rejected. However, she would be at liberty to seek an appropriate relief with regard to those ornaments as available to her under the general law. The cot, steel almirah and dressing table are undoubtedly of common use and may be meant for both the husband and wife. Moreover the learned Advocate for the appellant has conceded that those articles of furniture may be directed to be returned to the respondent-wife. So in the decree there would be a direction for return of the said articles to the respondent-wife. The application under Section 27 thus succeeds in part.

7. Under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act any Court exercising jurisdiction under the said Act may, at the time of passing any decree on application made to it for the purpose, order that the respondent shall pay to the applicant for her or his maintenance and support such gross sum or such monthly or periodical sum for a term not exceeding the life of the applicant as, having regard to the respondent’s own income and other property, if any, the income and other property of the applicant, the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case, it may seem to the Court to be just. In her application the respondent-wife prayed for payment of sufficient permanent alimony but she did not quantify it. Now the question arises as to what should be the amount of permanent alimony, whether it should be paid in a lump sum or whether it should be paid monthly. That the respondent-wife, with whom the son born out of this wedlock is living, has no income or property of her own has not been disputed before us. It appears from the evidence on record that she has been living in the house of her brother. The son is now aged twelve and so is now school going. Mr. Sinha learned Advocate for the respondent-wife has submitted that since the petitioner-husband made default in payment of alimony pendente lite and since he has already retired from the service and received pensionary benefit, a gross sum may he given as permanent alimony so that the respondent-wife may not be put into any trouble in future in the matter of maintaining herself and her son This submission appears to us to be reasonable. The petitioner used to serve in the Government of India Press and he has already retired on attaining the age of superannuation. It also appears that he made default in payment of alimony pendente the. So in the facts and circumstances of the case it appears to us to be reasonable that a gross sum should be awarded as permanent alimony. Mr. Sinha, learned Advocate for the respondent-wife has further submitted that lump sum of Rs. 45,000/- to 50,000/- may be awarded as permanent alimony to the respondent-wife. We also called for a report from the Managar, Government of India Press to know what were the pensionary benefits available to the petitioner-husband. A reply has been received and the same has been placed on record. From the letter received from the Government of India Press it appears that the petitioner-husband is entitled to get pensionary benefits as mentioned below :-

(1) C.G.E.G.I.S. Rs. 3,456.00
(2) D.C.R.G. Rs. 32,175.00
(3) Commuted value of pension Rs. 40,668.00
(4) Leave encashment Rs. 25,000.00
(5) G.P. Fund. Rs. 85,374.90

8. Besides the abovementioned pensionary benefits the petitioner-husband will get pension at the rate of Rs. 649/-+ D.A. relief per month. Thus it is clear that besides the monthly pension as mentioned above, the petitioner-husband is entitled to get other pensionary benefits to the extent of Rs. 1,86,273.00 P. Thus having considered the income and properties of the parties and also the conduct of the parties and the facts and circumstances of the case, we think it reasonable to grant a gross sum of Rs. 30,000/-as permanent alimony to be paid by the petitioner-husband to the respondent-wife and there will be direction to that effect in the decree.

9. In the result, this appeal is allowed. In the circumstances of the case we make no order as to cost. The judgment and decree of dismissal as passed by the learned District Judges, Hooghly in Suit No. 161 of 1985 are set aside. The suit is hereby decreed. ‘ The marriage between the parties is hereby dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty as embodied in Section 13(l)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

10. The respondent-wife do get permanent alimony of Rs. 30,000/-from the petitioner-husband and the petitioner-husband is directed to pay the said amount within three months from this day. The petitioner-husband is also directed to return the articles of furniture namely, cot (double bed), steel almirah (big size) and the dressing table as mentioned in Annexure A to the application under Section 27 to the respondent-wife within three months from this day. The respondent-wife, however, will be at liberty to seek the appropriate reliefs with regard to her alleged stridhan properties i.e, ornaments as are available to her under the general law. The applications under Sections 25 and 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act are thus disposed of as indicated above.

A.M. Bhattacharjee, J.

11. I agree.

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