K’taka HC: Wife can challenge divorce decree even after husband’s death

02:13 PM May 16, 2024 | Team Udayavani |



The Karnataka High Court has said that a wife retains the right to contest a divorce decree even after the demise of her husband.

In its April 19 order, a bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice Anant Ramanath Hegde said the wife would be entitled to all benefits of widow status following her husband’s passing, despite her initial challenge to the divorce decree granted by the family court.

The case originated from the family court’s ruling, which found merit in the husband’s claim of cruelty on the part of the wife. The court observed that the wife’s actions, including filing multiple cases against her husband and showing reluctance to reconcile, evidenced discord between the parties. Consequently, a decree of divorce was issued under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

However, the wife’s legal representation contested these findings, asserting a lack of evidence to substantiate cruelty on her part. They argued that a police complaint against the husband was lodged by her father, who had been physically assaulted by the husband and his associates. Additionally, it was highlighted that the wife was compelled to leave her matrimonial home while pregnant, without any attempts to reconcile made by the husband. Furthermore, it was noted that the husband had made no effort to maintain contact with his wife or their child.


The bench referred to a precedent set by the Supreme Court, emphasizing that even if the husband were to pass away during the appeal process, legal implications concerning the parties’ status would persist. Consequently, the appeal would not be dismissed solely due to the death of the party who obtained the decree.

In their assessment, the bench concluded that the family court’s findings lacked substantiation, and the requisite level of cruelty to justify a divorce decree was not adequately established.


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