Wife repeatedly leaving matrimonial home cruelty on husband: Delhi HC

07:36 PM Apr 05, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ruled that a woman repeatedly leaving her matrimonial home, without any fault of her husband is an act of mental cruelty.


A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait observed that marriage ”blooms” in the ”fertile soil of mutual support, devotion and allegiance”, and distance and abandonment breaks this bond beyond repair.

The court’s observation came while granting divorce to an estranged couple on the ground of cruelty and desertion by the wife.

Seeking divorce, the man had alleged that his wife had an intemperate and volatile nature and she had deserted him on at least seven occasions.

Allowing the appeal challenging a family court’s order refusing to grant him divorce, the bench, also comprising Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, noted that during a period of about 19 years, there were seven acts of separation, each of about three to 10 months.


It said prolonged periods of separation could lead to an irreparable breakdown of the matrimonial bond, which constitutes mental cruelty, and cessation or deprivation of cohabitation and conjugal relationships is also an act of extreme cruelty.

”It is a clear case where the respondent (wife) left the matrimonial home, from time to time, without there being any act or fault on the part of the appellant. Such withdrawal by the respondent from time to time are acts of mental cruelty to which the appellant (husband) was subjected, without any reason or justification,” the court said.

”We find that there is overwhelming evidence to show that it is the respondent, who subjected the appellant to a life of uncertainty with there being no settlement and mental peace in the matrimonial life, despite 20 years spent together. It is a case of mental agony to the appellant, entitling him to divorce,” it added.

It further noted that the evidence showed the wife had no intention of continuing in the matrimonial relationship as no serious conciliatory efforts were made by her to return to the matrimonial home.

The court, thus, held that the man was entitled to divorce on the ground of desertion by his wife.

”We, from our above detailed discussion, hereby conclude that the learned family judge, fell in error in dismissing the divorce petition. We hereby set aside the impugned judgment dated 11.04.2022 and allow the divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion under sections 13(1)(ia) and 13(1)(ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,” it said.


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