Fake Allegations of Cruelty against Husband is Reason for Divorce Says Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court observed that where a woman comes to the Court alleging that her husband or his relatives are liable for cruelty under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code and the Court finds that such allegation is false, the husband can seek divorce on that ground. The Court was expressing its opinion when deciding a case between K Sunitha and K Srinivas for dissolution of their marriage. Here, the Court found that the wife had initiated false complaint against the husband which itself is sufficient to establish cruelty and therefore the Court allowed divorce.

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On 14th July, 1995 the husband brought a suit for dissolution of marriage on two grounds viz; cruelty and irretrievable breakdown of marriage. The wife thereafter against the husband and her in-laws lodged criminal complaint under the Dowry Prohibition Act and Indian Penal Code. As a consequence, the husband as well as his relatives were arrested by police and imprisoned. On 30th June, 2000, they were acquitted by the Hyderabad Court. The Family Court granted divorce on the petition filed by the husband but it was set aside by the High Court when appeal was filed by the wife. In the Supreme Court the case came before the bench consisting of Justice Vikramjit Sen and P C Pant. The Court held that it is specifically pinpointing to note that the wife filed criminal complaint against the husband falsely. Hence the Court affirmed the finding of the High Court that the complaint was unwise.

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But the High Court failed to conclude that the wife had made the complaint deliberately and calculatingly. She had designed the complaint to humiliate and imprison her husband and others. Therefore, the Act indisputably leads to cruelty as stated under Section 13 (1) (a) of the Hindu Marriage Act. The Apex Court granted divorce on the reason of cruelty towards husband. In addition, the Court pointed out the recommendation of the Law Commission in 1978 and 2009 where it demanded for instating irretrievable breakdown of marriage to be a reason for divorce. Hence, Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was initiated which was passed by Council of States to embrace this ground as well.