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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Derogatory complaints to spouse's employer with intent to harm reputation amounts to cruelty: Delhi HC

The bench, while granting dissolving the marriage between a couple, stated that making such complaints demonstrates lack of mutual respect and goodwill, which is crucial for a healthy marriage

PTI New Delhi Published 18.04.24, 06:24 PM
Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court File picture

The Delhi High Court has ruled that making derogatory complaints to the spouse's employer with intent to harm professional reputation and financial well-being amounts to cruelty.

A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, while granting dissolving the marriage between a couple, stated that making such complaints demonstrates lack of mutual respect and goodwill, which is crucial for a healthy marriage.

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The appellant husband challenged a family court order refusing to grant him divorce, saying he endured severe mental torture and anguish in the relationship. He alleged that the wife sent complaints to his employer with the intention of causing him embarrassment and humiliation in front of his colleagues.

"Whether the complaints were false or true, irrespective of this fact, making derogatory complaints to the employer of spouse, with intent to harm professional reputation and financial well-being, is nothing but cruelty," observed the bench, also comprising Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, in its order passed earlier this month.

"Making such complaints demonstrate lack of mutual respect and goodwill, which is crucial for a healthy marriage and merely by stating that such complaints were made after the parties have separated, in no manner absolves a spouse from the guilt of committing cruelty," stated the court.

The marriage between the parties was solemnized in January 2011 according to Hindu rites and ceremonies and the parties had been living separately since September 2011.

In the order, the court took into account the husband's allegation that the wife sent a message using defamatory language for her father-in-law and opined that it showed a lack of respect and consideration within the relationship.

It said the wife's conduct leads to the inevitable conclusion that her behaviour caused serious concern in the husband's mind, disturbing his mental peace and making it untenable for the parties to sustain their marital relationship.

"The respondent's admission to sending a message containing derogatory language towards the appellant's father and filing of complaints with his employer can be considered as cruelty. Such incidents create an atmosphere of tension and instability within the marital relationship, causing emotional harm to both parties involved," the court stated.

Further, the prolonged litigations between the spouses undermines the potential for amicable resolution as it exacerbates animosity and impedes their ability to move forward constructively, added the court.

It added that the persistent engagement in litigation -- including over guardianship of their son and allegations of domestic violence -- over an extended period can be viewed as a form of cruelty, spanning over a decade, can be construed as cruelty.

"The respondent (wife) has lived for a short span of less than even one year with the appellant and has deliberately chosen to stay away with his parents and son of the parties, thereby depriving the appellant of marital bliss and fatherhood," it remarked.

The court also said the filing of a petition for restitution of conjugal rights by the wife and then not pursuing it was a deliberate attempt to delay the divorce proceedings, causing further harassment to the appellant husband.

"The present appeal is accordingly allowed and the appellant is granted divorce under Sections 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955," the court said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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