No decree for divorce on one isolated incident can be passed.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that :-

“We are not impressed by the submission of the learned counsel for the
respondent that an incident which occurred somewhere in 2010 when the
appellant visited the office of the respondent and alleged to have
misbehaved with the respondent in front of other officers would constitute
an act of cruelty on the part of the appellant so as to enable the
respondent to claim divorce. In the first place, no decree for divorce on
one isolated incident can be passed. Secondly, there could be myriad
reasons for causing such isolated incident. Merely because both exchanged
some verbal conversation in presence of others would not be enough to
constitute an act of cruelty unless it is further supported by some
incidents of alike nature. It was not so.”

We are also not impressed by the submission of the learned counsel
for the respondent that since the appellant had made allegation against the
respondent of his having extra-marital relation and hence such allegation
would also constitute an act of cruelty on the part of the appellant
entitling the respondent to claim decree for dissolution of marriage.
34) Similarly, we are also not impressed by the submission of learned
counsel for the respondent that since both have been living separately for
quite some time and hence this may be considered a good ground to give
divorce.

In the first place, the respondent did not seek a decree of
dissolution of marriage on these grounds. Second, the grounds of cruelty
taken by the respondent in his petition does not include these grounds.
Third, even if some stray allegations were made by the wife in her
pleading/evidence as were relied upon by the learned counsel are of no
relevance because, as mentioned above, these ground were not pleaded in the
petition by the respondent for seeking a decree of divorce and nor were put
in issue; and lastly, the burden being on the respondent, the same could be
discharged by the respondent by pleading and then proving. It was not so
done. It is for these reasons, we cannot accept the aforementioned two
submissions for affirming the decree of divorce.

————————————————————————————

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL Nos.7114-7115 OF 2014

Suman Singh ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
Sanjay Singh …Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) These appeals are filed by the appellant (wife) against the final
judgment and order dated 23.05.2013 passed by the High Court of Delhi at
New Delhi in F.A.O. No.108 of 2013 and F.A.O. No.109 of 2013 by which the
High Court dismissed the appeals filed by the appellant and confirmed the
judgment dated 14.12.2010 of the Principal Judge, Family Courts, Rohini
which had granted decree for dissolution of marriage in favour of the
respondent (husband) and, in consequence, also affirmed the order
dismissing the petition filed by the appellant (wife) for restitution of
conjugal rights.
2) Facts, in brief, to appreciate the controversy involved in the
appeals need mention infra.
3) The marriage between the appellant and the respondent was solemnized
on 26.02.1999 at Delhi as per the Hindu rites. The respondent-husband is
working as “Caretaker” in the Government of NCT of Delhi whereas the
appellant is a housewife. Out of this wedlock, one daughter was born on
15.06.2002 and the second daughter was born on 10.02.2006. Both daughters
are living with the appellant.
4) On 11.07.2010, the respondent (husband) filed a petition for
dissolution of marriage under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
(hereinafter referred to as “The Act”) in the Family Courts, Rohini, Delhi
against the appellant (wife). The respondent sought decree for dissolution
of marriage essentially on the ground of “cruelty”.
5) In substance, the respondent, in his petition, pleaded 9 instances
which, according to him, constituted “cruelty” within the meaning of
Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Act entitling him to claim dissolution of
marriage against the appellant.
6) The first ground of cruelty was related to wife’s behavior on the
next day of marriage, i.e., 27.02.1999. It was alleged that the appellant
came out of the bedroom in night dress and that too late when the close
relatives of the respondent were sitting in the house. It was alleged that
she did not pay respect and wishes to the elders. (Para 9 of the plaint)
7) The second ground of cruelty was again about the appellant’s behavior
with the respondent on the eve of New Year. However, the year was not
mentioned. According to the respondent, he agreed to celebrate the new
year with the appellant on her parental house as the parents of the
appellant gave repeated calls. After reaching her parental house, most of
the time the appellant was busy with her family members and left him alone
in the drawing room. Even at the time of dinner, the family members of the
appellant did not behave properly. (Para 10).
8) The third ground of cruelty was that the appellant did not show any
inclination or enthusiasm to attend any important family function or
festivals at the respondent’s house whenever held. However, no details were
given about the date and the function held. The allegations are general in
nature (Para 11).
9) The fourth ground of cruelty was again about the indecent behavior of
the appellant towards the respondent’s family members. However, no details
were pleaded except making general averments (Para 12).
10) The fifth ground of cruelty was in relation to an incident which,
according to the respondent, occurred in July 1999. It was alleged that the
appellant, on that day, insisted that the couple should live separately
from the respondent’s parents (Para 13).
11) The sixth ground of cruelty was again general with no details. It was
alleged that the appellant was not interested in doing any household work
nor was interested in preparing meals and used to insist the respondent to
have his lunch from outside. (Para 14).
12) The seventh ground of cruelty was in relation to one incident which,
according to the respondent, occurred on Diwali day in the year 2000. It
was again about the behavior of the appellant with the family members of
the respondent which, according to the respondent, was rude (Para 16).
13) The eighth ground of cruelty was in relation to one isolated incident
which, according to the respondent, occurred on 15.04.2001. It was again
about the behavior of the appellant with the friends of the respondent who
had come to the respondent’s house. According to the respondent, the family
members did not like it (Para 17).
14) The ninth ground of cruelty was that one day in year 2010, the
appellant visited the respondent’s office and misbehaved with the
respondent in the presence of other officials (Para 27).
15) The respondent also alleged some instances in the petition. They,
however, again essentially relate to the appellant’s behaviour with the
respondent and his family members.
16) The appellant filed her written statement and denied these
allegations. The appellant also applied for restitution of conjugal rights
against the respondent in the same proceedings by filing petition under
Section 9 of the Act and inter alia alleged in her petition that it was the
respondent who has withdrawn from her company without there being a
reasonable cause. She also while denying the case set up by the respondent
justified her case for restitution of conjugal rights.
17) The Trial Court framed the following issues on the basis of pleadings
in the case:
Whether after solemnization of marriage, the Respondent has
treated the Petitioner with cruelty? OPP
Whether the Petitioner is entitled to the decree of
divorce as prayed? OPP
3. Relief

The following issues were framed based on the pleadings in the petition
under Section 9 of the Act:

Whether the Petitioner is entitled to the restitution of conjugal rights as
prayed? OPP
Relief

18) Parties adduced the evidence. By order dated 14.12.2012, the Family
Court allowed the petition filed by the respondent. It was held that the
grounds alleged by the respondent amounted to mental cruelty within the
meaning of Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act and the same having been proved by
the respondent, he was entitled to claim a decree for dissolution of
marriage against the appellant. Accordingly, the Trial Court granted decree
for dissolution of marriage in favour of the respondent and dissolved the
marriage. Since the decree for dissolution of marriage was passed against
the appellant, the petition filed by the appellant against the respondent
seeking restitution of conjugal rights was dismissed.
19) The appellant, felt aggrieved by the aforesaid order, filed first
appeals before the High Court. In appeals, the question was whether the
Trial Court was justified in granting decree for dissolution of marriage to
the respondent (husband) and, in consequence, was justified in dismissing
the petition for restitution of conjugal rights filed by the appellant
(wife).
20) By impugned judgment, the High Court dismissed the appeals and
affirmed the judgment/decree of the Trial Court. The appellant (wife), felt
aggrieved, has filed these appeals by special leave against the judgment of
the High Court.
21) Heard Mr. D.N. Goburdhan, learned counsel for the appellant and Mr.
Gaurav Goel, learned counsel for the respondent.
22) Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and on perusal of
the record of the case, we are inclined to allow the appeals and while
setting aside the impugned order, dismiss the divorce petition filed by the
respondent(husband) against the appellant and, in consequence, allow the
petition filed by the appellant(wife) for restitution of conjugal rights
against the respondent (husband).
23) The word “cruelty” used in Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act is not
defined under the Act. However, this expression was the subject matter of
interpretation in several cases of this Court. What amounts to “mental
cruelty” was succinctly explained by this Court (three Judge Bench) in
Samar Ghosh vs. Jaya Ghosh [(2007) 4 SCC 511]. Their Lordships speaking
through Justice Dalveer Bhandari observed that no uniform standard can ever
be laid down for guidance, yet it is appropriate to enumerate some
instances of human behavior which may be considered relevant in dealing
with the cases of “mental cruelty”.
24) Their Lordships then broadly enumerated 16 category of cases which
are considered relevant while examining the question as to whether the
facts alleged and proved constitute “mental cruelty” so as to attract the
provisions of Section 13 (1) (ia) of the Act for granting decree of
divorce.
25) Keeping in view the law laid down in Samar Ghosh’s case (supra), when
we examine the grounds taken by the respondent in his petition for proving
the mental cruelty for grant of divorce against the appellant, we find that
none of the grounds satisfies either individually or collectively the test
laid down in Samar Ghosh’s case (supra) so as to entitle the respondent to
claim a decree of divorce.
26) This we hold for more than one reason. First, almost all the grounds
taken by the respondent in his petition were stale or/and isolated and did
not subsist to enable the respondent to seek a decree for dissolution of
marriage. In other words, the incidents of cruelty alleged had taken place
even, according to the respondent, immediately after marriage. They were
solitary incidents relating to the behavior of the appellant. Second,
assuming that one or more grounds constituted an act of cruelty, yet we
find that the acts complained of were condoned by the parties due to their
subsequent conduct inasmuch as admittedly both lived together till 2006 and
the appellant gave birth to their second daughter in 2006. Third, most of
the incidents of alleged cruelty pertained to the period prior to 2006 and
some were alleged to have occurred after 2006. Those pertained to period
after 2006 were founded on general allegations with no details pleaded such
as when such incident occurred (year, month, date etc.), what was its
background, who witnessed, what the appellant actually said etc.
27) In our view, the incidents which occurred prior to 2006 could not be
relied on to prove the instances of cruelty because they were deemed to
have been condoned by the acts of the parties. So far as the instances
alleged after 2006 were concerned, they being isolated instances, did not
constitute an act of cruelty.
28) A petition seeking divorce on some isolated incidents alleged to have
occurred 8-10 years prior to filing of the date of petition cannot furnish
a subsisting cause of action to seek divorce after 10 years or so of
occurrence of such incidents. The incidents alleged should be of recurring
nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the
filing of the petition.
29) Few isolated incidents of long past and that too found to have been
condoned due to compromising behavior of the parties cannot constitute an
act of cruelty within the meaning of Section 13 (1)(ia)of the Act.
30) In our considered opinion, both the Courts below failed to take note
of this material aspect of the case and thus committed jurisdictional error
in passing a decree for dissolution of marriage.
31) We cannot, therefore, countenance the approach of the High Court
because it did not, in the first instance, examine the grounds taken in the
petition to find out as to whether such grounds constitute mental cruelty
or not? The finding, therefore, though concurrent does not bind this
Court.
32) We are not impressed by the submission of the learned counsel for the
respondent that an incident which occurred somewhere in 2010 when the
appellant visited the office of the respondent and alleged to have
misbehaved with the respondent in front of other officers would constitute
an act of cruelty on the part of the appellant so as to enable the
respondent to claim divorce. In the first place, no decree for divorce on
one isolated incident can be passed. Secondly, there could be myriad
reasons for causing such isolated incident. Merely because both exchanged
some verbal conversation in presence of others would not be enough to
constitute an act of cruelty unless it is further supported by some
incidents of alike nature. It was not so.
33) We are also not impressed by the submission of the learned counsel
for the respondent that since the appellant had made allegation against the
respondent of his having extra-marital relation and hence such allegation
would also constitute an act of cruelty on the part of the appellant
entitling the respondent to claim decree for dissolution of marriage.
34) Similarly, we are also not impressed by the submission of learned
counsel for the respondent that since both have been living separately for
quite some time and hence this may be considered a good ground to give
divorce.
35) In the first place, the respondent did not seek a decree of
dissolution of marriage on these grounds. Second, the grounds of cruelty
taken by the respondent in his petition does not include these grounds.
Third, even if some stray allegations were made by the wife in her
pleading/evidence as were relied upon by the learned counsel are of no
relevance because, as mentioned above, these ground were not pleaded in the
petition by the respondent for seeking a decree of divorce and nor were put
in issue; and lastly, the burden being on the respondent, the same could be
discharged by the respondent by pleading and then proving. It was not so
done. It is for these reasons, we cannot accept the aforementioned two
submissions for affirming the decree of divorce.
36) This takes us to the next question as to whether the appellant was
able to make out any case for restitution of conjugal rights against the
respondent.
37) Having perused her petition and evidence, we are of the view that the
appellant is entitled for a decree for restitution of conjugal rights
against the respondent.
38) In our considered view, as it appears to us from perusal of the
evidence that it is the respondent who withdrew from the appellant’s
company without there being any reasonable cause to do so. Now that we have
held on facts that the respondent failed to make out any case of cruelty
against the appellant, it is clear to us that it was the respondent who
withdrew from the company of the appellant without reasonable cause and not
the vice versa.
39) In view of foregoing discussion, the appeals succeed and are allowed.
The impugned judgment is set aside. As a result, the petition filed by the
respondent (husband) under Section 13(1) of the Act seeking dissolution of
marriage is dismissed. As a consequence thereof, the marriage between the
parties is held to subsist whereas the petition filed by the appellant
against the respondent under Section 9 of the Act seeking restitution of
conjugal right is allowed. A decree for restitution of conjugal right is,
accordingly, passed against the respondent.
40) We hope and trust that the parties would now realize their duties and
obligations against each other as also would realize their joint
obligations as mother and father towards their grown up daughters. Both
should, therefore, give quite burial to their past deeds/acts and bitter
experiences and start living together and see that their daughters are well
settled in their respective lives. Such reunion, we feel, would be in the
interest of all family members in the long run and will bring peace,
harmony and happiness. We find that the respondent is working as a
“Caretaker” in the Government Department (see Para 4 of his petition). He
must, therefore, be the “Caretaker” of his own family that being his first
obligation and at the same time attend to his Government duties to maintain
his family.

……………………………………..J.
[R.K. AGRAWAL]

….………………………………….J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
New Delhi;
March 08, 2017
———————–
18

Judgement

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Divorce on ground of wife’s cruel behavior.

. It is settled legal position that making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations against the spouse or his relatives in the pleadings/complaints amount to causing mental cruelty. (Rel. (2014) 16 SCC 34 K. Srinivas Vs. K. Sunita).

It is a marriage which could not take off right from inception as the worst kind of mental cruelty was faced by the respondent/husband during his honeymoon and thereafter. All his efforts to save the marriage by arranging various meetings, visiting the parental home of the appellant/wife, agreeing to take a separate accommodation to keep her, statement by the mother-inlaw of the appellant/wife before CAW Cell that let them (parties to the marriage) live happily wherever they want, could not save this marriage. After she left the matrimonial home on April 03, 2004, for the last more than 12 years, she has been litigating not only against her husband and his family members but also do not hesitate to implicate the advocate for her husband in the criminal case as well Sh.Trilochan Singh, a neighbour of her husband.


MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 1 of 17

* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

Judgment Reserved on: September 22, 2016

% Judgment Delivered on: September 30, 2016

+ MAT.APP.(F.C.) 68/2015

 

ANU SETH ….. Appellant Represented by: Mr.S.K.Srivastava, Advocate with appellant in person.

versus

SUNIL SETH ….. Respondent Represented by: Mr.Kirti Uppal, Senior Advocate instructed by Mr.P.P.Tiwari and Ms.Sahiba Pantel, Advocates

 

. CORAM:

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PRADEEP NANDRAJOG

HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE PRATIBHA RANI PRATIBHA RANI, J.

  1. In the case of arranged marriages where both the spouses are in the age group of 30 plus, honeymoon period is the best time to know, understand and come close to each other. This case is an exception in the sense that just a day after the marriage the parties left for their honeymoon to Shimla and returned with bitter memories and a spoiled honeymoon.
  2. Before applying for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty, the respondent/husband has shown exceptional patience in dealing with the problem inspite of facing humiliation and scandalous allegations being made against him and his family members. The case is also different in a way that after staying intermittently at the matrimonial home, within less than three months of the marriage, the appellant/wife left for her parental home and despite the respondent/husband repeatedly visiting and persuading her to join him, she served detailed legal notice making various accusations. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 2 of 17
  3. Before replying the legal notice, again the respondent/husband tried to resolve the issues through their counsel by assuring of a separate accommodation for her on the assurance that none from their respective family would interfere for 5-6 months during that period. Even that did not succeed.
  4. When the complaint before CAW Cell was filed on May 26, 2005, the respondent/husband while requesting for a copy of the complaint to properly reply the same the concluding lines written by him are that : ‘I again request the authority to make her understand that marriage is solemnised to form the family and not to destroy the sanskar of marriage please.

’ 5. The respondent/husband had to beat a hasty retreat when FIR No.763/2005 under Sections 498-A/406/34 IPC was registered on August 27, 2005 against him and his other family members including married sister and her husband (jija) and had to run for cover by applying for anticipatory bail. Unfortunately the counsel who applied and obtained anticipatory bail for the respondent/husband and his family from the Court of Law, was also in a soup when in a complaint under Domestic Violence Act, he was impleaded as respondent No.7 though he was in no way in domestic relationship with the appellant.

  1. The voluminous record in this case pertains to a marriage which lasted just for three months. The marriage was solemnised on January 31, 2004. The parties at the time of their marriage were quite mature. While the respondent/husband Sunil Seth was aged about 33 years, the appellant/wife Anu Seth was aged about 31 years at that time. Both are well qualified. The respondent/husband is employed in AIIMS as UDC and the appellant/wife is Graduate and also having vocational skills i.e. Diploma in Boutique Embroidery. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 3 of 17

 

  1. The differences started just a day after when the parties went to Shimla for their honeymoon on February 02, 2004. The reasons given by the parties for the unpleasant honeymoon are: (i) As per the respondent/husband, the appellant/wife did not allow him to consummate the marriage and tried her best to avoid him in the process. Not only that, she even threatened to commit suicide if he dare touch her body against her mood, willingness and consent. (ii) The appellant/wife’s stand is that while in Shimla the respondent/husband, who is short tempered and behaves cruelly and gets irritated if anything is said or done against his dictates, declared that the status of a lady in their family is that of ‘a sandal in a foot’ and his words to be treated as God’s words, an averment which did not find mention in the detailed legal notice sent by her on March 14, 2005.
  2. It is admitted case of the parties that after honeymoon when they returned to Delhi, the relationship was unlike a newlywed couple. The appellant/wife had been visiting her parents frequently. However, it is admitted case of the parties that they were behaving normally when both of them were together in Dehradun at the alleged Grehpravesh ceremony at the house of sister of the appellant/wife as well at Hoshiarpur to perform some puja at the behest of the appellant/wife of Mataji at Hoshiarpur i.e. spiritual Guru of wife’s family. Despite puja being performed by the parties at the behest of the appellant/wife and her parents, Mataji did not permit her to join the matrimonial home. It is admitted case of the parties that the appellant/wife left the matrimonial home on April 03, 2004 alongwith her parents at about 11.00 am. It is also not disputed that on April 05, 2004 the respondent/husband visited his wife to bring her back. Thereafter when she served a legal notice, efforts to reconcile were made by him through MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 4 of 17 respective advocates by holding chamber meetings. Private meetings between the two families to iron out the differences are also admitted by the parties.
  3. Litigation started when the appellant/wife filed a complaint on May 26, 2005 before CAW Cell and FIR No.763/2005 under Section 498-A/406/34 IPC was registered on August 27, 2005 against the respondent/husband and his family. The appellant/wife has also filed a complaint under Domestic Violence Act in January, 2007 wherein sister-inlaw (jethani) and Mr.Kehar Singh, Advocate for the respondent/husband in bail application were not even spared. A maintenance petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. was also filed by the appellant/wife in January, 2007.
  4. On not being able to make her agreeable to join him, the respondent/husband filed divorce petition bearing HMA No. 1327/14/05 on the ground of cruelty which has been vigorously contested by the appellant/wife.
  5. Perusal of the impugned judgment shows that by referring to the contradictions in the testimony of the witnesses, she also filed application under Section 340 Cr.P.C. which has also been dismissed vide impugned judgment.
  6. Not only that PW-4 Sh.Trilochan Singh – a neighbour who mustered the courage to appear in the Court to depose what he had witnessed on April 03, 2004 when the appellant/wife finally left the matrimonial home in the company of her family members after allegedly creating a scene in the area was taken to task by her. PW-4 Sh.Trilochan Singh was served with the following notice by her through counsel in respect of the statement made by him before the Family Court:- ‘TRILOCHAN SINGHOCTOBER 20, 2008 SON OF LATE S. KIRPAL SINGH MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 5 of 17 39A, OLD SAHIBPURA, BHUPINDER SINGH NAGAR TILAK WaGAR, NEW DELHI Sir, I am legally wedded wife of Shri Sunil Seth, your neighbour. In the divorce-petition filed by my husband in the court of Shri P.K. Barthwal ADJ, Delhi, you appeared as witness of my husband, on 04- 09-2008 as PW 4. You had filed your affidavit dated 19-12-2007 in examination in chief. In paragraph 3 of the affidavit you stated that “I say that during the last week, o n Sunday of October 2004 about noon, the respondent along, with her parents and one person came to the house of the petitioner, they misbehaved with the family members of the petitioner and created a scene by shouting while standing on the road in front of my house and later on they went along with two suitcases. When the mother of the petitioner tried to pacify the matter, she was pushed and misbehaved very badly by the respondent.” WHEREAS in cross examination you stated that “No scene had been created outside my house. I had not witnessed any manhandling or scuffle at that time.” From the above it is clear that you, in order to support the case of my husband have deliberately, intentionally and knowingly deposed in the court falsely and misled the Hon’ble Court for which I intend to file petition under section 340 Cr.P.C. and other related sections. I call upon you to send reply to my letter. In your deposition, you named one Mrs.Gogi and Mr.Balwinder Singh, her husband but have not given- their address. I have inquired and came to know that there is no neighbour of my husband namely Mrs.Gogi and Mr.Balwinder Singh. I request you to send me the addresses of Mrs.Gogi and Mr.Balwinder Singh as I want to. call them in Court for deposition because you have informed all wrong things, to the Court. I hope you will reply my this letter otherwise I shall file application in MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 6 of 17 the Hon’ble court for appropriate action, under the law. (ARCHITA@ANUSETH) wife of Shri Sunil Seth H – 46, G.S. Apartments Sector-13, Rohini Delhi-110 085 C.C. – Shri Sunil Seth, with request to ask Mr. Trilochan Singh to furnish the required information in reply to my letter.’
  7. Written submissions have been filed by the parties mainly referring to the various discrepancies appearing in the statement of the witnesses and the evidence adduced by the parties.
  8. With a view to satisfy our judicial conscience about the correctness of the decision rendered by the Family Court granting divorce to the respondent/husband on the ground of cruelty, we will be examining only the following four incidents: (i) Filing criminal case in January, 2007 under Domestic Violence Act after about two years and nine months of leaving the matrimonial home in April, 2004 implicating her jethani Hemlata and Sh.Kehar Singh, Advocate, who represented her husband in bail matter by making false allegations. (ii) Malicious, scandalous and defamatory allegations made by the appellant/wife in the legal notice Ex.PW1/4 dated March 14, 2005 against her husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law (jeth), married Nanand and Nandoi. (iii) Various threats being extended to the husband and his family to falsely implicate them to the extent that he was constrained to repeatedly report the matter to the police vide DDs Ex.PW2/1, Ex.PW3/1 & Ex.PW3/3. (iv) Making false allegations of dowry demand and demand of a car by the husband and in-laws. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 7 of 17
  9. Since all the contentions, as referred to the written submissions by the parties, have been dealt with by the learned Judge, Family Court in the lengthy judgment running into 86 pages, we will not repeat the same exercise by re-examining each and every accusation made by the parties against each other and their family members or the contradictions appearing on some aspects in the testimony of the witnesses.
  10. The accusations made above by the appellant/wife against her husband and in-laws have not been substantiated by any oral or documentary evidence.
  11. Perusal of certified copy of the Criminal Complaint Case No.66/1/07 filed on January 08, 2007 filed under Domestic Violence Act reveals that Sh.Kehar Singh Advocate has been impleaded as R-7 though he is not related to the parties. In the said complaint case, she levelled allegations against all the respondents about dowry demands being made and not bringing a car in dowry. She again referred to 3-4 marriages being performed by her jeth (R-3). Sh. Kehar Singh, Advocate was constrained to serve the appellant/wife with a legal notice through Sh.Prem P.Tiwari, Advocate demanding compensation of ₹10 lacs mentioning therein about the professional services rendered by him by filing anticipatory bail application on behalf of his clients namely Sunil Seth (respondent/husband) his mother Raj Seth, brother Anil Seth as well on behalf of Smt.Seema Rao and Sh.Balwant Rai (married Nanad and Nandoi) in case FIR No.763/2005 under Section 498-A/406/34 IPC, PS Prashant Vihar, which was granted. Para 4 of the notice by him served upon the appellant/wife reads as under:- “4. That you, feeling aggrieved with the professional obligations and duties discharged by my aforesaid client towards his abovesaid five clients, implicate him as a co-accused at serial No.7 in the complaint filed by you under Section 12 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 for the grant of relief under Section 18, MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 8 of 17 19 (i) (f), 20 and 22 of the said Act, with malafide intentions and ulterior motives to cause harassment and tarnish the image of my client at the Bar and in the society. You have intentionally and deliberately dragged my client in the aforesaid complaint without any basis under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which is now pending in the Court of Ms. Rekha, M.M. Rohini Courts, Delhi. In the said complaint all the allegations made by you against my client are totally false, frivolous, baseless, concocted and afterthought. My client has nothing to do with the allegations levelled by you in the said complaint against my client. It is submitted that my client has already submitted a detailed reply to the said complaint and has denied all the allegations in toto.”
  12. The legal notice Ex.PW1/4 dated March 14, 2005 sent by the appellant/wife which was addressed to (1) Sh.Sunil Seth, Husband; (2) Mrs.Raj Seth, Mother-in-law; (3) Mr.Anil Seth, Jeth; (4) Mrs.Simmy Rai, married Nanad; and (5) Mr.Balwant Rai, Nandoi. The relevant paragraphs of the said legal notice read as under:- “Paragraph No.3 “…….that the addressee No.3 have already left 3 wife and is now having 4th spouse namely Smt.Lata Seth. Smt.Lata Seth has been kept in dark to this effect for the reasons best known to you the above addressees. That you the addressee No.4 insisted for an Air conditioned car after the solemnisation of marriage on the pretext that addressee No.2 despite being widow has given 2 wheelar (sick wheeler) in the marriage of addressee No.4.” Paragraph No.10 “That you the addressees No. 2-4 & 5 have got no consideration of social values and are adament (sick adamant) to ruine (sick ruin) the mental peace and married life of my client. The addressee No.3 who is elder brother-in-law (Jeith of my client attempted to maline (sick malign) the modesty of my client but my client saved her sancitity (sick sanctity) from the ill attempts and designs of addressee No.3. My client brought to the knowledge of this incident to addressee No.1 but he ignored the same by saying that such things are common in their family and rebuked my client.” MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 9 of 17 Paragraph No.11 “That my client was harassed and humilated (sick humiliated) as well as physically and mentally by you all the addressees and compelled her to leave the matrimonail (matrimonial) home on 3.4.2004. Thereafter you the addressees No.2, 4 & 5 insisted my client to have divorce from the addressee No.1 so that the marriage of the addressee No.1 can be solemnised in a rich family. My client in order to collect some clothes went to the matrimonail (sick matrimonial) home on 4-5- 2004 and found that the steel almirah in not openable condition by its key. A key maker person was called who some how managed to open the almirah who stated that almirah’s lock have been damaged by some one, after opening the almirah it was to the utter surprise of my client that clothes, suits, sarees etc. were missing, the above addressees despite being asked avoided to give any reply and made my client a laughing stock, my client could not bear and returned back.”
  13. The respondent/husband has sent the reply Ex.PW1/5 dated May 02, 2005 wherein before replying to the accusations made in the legal notice, he has given the details of the various meetings and the proposed settlement terms which were initially agreed by the parties but subsequently she backed out on the issue of no interference by her family members at least for a period of six months in a rented accommodation.
  14. The two cases filed by the appellant/wife i.e. petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. and petition under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act have been dismissed. In the above proceedings in her cross examination the appellant/wife has admitted the following facts: Cross examination of Smt.Archita, petitioner dated 10.08.2011. “……It is correct that on 05.04.2004 my husband came to take me back in the matrimonial home but I refused. Vol. Because my husband had stated that his mother does not want to see her face and I want to take you in the rented accommodation because he has not taken any rented accommodation………” MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 10 of 17 Cross-examination of Smt.Archita, petitioner dated 14.10.2011. “I stayed in my matrimonial house from 1.2.04 till 3.4.04. I went for 2-3 days to Hoshiarpur with my husband for puja. I went to Honeymoon to Shimla from 2.2.04 to 07.02.04. It is correct that I had visited Dehradun at the place of my elder sister house from 28.3.04 till 30.3.04 along with my husband. It is correct that behavior of my husband was alright in the trip to Hoshiarpur and Dehradun but it is incorrect that his behavior was correct on our honeymoon. I have already mentioned about his misbehavior in honeymoon trip in my petition. It is correct that my husband had visited my parental home on 5.4.04 in order to take me along with him and he also came to take me on 13.2.05. It is wrong to suggest that respondent requested me with folded hands to accompany him but I refused. It is correct that before filing of litigation by either party efforts were made by the side of the respondent and his counsel to talk to me, my parents and my counsel for compromise of the matter. It is correct that on 23.3.05 respondent had offered me to take a premises on rent near his office ie AIIMS if I am ready and willing to live with him. It is also correct that when it was discussed that respondent will take premises on rent near AIIMMS it was also discussed that parents of both parties will not visit that home for about 5 months or 6 months. It is wrong to suggest that a fresh meeting was called on 31.3.05 for finalizing the compromise where my father refused to send me in rented accommodation. It is wrong to suggest that despite deciding that parents of both parties will not interfere in their lives my parents had interfered in our life. It is wrong to suggest that after meeting of 4.4.05 another meeting was called on 12.4.05 for settlement of the dispute. It is correct that in a petition filed by me before Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in 2009 I had admitted that I am still ready and willing to live with my husband. Q: I put to you that although you filed FIR against respondent u/s 498A/406 IPC but still you are willing and ready to live with him. Does it mean that your allegations are incorrect? Ans: I want to live with my husband as he has never demanded anything directly from me or my parents. I had filed the case of 498A against him and his family on the ground that whenever my mother in law and sister in law used to demand anything my husband (respondent) used to remain silent. Within two months of living with him I could not have understood his nature completely. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 11 of 17 It is wrong to suggest that whenever my husband had tried to take me with him I had refused on the ground that till the time Puja (Mataji) of our Guru in Hoshiapur is done and she allows me to go I will not go with him. It is wrong to suggest that I have submitted so in my statement in case before Ld. MM dealing with DV case. It is wrong to suggest that whenever my husband approached to take me with him my parents and my family members threatened him by saying that they have approached to higher levels and respondent will have to face the consequences. I had not stated before any Court that I do not want to go with my husband. At this stage witness is confronted with certified copy of her statement EX. PW-1/RX given on 15.09.10 in the case had not stated before any court that I do not want to go with my husband. At this stage witness is confronted with certified copy of Archita vs Sunil in D.V. Case from point A to A………….” “……….. It is correct that husband had never demanded car from me. Vol but he has demanded car from my father when he met him in India Gate meeting. I had inquired from the office of elder brother of respondent about his various marriages, I came to know from Mr Jain who is owner of Enkay Rubber co. that brother of respondent had married 3-4 times………..” Cross-examination of Archita, Petitioner dated 16.11.2011 “I have stated before the Hon’ble High Court in my petition that I am ready to live with my husband without any pre-condition. Just immediate after my marriage, I had gone to my matrimonial home. I was happy with my husband in my matrimonial home. My husband is not smoking or drinking. Respondent had never beaten me and I am confident that I will live happily with my husband in the matrimonial home. My mother in law has also stated in writing in CAW Cell to wish the couple to live happily………..”
  15. In the complaint case bearing No.66/1/07 filed under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act the appellant/wife impleaded her jethani Hemlata also as respondent despite the fact that prior to that there was no accusation against her in any regard. We have already noted that even Mr.Kehar Singh, Advocate who was a counsel at the time of seeking anticipatory bail was MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 12 of 17 impleaded as respondent. The petition under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act has been dismissed on April 29, 2016 for the following reasons: “8. Considering the testimony of complainant which has many contradictions, at one stage complainant has admitted that no act of cruelty committed upon her and that she had cordial relationship with the respondent till she resided at the matrimonial house. It is also admitted by her that incident of Tatapani were not raised in the petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. and has been raised first time in the present petition. 9. With respect to respondent no. 2 to 7, there is no specific allegation either in the complaint nor in the petition filed by the complainant. With respect to respondent no.2 only allegation has been made that she had demanded AC car and gold bangles and the allegations are undated and not specific despite her short stay at her matrimonial house. Accordingly, complainant has failed to prove that she is an aggrieved person qua respondents no. 2 to 7. 10.With respect to respondent no.1 she has also admitted that only grievance against respondent no. 1 is that he has filed several complaints against her family and threw her against the wall on 03.04.2004, however the said allegations neither mentioned in the affidavit in evidence nor in the petition showing that it is an afterthought.” 22. Vide order dated May 07, 2015 the Petition No.202/2014 filed under Section 125 Cr.P.C. by the appellant/wife was dismissed inter-alia for the following reasons: “40. The petitioner has failed to show that she has sufficient cause for living separately and therefore, is not entitled to any maintenance u/s 125 Cr.PC in any case, she is a graduate and vocationally qualified, but if she chooses to while away her life in motivated prosecution, the respondent cannot be burdened to make payment for such sadistic conduct of the petitioner. Therefore, it is held that the petitioner is not entitled to any maintenance from the respondent. Issue no.1 is accordingly, decided in favour of the respondent and MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 13 of 17 against the petitioner. ISSUE No.2 RELIEF 41.In view of my findings above on issue no.1, the petition of the petitioner u/w 125 Cr.PC is dismissed. No orders as to costs.”
  16. In the affidavit Ex.RW1/1 by way of evidence filed by the appellant/wife in HMA Petition No.771/2006 her version in paras 20, 23, 26 to 28 is as under:- “20. I also state that at the instance of my husband, my father and brother met the petitioner at India Gate and during the course of meeting my husband, his sister and her husband raised vague and indefinite issues and made false allegations against me. My husband further stated that he finds it difficult to go to his office without car and my father declined to fulfil the said demand of A.C. Car. The sister of the petitioner openly asked my father that in case they are not ready to fulfil the said demand, they would break the marriage as her elder brother had married four times and there was no problem in getting divorce as her brother got divorce two-three times from the court and they are acquainted with the process of the court.”

“23. I also state that on 22.11.2004 at about 8 PM or on 10.1.2005 at 6.45 as alleged or otherwise, I, my father and my brother met the petitioner and his brother and misbehaved with them by using derogatory and filthy language and/or threatened. I also state that the petitioner is a very clever person who in order to create evidence against me is misusing the process of law and has been accustomed to lodge false report with the Police Station with ulterior motives and till date no action has been taken by the police against me or my family members considering the complaint to be false and baseless.” “26. I further state that I have been deserted by my husband without any reasonable cause and excuse and forgetting about the happening of the past, I am ready to join my matrimonial home provided my husband assures me of the affectionate attitude and proper living at the matrimonial home. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 14 of 17 27. I state that the FIR bearing No.763/2005 was got registered by me for the valid and cogent reasons being the fact that I was treated with utmost cruelty on account of non fulfillment of dowry demands inasmuch as the behaviour of my husband and his family members caused mental and physical cruelty to me, resulting into ruining my life. 28. I further state that I have also filed an application U/s.125 Cr.P.C. alongwith an interim application for maintenance, besides the filing of the petition U/s.12 of the Domestic Violence Act, and the same are pending adjudication before Ms.Shunali Gupta, M.M. Delhi. The certified copies of both the petitions are Ex.RW-1/9 and RW- 1/10 respectively.”

  1. So far as various threats being extended to the respondent/husband and his family members to implicated them in a false case are concerned, DD No.23A dated October 05, 2004 marked as Ex.PW3/1 was recorded at the instance of the husband at 6:15 PM at PS Rajouri Garden about threat being extended by his wife at Vishal Cinema as well the threats earlier being extended for the previous six months on phone by the appellant/wife and her father that by using political influence they would ruin the respondent/husband and complaints would be made against him in the women cell. DD No.27 dated November 22, 2004 at PS Rajouri Garden Ex.PW3/2 is about threats given to the husband at Bikaner Sweets by the father and brother of his wife to ruin him and his family. The third report was registered vide DD No.18A dated January 10, 2005 at PS Tilak Nagar marked as PW-2/1 whereby he was asked either to pay `5 lakhs or he and his entire family would be implicated in some case/CAW cell.
  2. It may be noted here that demand of air conditioned car was earlier attributed to only Smt.Seema (married Nanad) in the legal notice Ex.PW1/4 dated March 14, 2005 whereas during trial of HMA Petition No.771/2006 MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 15 of 17 this demand was made by her husband from her father and during the meeting at India Gate where she was not even present

. 26. The appellant/wife has also placed on record the transcript Ex.RW1/5 of the conversations dated 05.05.2004, 30.06.2004, 20.12.2004, 19.03.2005, 18.05.2005, 25.07.2005, 27.07.2005, 09.09.2005 and 23.01.2006 between the parties/family members.

  1. The learned Judge, Family Court has referred to this conversation in paras 69 and 72 to 85 of the impugned judgment. After referring to the above telephonic conversation which was consciously recorded by the appellant/wife or at her instance without other party being aware that the conversation between the two is being tape recorded to be used in litigation, was still found lacking in proving the plea taken by the appellant/wife or the accusations made by her against her husband and in law. Referring to the conversation, in para 69 finding has been returned by the learned Judge, Family Court that the appellant/wife left the matrimonial home of her own with her family member.
  2. The allegations repeatedly made in the legal notice, written statement and other proceedings against jeth that he tried to molest her and that when it was brought to the notice of the husband, he said that it was a family culture, remained unproved. The allegation made that the jeth had married 3-4 times also remained unproved. When his wife appeared Hemlata in the witness box as PW-3, no such question was put to her. The admissions made by the appellant/wife during her cross examination in the proceedings under Domestic Violence Act extracted above shows that it was not a case of dowry demand. The meeting at India Gate on October 03, 2004 when she claimed that the car was demanded by her husband from her father is falsified from her own version recorded in the criminal cases filed by her. MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 16 of 17 Otherwise also it is highly improbable that after so many meetings in Lawyer’s chamber, at personal level and other places and lot of bitterness being created after she finally left on April 03, 2004, the husband could have demanded a car from her father during meeting at India Gate fixed to save the marriage. One thing is clear from this admission of the appellant/wife that prior to that there was no demand of car though false allegation was made about this demand in the legal notice dated March 14, 2005.
  3. In view of above admitted position as well judicial findings in the cases filed by the appellant/wife herein, the respondent/husband was able to establish that during their honeymoon not only consummation of marriage was resisted by her, even thereafter causing embarrassment and humiliation accusations have been made against him and his entire family. The allegations made against his elder brother by the complainant that he tried to molest her by way of serving a legal notice and also filing complaints implicating not only the husband but his entire family including his married sister and brother-in-law as well his counsel, with a motive to harass them, is nothing but a ruthless act on the part of the appellant/wife to cause mental cruelty and harassment to her husband and his family. It is settled legal position that making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations against the spouse or his relatives in the pleadings/complaints amount to causing mental cruelty. (Rel. (2014) 16 SCC 34 K. Srinivas Vs. K. Sunita).
  4. From the admissions of the appellant/wife during her cross examination, we have no hesitation to hold that the respondent/husband and his entire family had been subjected to worst kind of mental cruelty by the appellant/wife in this case. In all judicial proceedings, her projection as a victim at the hands of her husband and in-laws or being subjected to cruelty has been disbelieved. The learned Judge, Family Court had given valid MAT.APP. (F.C.) 68/2015 Page 17 of 17 reasons for dissolution of marriage on the issue of cruelty by discussing each and every contention thread bare in the impugned judgment.
  5. It is a marriage which could not take off right from inception as the worst kind of mental cruelty was faced by the respondent/husband during his honeymoon and thereafter. All his efforts to save the marriage by arranging various meetings, visiting the parental home of the appellant/wife, agreeing to take a separate accommodation to keep her, statement by the mother-inlaw of the appellant/wife before CAW Cell that let them (parties to the marriage) live happily wherever they want, could not save this marriage. After she left the matrimonial home on April 03, 2004, for the last more than 12 years, she has been litigating not only against her husband and his family members but also do not hesitate to implicate the advocate for her husband in the criminal case as well Sh.Trilochan Singh, a neighbour of her husband.
  6. We are of the considered opinion that the conduct of the appellant/wife in the instant case was such that it was not possible for the husband to bear such type of cruelty

. 33. The appeal has no merits and the same is hereby dismissed.

  1. No costs.
  2. LCR be sent back alongwith copy of this order.

PRATIBHA RANI (JUDGE)

PRADEEP NANDRAJOG (JUDGE)

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 ‘st’