The Kerala High Court ruled that the decree of divorce on grounds of matrimonial cruelties cannot be obtained when there exists no act of cruelties.
The division bench of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Sophy Thomas observed that courts cannot come to the aid of an erring person to legalise his activities, which are per se illegal. If the husband having unholy alliance with another woman wants to avoid his lawfully wedded wife and his three little children, he cannot seek the assistance of a court of law to get his present relationship legalised by dissolving his lawful marriage, without any valid reasons for the same.
The court stated that the appellant has to establish that since the solemnisation of the marriage, the respondent has treated him with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in his mind that it would be harmful or injurious for him to live with the respondent. Without establishing cruelty to such an extent, no divorce can be granted under Section 10(1)(X) of the Divorce Act.
The husband filed OP before the Family Court, Alappuzha, under Section 10(1)(x) of the Divorce Act, 1869, for dissolving his marriage with the respondent, on the ground of matrimonial cruelties. He married the respondent as per Christian rites and custom and three girl children were born in their lawful wedlock. Both of them were employed in Saudi Arabia, and their marital relationship was very smooth. He alleged that she developed some behavioral abnormalities, and she picked up quarrel with him for no reason, alleging illicit relationships with other women. She failed to perform her duties and responsibilities as a wife and mother. She slapped his face and pointed a knife at him and threatened him with death.
He further alleged that he was assaulted and humiliated in front of his children and public, and she made his close-relatives turn against him. She compelled him to transfer the properties purchased by him into her name. Because of the indifferent, abusive and violent behavior of the respondent, he became mentally stressed and physically ill.
Advocate P. Pramel, appearing for the respondent, submitted that only to marry the other woman with whom the appellant was keeping illicit intimacy, he wanted to avoid the respondent, and for that purpose, he filed the divorce OP, though there was no valid grounds to dissolve their marriage.
The respondent wife contended that her marital life with the appellant was so smooth till 2018 and thereafter, he was trying to avoid her and her children.
The mother and close-relatives of the appellant submitted that in the year 2017, the appellant developed some illicit intimacy with a lady named Anjali and thereafter, he wanted to avoid his wife, children and even his own mother.
The respondent added that there were no serious issues between them so as to dissolve their marriage, and she wanted her husband back to her life.
The appellant husband contended that the respondent threatened to complain against him before Saudi Police to put him behind the Bars and also threatened him with suicide.
The court said that from time immemorial marriage was considered as solemn, and sanctity attached to the relationship of a man and wife united in marriage was considered inseparable, and it was the very foundation of a strong society. Marriage is a socially or ritually recognized union, or legal contract between spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. Family is the basic unit of the society, from where we learn virtues, values, skills and behaviour.
The court stated that the present trend seems to break the nuptial tie on flimsy or selfish reasons, or for extra-marital relationships, even unmindful of their children. Now-a-days, the younger generation think that marriage is an evil that could be avoided to enjoy a free life without any liabilities or obligations. They would expand the word ‘WIFE’ as ‘Worry Invited For Ever’ substituting the old concept of ‘Wise Investment For Ever’.
The court observed that the unholy alliance of the husband with some other lady has caused some disturbances in the family life of the appellant and respondent, which they were sailing smoothly with their three girl children. Even according to the mother and close-relatives of the appellant, such an unholy relationship was started in the year 2017, and in the year 2018 itself, the husband moved for divorce.
The court held that since, no act of cruelties, able to cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the appellant that it would be harmful or injurious for him to live with the respondent was proved by the appellant, he is not entitled to get a decree of divorce on the ground of matrimonial cruelties.
The court upheld the finding of the Family Court, Alappuzha, that the appellant is not entitled for a decree of divorce on the ground of matrimonial cruelties.
Case title: Libin Varghese v/s Rajani Anna Mathew
Citation: MAT.APPEAL NO. 456 OF 2020