The Uttarakhand High Court ordered a man to pay Rs.1,00,000 for obtaining an ex-parte divorce decree by misleading his Wife.
The appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, is preferred by the appellant-husband to assail the order passed by the Family Court whereby the Family Court allowed the application filed by the respondent-wife under Section 5 of the Limitation Act as well as a second application under Order 9 Rule 13 of the CPC, setting aside the ex-parte divorce decree obtained by the appellant-husband against the respondent.
Advocate Navnish Negi, appearing for the appellant contended that the Family Court has, while passing the impugned order under Order 9 Rule 13 CPC, gone beyond the pleadings of the parties.
He submitted that since the respondent had proceeded ex-parte way back after due notice of summons upon her, her applications under Section 5 of the Limitation Act and under Order 9 Rule 13 CPC should have been dismissed.
The division bench of the Chief Justice VIpin Sanghi and Justice R.C. Khulbe observed that when the appeal was taken up for hearing, after hearing counsel for the appellant, it had expressed the, prima facie, view that the appellant appears to have played fraud upon the respondent, and it also informed the counsel that it would be inclined to dismiss the appeal – in case, it do not agree with the submissions advanced by the counsel for the appellant, with exemplary costs in the light of the appellant’s conduct.
It was stated by the court that in the normal course, while living as husband and wife, there is complete and implicit faith that the two spouses repose in each other, and are expected to repose in each other. Therefore, if the husband were to – casually, ask his wife to sign a particular document, she would unhesitatingly sign the same without even enquiring as to what is the document on which her signatures are being obtained.
The court said that the appellant, however, seems to think that he can get away with the aforesaid fraudulent conduct by clutching on to her averment made in paragraph 8 of her application, and by insisting that the summons in the divorce proceedings were actually signed by her.
“The appellant, by his conduct, has gravely undermined the institution of marriage which is sacrosanct amongst the Hindus – the religion to which the parties belong. If he had to obtain divorce, he should have fairly and squarely separated from his wife before filing the divorce petition, and he should not have been living with her. However, he continued to live with her as her husband even after filing the divorce petition, and obtained the ex-parte divorce” the court added.
The court concluded that the appellant misled his wife into, and contrived to obtain her signatures on the summons and get the Process Server’s report to show that she had been served in the divorce proceedings, while she continued to live with the appellant as his wife in complete ignorance of the said developments.
The court while dismissing the appeal imposed a cost of one lac rupees on the husband.
Case title: Mahendra Prasad Dwivedi v/s Lajji Devi
Citation: APPEAL FROM ORDER NO. 331 OF 2022