In a significant order, the Bombay High Court has held that a false criminal case filed by an estranged wife for harassment against her husband and in-laws amounted to cruelty and was sufficient ground to seek divorce.
"In our view, embarrassment, humiliation and suffering that is caused on account of arrest of a husband and his family members in a false case constitutes mental cruelty to enable the husband to seek divorce on this sole ground", a Bench observed recently while granting divorce to a couple.
Justices A P Deshpande and R P Sondurbaldota disagreed with a family court's order that a single complaint filed by a wife against her husband and in-laws does not indicate tendency of the wife to make false allegations.
"We fail to understand the logic behind the reasoning adopted by the family court to hold that a singular complaint of this nature under section 498A IPC resulting in arrest and detention of family members and relatives thereby causing embarrassment, humiliation and suffering does not constitute mental cruelty. It is illogical that more than one complaint is necessary to constitute mental cruelty", the bench noted.
"In our opinion, the approach of the family court is wholly perverse and its reasoning cannot be sustained in law. We are of the view that cumulative effect of the behaviour and conduct of the wife is good enough to draw an inference that she has caused utmost mental pain and suffering which amounts to mental cruelty to the husband and, hence, he is entitled for divorce on the ground of cruelty," it said.