Allegation by Wife Against Husband Affecting his Reputation and Career is Mental Cruelty: Supreme Court

On Friday, the Supreme Court observed that a wife levelling allegations that affect her husband’s reputation and career is mental cruelty to get a divorce.

The Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Hon’ble Justice Hrishikesh Roy further observed that degree of tolerance varies from one couple to next, and the Court has to keep in mind the level of education, background and status of parties to determine if cruelty alleged is sufficient to justify the dissolution of marriage.

Background:

In the instant case, the husband was an army officer who alleged that due to his wife’s malicious complaints, his career was affected, and the loss of reputation caused him mental trauma. Taking note of the case’s facts, Family Court granted divorce to him, but the High Court reserved its judgement.

Case Before the Supreme Court 

While hearing the appeal, the Apex Court observed that when considering dissolution of marriage where a spouse alleges mental cruelty, the cruelty should be such that it is impossible to continue the marital relationship. In simple terms, the wronged party cannot be expected to condone such conduct and continue living with the spouse.

The Court also noted that allegations levelled by a highly educated spouse have the propensity to cause significant damage to the husband’s reputation and character.

Judgement

The Hon’ble Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s judgment and observed that the High Court erred in describing the broken relationship as normal wear and tear of married life. In this case, the wife inflicted mental cruelty on her husband; therefore, the High Court order should be set aside, and the order passed by the Family Court should be restored, observed the Bench.

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