Bombay High Court: False Accusations Against Husband Constitute Cruelty

The Bombay High Court has ruled that lodging multiple false cases against a husband and his relatives constitutes cruelty. The judgment was delivered by Justice YG Khobragade from the Aurangabad bench while reviewing an appeal concerning marital rights and a prior divorce decree.

The controversy began with a marriage in 2004 in Parbhani, where the couple lived together until 2012 and had a daughter. The husband claimed that his wife left him in 2012, taking their daughter to her parents’ home. In 2015, she filed for restitution of conjugal rights, asserting that she returned to live with him following a favorable court ruling but found him missing, leading her to file a missing person complaint.

The husband reported that his wife initiated several false criminal and civil cases against him and his family members, causing significant mental anguish. Among the allegations were serious charges against his father and brother, accusing them of molestation, from which they were later acquitted. According to the husband, these actions led to trauma and reputational damage to his family.

Justice Khobragade noted that while filing for legal remedies like restitution of conjugal rights or actions under the Domestic Violence Act does not inherently amount to cruelty, the wife’s actions in lodging baseless police reports against her husband and his family crossed this threshold. The court found these acts to be indicative of cruelty and upheld the lower court’s decision to grant a divorce.

The high court dismissed the wife’s appeal, affirming the divorce on the grounds of cruelty. The judgment emphasized that the false allegations had a profoundly negative impact on the family’s social standing and mental well-being.

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