Making unfounded allegations to jeopardise a spouse’s job amount to mental cruelty

While upholding the Judgment passed by Family Court, Nagpur that granted divorce decree in favour of the wife, the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) noted that the husband, in one way or another, tried to prejudice the service of the wife.

The Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice A. S. Chandurkar and Hon’ble Justice Pushpa V. Ganediwala specifically observed that making unfounded allegations against the spouse or their relatives to affect the job of the spouse amounts to causing mental cruelty.

Case before the Court:-

The husband filed an appeal u/s 19 of Family Courts Act wherein he challenged the divorce decree grant by Family Court, Nagpur.

Brief Facts of the Case:-

Respondent-wife and Appellant-husband got married on 27.04.2008, and their child was born on 03.03.2009.

On 14.05.2012, the wife filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion and cruelty. She alleged that her husband and her in-laws were abusing her mentally and physically.

The husband denied the allegations and submitted that even though his wife and her family belonged to the Rajput caste, they obtained spurious caste certificates stating that they belonged to the Rajput Bhamta caste to secure employment. The husband also submitted that the wife had epilepsy, which was not disclosed to him before marriage.

After considering the evidence on record, the Family Court held that the husband was cruel to the wife and granted a divorce decree.

Aggrieved, the appellant-husband moved Bombay High Court.

Observations made by the High Court:-

The Court noted that in the husband’s written statement, there was no mention that his wife had epilepsy, and this fact was raised in the husband’s deposition. In this context, the Court opined as the fact was not raised in the husband’s pleading; the wife had no occasion to counter the allegations.

Regarding the issue that the wife obtained a job based on a spurious caste certificate, the Court noted that even though the husband placed various newspaper clippings stating that he complained to his wife’s employer, the said allegations were not backed by any evidence.

Judgement

The Court held that the husband had made wild allegations to prejudice the wife’s service, and such acts amount to causing mental cruelty.

Hon’ble Court refused to interfere with the order passed by the Family Court and dismissed the appeal.

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