Section 498A IPC | Comparing your Wife with other Women amounts to Mental Cruelty, says Kerala High Court

Mental Cruelty

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has held that to compare your wife with other women amounts to Mental Cruelty (Section 498A IPC) by a husband and the woman cannot be expected to put up with such conduct.

The Court rejected an appeal of a married man against a family court order dissolving his marriage after nearly 13 years of separation from his wife. The Bench headed by Justices Anil K Narendran and CS Sudha dissolve the marriage of a couple on the grounds of mental cruelty by the husband as provided under the Divorce Act of 1869.

While dismissing an appeal of a married man, Court observed “The constant and repeated taunts of the respondent/husband that the petitioner is not a wife of his expectations and the comparisons with other women, etc. would certainly be mental cruelty which a wife cannot be expected to put up with.”

The bench said that the pleadings in the case “make out a case of studied neglect and indifference on the part of the respondent (husband) towards the petitioner (wife)”.

“The allegations also make out a case that the respondent did not engage in coitus with the petitioner as he did not find her physically attractive,” it added.

The Court further, observed that the conduct of a husband was not normal as the couple cohabited for a short period of time and the marriage did not seem to be consummated either, “though the evidence does not satisfy that ground”.

The bench observed that the couple got married in January 2009 and the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed in November of that same year.

Furthermore, going by the materials on record, the couple appear to have been together for hardly a month or so and they continue to be separated and are hotly contesting the matter, the high court noted.

It also said that from the facts and circumstances of the case and the evidence on record, the couple did not appear very keen on consummating the marriage.

“The parties were quite young, i.e., the petitioner was 26 years old and the respondent 29 years, when their marriage was solemnized and later when the original petition was moved. No intimacy or emotional bond seems to have developed between the parties pursuant to the marriage.

“In the instant case, the matrimonial bond between the parties seems to be beyond repair. The marriage between the parties is only in name. The marriage has been wrecked beyond the hope of salvage, public interest and interest of all concerned lies in the recognition of the fact and to declare defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto,” the bench said.

It said that to keep up this sham would be “conducive to immorality and potentially more prejudicial to the public interest than a dissolution of the marriage bond”.

Therefore, the Court dismissed an appeal of a married man and dissolved the marriage on the grounds of mental cruelty by the husband.

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