Tejaswita 17 Oct 2016


It is very common for to see the spouses insulting each other during matrimonial proceedings for divorce. Various accusations and allegations all ranging from questionable character to weird living habits to drinking to adultery and false affairs and adulterous conduct are common. Character assassination is a tool that comes handy for both the parties in a contested divorce. There is no doubt that levying such allegations troubles the person against whom they made. The trouble can be mental, emotional and at times defamatory too.

However, one forgets that law does catch up with such litigants even though a bit late. In this regard a recent judgment passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in a matrimonial matter may be relevant.

A division bench of the Hon’ble Court in MAT.APP.(F.C.) 63/2016, on 07.10.2016 (This judgment can be accessed at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/153406206/ ) has held that  if a false character assassination allegation is made by either spouse it would invariably constitute matrimonial cruelty to entitle other spouse to seek divorce.  The court was of the view that that making of allegations against the spouse assassinating his character amounts to mental cruelty.

In the present case, the wife had portrayed the husband to be a drunkard and leading an adulterous life. The husband was able to get enough material/ evidence to prove his case and refute the allegations made.

While upholding the decree of divorce given by the family court, the Hon’ble High Court upheld the findings therein.

  The Hon’ble court relied on the case Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijaykumar Bhate, (2003) 6 SCC 334 wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court had an occasion to deal with the question that whether the averments, accusations and character assassination of the wife by the appellant husband in the written statement constitutes mental cruelty for sustaining the claim for divorce. The position of law in this regard was settled and declared to be that levelling disgusting accusations of unchastity and indecent familiarity with a person outside wedlock and allegations of extramarital relationship is a grave assault on the character, honour, reputation, status as well as the health of the wife. Such aspersions of perfidiousness attributed to the wife, viewed in the context of an educated Indian wife and judged by Indian conditions and standards would amount to worst form of insult and cruelty, sufficient by itself to substantiate cruelty in law, warranting the claim of the wife being allowed. That such allegations made in the written statement or suggested in the course of examination and by way of cross-examination satisfy the requirement of law has also come to be firmly laid down by this Court. The Supreme Court in that case was of the view that the accusations were of such quality, magnitude and consequence as to cause mental pain, agony and suffering amounting to the reformulated concept of cruelty in matrimonial law causing profound and lasting disruption and driving the wife to feel deeply hurt and reasonably apprehend that it would be dangerous for her to live with a husband who was taunting her like that and rendered the maintenance of matrimonial home impossible.



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