Tejaswita
DENIAL OF PHYSICAL ACCESS DURING PREGENCY IS NOT CRUELTY
Tejaswita 7 Nov 2016

DENIAL OF PHYSICAL ACCESS DURING PREGENCY IS NOT CRUELTY

As any person who has had the chance to see or be a part of any contested divorce proceeding in Indian family court or has even heard about such matters would know that such contested proceedings are what can be said to be a slang match between the spouses. Malicious, false, vague and even disgusting accusations are commonly made against each other by the spouses. These allegations, in many cases are not even supports by the most feeble of the evidence. As a result, they are not or cannot be sustained. While the practice of making allegations in the nature of assassinating a person’s character by calling them adulterous, drunkard etc. may be common, in most cases there is hardly any evidence to support the same. Similarly allegations of disrespect to the either spouse and their respective families are also freely made. While such practices are common, one must assume that neither party actually likes such allegations.

In yet another case dealing with the aspect cruelty in a marriage, a division bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi comprising of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani held in a case of divorce proceeding that  denying physical access to the husband by the wife who is expecting a child does not constitute cruelty towards the husband. In the same case, the Hon’ble bench has also held that merely because the wife would get up late and wanted tea to be served to her would not constitute cruelty but will at best indicate that she was lazy. The Hon’ble Court held that laziness was not cruelty.

In the present case, the family court had dismissed the case of the husband and did not grant him the divorce. The interesting point was that the wife could not even file her written statement/ reply before the family court. The family court was of the opinion that that the pleadings in the matter and the evidence was vague and without any particulars. A similar observation was also made by the Hon’ble Bench by stating that the pleadings and evidence of the husband were verbatim. The husband had pleaded that the wife was disrespectful towards his parent but it was nowhere pleaded if he was not living in a joint family. The Court opined that in the absence of such a pleading, where would be the occasion for the wife to humiliate, harass and insult his aged parents in the matrimonial house.

On the aspect of denial of physical access to husband, the Court held that the wife at the relevant time was on the family way and would obviously be inconvenienced by sex. The Court held that shunning physical relationship with the husband as pregnancy of the wife advanced would not constitute cruelty. The appeal of the husband was also dismissed by the Hon’ble High Court.

The judgment can be accessed at the website of Delhi High Court. The case number is MAT.APP.(F.C.) 65/2016, judgment dated 03.11.2016.

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