Team SoOLEGAL 13 Jun 2023


Marriage in India is viewed as the institution of unity of a girl and a boy in order to acquire social position. It is frequently like a self-created institution. But, this institution of marriage is easily shattered these days. Every year, the number of divorces rises, whether due to the fault of the husband or the wife. The wife files a complaint against the husband under Section 498A of the IPC, the Hindu Marriage Act of 195, and the Domestic Violence Act of 2005. However, there have been cases where a wife filed a fraudulent complaint against her husband. In such circumstances, the spouse had no recourse because Indian laws were inclined towards women.

It is clear from the unfair nature of the laws that, unlike other laws in India, the burden of proof in laws dealing with the protection of women falls on the accused to prove his innocence, which means that the husband and his family members are immediately apprehended as soon as the wife lodges a FIR, and they are considered as accused without the opportunity to be heard.

However, the High Court of Bombay's decision in the case of Shri Mangesh Balkrushna Bhoir v. Sau. Leena Mangesh Bhoir, the court granted some relief to the husband in such circumstances of false complaints. The Court ruled that if a wife files a false complaint against her husband and his family members and the husband and his family members are acquitted and no case is made out against them. Thus, Honb’le Justice R.D. Dhanuka rendered the decision, stating that on such grounds, the husband is allowed to submit a petition for divorce from her wife.

The term "cruelty" is not defined in the IPC. Cruelty has been defined by Indian courts as an inhuman conduct that causes mental pain and endangers another person's health and life. Either the husband or the wife might be harsh both mentally and physically. Cruelty is one of the grounds for divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the party requesting divorce must demonstrate that it has become impossible for husband and wife to live together.

Facts of the case

In the aforementioned case, the woman filed a complaint against her husband and his family members under Section 498A[1] read with Section 34[2] of the Indian Penal Code. Following that, the Husband filed a petition for divorce based on cruelty and other grounds. The wife's petition was dismissed since the prosecution failed to present adequate evidence to the court, and therefore the accused was acquitted. Meanwhile, the Husband's divorce petition was granted based on cruelty. The order for divorce was overturned by the first appellate court. The Husband filed an appeal.

Concern raised

The High Court was asked if the Appellate Court was right in overturning the Trial Court's order granting a divorce to the husband on the grounds of cruelty, especially when the husband had been acquitted under Section 498A, IPC?


The Court cited the case of K.Srinivas v. K.Sunita, in which the Supreme Court decided that it is a settled point of law that if either spouse files a false complaint, it amounts to cruelty and allows the other spouse to seek for divorce. The Court stated that if a complaint filed by the woman against her husband under Section 498A of the IPC is dismissed and the husband and his family members are later acquitted, the complaint submitted by the wife is false.This is in contrast to the Patna High Court's decision in Bhola Kumar v. Seema Devi, which said that any criminal complaint submitted by the wife would not constitute cruelty as a cause for seeking a divorce. Hon’ble Justice R.D. Dhanuka established a distinction, finding that in the aforementioned case, the wife's petition against her husband was still ongoing before the Criminal Court when the divorce petition was heard by the Family Court. In this case, however, the husband and his family members were acquitted.


After receiving numerous false charges from wives against their husbands, the Supreme Court has resolved the legislation regarding cruelty towards the spouse. Mrs. Deepalakshmi Saehia Zingade v. Sachi Rameshrao Zingade, involved a complaint brought by the woman against her husband alleging an extramarital affair, which was eventually proven. The court regarded such an act of wife cruelty against her husband. Similarly, in Anil Bharadwaj v. Nimlesh Bharadwaj, the court concluded that the wife's unwillingness to have sexual intercourse with the husband amounts to cruelty against the husband. Other reasons for abuse against the husband includes:

1.      Adultery by wife during marriage

2.  Misapplication of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the Domestic   Violence Act of 2005, and other legislation

3.      Desertion by spouse

4.      Cruel attitude of wife

5.      Initiating criminal proceedings with malice against the husband and his family members, etc.

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