Filing false cases against spouse is cruelty, says Bombay High Court

Mumbai: If you think you can save your marriage by filing false cases against your spouse so that s/he does not abandon you, you are wrong. Bombay High Court has held that filing of false cases against spouse that leads to their arrest can amount to cruelty.

The ruling came from a Division Bench presided over by Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed while hearing a family court appeal moved by Christine Menezes. She had challenged the May 2008 verdict of the family court that passed a decree of divorce in her husband’s (Lazarus Menezes) favour.

The couple married according to Christian rites and customs in December 1987 and had two daughters. It was in 2005, when the wife, Chirstine, filed a petition in the family court seeking maintenance for her and the two daughters. Subsequently, the husband had petitioned the court seeking divorce on the grounds of ‘desertion and cruelty’ at the hands of his wife.

According to the husband’s case, he was arrested by the police under charge of dowry and cheating, after his wife filed a false complaint against him. He claimed his wife accused him of having ‘illicit’ relationships with the domestic help, a neighbour and other relatives. He also contended that he left the matrimonial house owing to the conduct of his wife.

On the other hand, the wife contended that her husband left the matrimonial house on his own accord and that she ‘supported her husband’s thirst for sex’ till December 2005. After scrutinising the evidence on record, the Bench said, “In our view, the act of filing a false complaint by the wife against her husband only to bring him back and that it led to his arrest and jail for seven days, would constitute a clear case of cruelty by the wife.”

“We are unable to brush aside the case of the husband that due to the conduct of his wife, he took voluntary retirement. The husband has been subjected to mental cruelty at the hands of the wife and the family court has rightly allowed his petition seeking divorce,” the Bench added.

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