'Baseless Accusations Against One's Spouse Involving Infidelity Is An Act Of Mental Health Cruelty': Delhi High Court

'Baseless Accusations Against One's Spouse Involving Infidelity Is An Act Of Mental Health Cruelty': Delhi High Court

The Bench noted that such actions represent the gravest form of insult and cruelty, disqualifying the accuser from obtaining a divorce on these grounds.

IANSUpdated: Saturday, April 27, 2024, 12:09 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court recently ruled that falsely accusing a spouse of having an extramarital affair and denying parentage of children amounts to severe mental cruelty.

The decision was delivered by a Division Bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, who upheld a family court's verdict that denied a husband's plea for divorce on the grounds of alleged cruelty by his wife.

The court said that making baseless accusations against a spouse, especially involving character and fidelity, and further rejecting the children's legitimacy inflicts profound mental anguish and damages the matrimonial bond irreparably.

The Bench noted that such actions represent the gravest form of insult and cruelty, disqualifying the accuser from obtaining a divorce on these grounds.

During the proceedings, it was revealed that although the husband had repeatedly accused his wife of unfaithfulness and inappropriate relationships with multiple men, he admitted during cross-examination that he had never witnessed any compromising situation.

“... it is pertinent to observe that the appellant has consistently and persistently, adamantly raised doubts about the character of the respondent and has made unsubstantiated and reprehensible allegations against the character of the respondent and has asserted that she was having illicit relationship not only with one but with many other persons,” the court noted.

Judges' Criticisms

The judges criticised the husband for the relentless and degrading nature of his accusations, which also targeted innocent children by questioning their paternity.

“These false and completely unsubstantiated accusations of the appellant did not stop him in even blatantly denying the parentage of his own son and daughter when he deposed in his cross-examination that ‘I have no faith that the children belong to me’,” the Bench noted.

It said that such deplorable allegations and repudiation of the matrimonial bond and refusal to accept the children, who are innocent victims in the vile allegations made by the appellant, is nothing but an act of mental cruelty of the gravest kind.

The court further observed that the family court had correctly identified the husband’s allegations as a grave assault on his wife's character, honour, and mental health.

“Such scandalous, unsubstantiated aspersions of perfidiousness attributed to the spouse and not even sparing the children, would amount to the worst form of insult and cruelty, sufficient to disentitle the appellant from seeking divorce,” the court noted.

Conclusion Of The Bench

The Bench concluded that it was, in fact, the wife who endured cruelty and upheld the decision to refuse the divorce, citing the husband's failure to substantiate his claims and his contribution to the marital discord.

It noted, “He has made vague and general allegations regarding threats to commit suicide and implication in criminal cases. As discussed above, it is the respondent (wife) who has been subjected to cruelty and not the appellant.”

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