Forcing spouse to separate from 
parents ground for divorce: Kerala High Court

New Delhi: Compelling a man to live separately from his old parents would amo­unt to cruelty on the part of his wife and it may become a ground to seek divorce, the Kerala HC has held, ‘News18’ reported on Sunday.

A bench of Justices AM Shaffique and Mary Joseph underscored it would certainly be “torturous” and “unbearable” for a man to be forced to choose between his ageing parents on one hand and his wife and child on the other, and any such compulsion without justified reasons could form a reason to get divorced under the law.

The HC was adjudicating a petition for dissolution of marriage by a man, who stated that it was impossible for him to continue in the marriage because of the hatred that his wife had for his mother, and the doggedness by her to have a matrimonial house without his mother’s presence. According to him, she would also threaten him with committing suicide and naming him and his mother as responsible.

The wife had claimed the man was ill-treating her under influence of his mother and had become a drunkard, often misbehaving with her and their daughter that left her with no choice but to go back to her parents.

The woman, in her statement, also stated that she was willing to join her husband but only when the mother-in-law is gone while pointing out that the latter was culpable for all the problems between the couple. She had further testified that her mother-in-law would make her to do all domestic work even during the convalescent period after a surgical operation and was thus cruel towards her.

The HC, allowing the decree of divorce, noted her statement was a corroboration she never liked her mot­her-in-law and would persist that she would live with the husband to the exclusion of his mother, which in turn created troubles in paradise.

“The respondent (wife) was very particular to have a more comfortable and happy life to the exclusion of petitioner’s mother who, according to her, was the root cause for problems to originate in her matrimonial life... Evidence indicates the respondent and the petitioner’s mother were not cordial and clashes were frequent. Therefore, it is natural for the petitioner to be a scapegoat of the differences,” held the bench.

Casteist remarks during phone call, away from public view, not an offence under SC/ST Act: HC

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the use of casteist words during a phone call, away from public view, does not constitute an offence under the SC/ST Act. Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill passed the order on May 14 on a plea challe­n­g­­ing the framing of charges agai­nst two persons from Kurukshetra who allegedly made casteist remarks over mobile phone against their village head.

“Merely uttering such wrong words in the absence of any public view does not show any intention or mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime) to humiliate the complainant who besides being Sarpanch, belongs to Scheduled Caste community. “It would not thus, ipso-facto, constitute acts of commission of offence, which are capable of being taken cognizance under the SC and ST Act, 1989,” said the judge.

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