New Delhi, October 12: The Delhi High Court has said that a wife's claim for separate residence in "justifiable situations" cannot be labelled as an act of cruelty to the husband, however, if he has chosen to be in a joint family with his parents, he cannot be forced to separate from the first day of his marriage “merely on the whims" of his wife. A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna upheld a family court's order and dismissed the wife's appeal challenging its decision to grant divorce to the husband based on the grounds of cruelty and desertion under Section 13 (1)(ia) and (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The parties had married in January 2012 but separated after only three months
The parties had married in January 2012 but separated after only three months. The court said that there can be various justifiable situations such as differences with in-laws, work commitments, or differences of opinion, which may make a wife's demand for separate accommodation necessary for the survival of the marriage.
The claim for separate residence cannot be considered an act of cruelty
In such cases, the claim for separate residence cannot be considered an act of cruelty, it said. However, the court also stressed the importance of maintaining a delicate balance when the husband has chosen to live in a joint family with his parents. It said that both the husband and the wife have equal responsibilities toward their parents and each other.
The husband claimed that he was subjected to cruelty
The court noted that the marriage barely lasted three months and failed due to the denial of conjugal rights. The husband claimed that he was subjected to cruelty by the wife as she refused to settle in the matrimonial home where his parents were residing with him and that she, since beginning, started making a demand for separate accommodation.
The wife was not able to justify her claim for separate residence
The bench said that the wife was not able to justify her claim for separate residence. The court said that matrimonial relationships require nurturing, care, compassion, cooperation, and adjustments to flourish into a healthy conjugal relationship. In this case, the wife left the matrimonial home after just three months of marriage, and none of the grounds claimed by her were supported by evidence. The court concluded that the wife had withdrawn from her relationship with the husband without reason and had no intention of resuming it.