An irretrievably broken marriage isn't a ground for granting divorce, held the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. The HC further held that simplicitor acquittal of the husband in a domestic violence case won't amount to cruelty.
A bench of Justices Avinash Gharote and Pushpa Ganediwala was seized with a plea filed by a husband seeking divorce from his wife on the grounds of cruelty and dissertion.
The husband claimed that his wife did not maintain sexual relations with him and even left his company and shifted to Mumbai. He even cited an incident wherein the wife had a tremendous quarrel with him on middle of a highway and later refused to join him and live with him at his own house.
The wife on the other hand argued that since she was pursuing pilot training, she had to travel between Baramati and Mumbai and had to stay back at either places for a few days. She claimed that her husband had broken all ties with her and had got married to another lady and even had two children with her.
Having heard the contentions, the judges said, "Though it was urged on behalf of the husband that the facts on record indicated that there was an irretrievable breakdown of the marital ties we find that the same by itself cannot constitute a ground for
severing the marital ties by passing a decree of divorce."
"In the absence of any statutory ground being proved by the husband the decree for divorce cannot be sustained only for the reason that there appeared to be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage," the bench added.
The bench noted that the claim of the husband that he was acquitted from the criminal charges of domestic violence and thus this showed that he was subjected to mental cruelty.
"In the absence of any plea or evidence being led by the husband to prove that he had to suffer cruelty on account of initiation of criminal proceedings by the wife, mere acquittal in those proceedings was not sufficient to conclude that this resulted in causing mental cruelty to the husband," the bench held.
"In other words, cruelty has been held to be proved not on grounds pleaded
but on the assumption that quashing of criminal proceedings in respect of
one offence out of two by itself resulted in cruelty," the judges said while quashing a family Court's order granting divorce to the husband.