Cruelty as One of the Grounds for Divorce under Hindu Law

In Smt. Anju Sharma v. Suresh Kumur, AIR 1998 Del. 47, a learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court held that non complaint to the Registrar of Marriage about existence of force or threat at the time of marriage itself is against maintainability of her petition for annulment of marriage.

Illustrations:

(a) Bhagwat v. Bhagwat, AIR 1976 Bom. 80. The husband who was not mentally sound tried to strangulate his wife’s brother and his own child. It was contended that this was not cruelty as the violence was not directed to the wife. The contention was rejected and his conduct was held to constitute mental cruelty with reference to the wife.

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(b) Siddagangiah v. Lakshamma, AIR 1968 Mys. 115. An imputation of adultery amounts to cruelty. If such unfounded imputations are made, continuance in the matrimonial home becomes an agonising ordeal to wife. So this is legal cruelty.

(c) Rooplal v. Kartaro Bai, AIR 1970 J&K 158. The wife was suffering from atrophic rhenitis as a result of which her nose got putrefied and emitted a foul smell.

This was held to be “legal cruelty” entitling the husband to judicial separation.

(d) Sreepadachar v. Vasantha Bai, AIR 1970 Mys. 232. The wife was abusing the husband in public and insulting him. She was threatening to burn herself and bring her husband into trouble with the police. This was held to be Legal cruelty on the part of the wife towards her husband. The husband was granted a decree for judicial separation.

(e) Failing to see the husband in hospital where he is undergoing treatment for several months after his jeep met with a serious accident is “cruelty” on the part of the wife: Rajinder Singh v. Tarawati, AIR 1980 Del. 213.

(f) Kashinath Sahu v. Devi, AIR 1971 Ori 295. Exposing the wife to insulting behaviour of husband’s relations is mental cruelty. It is no answer that the husband himself had not insulted.

In Dastane v. Dastane, AIR 1970 Bom. 312: Five tests were laid down in determining whether a given conduct amounts to legal cruelty. They are the following:

(i) The alleged acts constituting cruelty should be proved according to the law of evidence;

(ii) There should be an apprehension in the petitioner’s mind of real injury or harm from such conduct;

(iii) The apprehension should be reasonable having regard to the socio-economic and psycho-physical condition of the parties;

(iv) The petitioner should not have taken advantage of his position;

(v) The petitioner should not by his or her conduct have condoned the acts of cruelty.

In Vinit H. Joglekar v. Vaishali Vinit Joglekar, AIR 1998 Bom 73, the Division Bench of Bombay High Court held that the allegation of resort to unnatural carnal relationship by the husband when not countered by him in cross-examination is “cruelty” within the meaning of s. 13 of the Act.

In 1963 the law relating to “cruelty” was liberalised in England by the House of Lords by modifying the test as to “legal cruelty”. In Gollins v. Gollins, 1963 (2) All.ER 966, it was laid down by Lord Reid that to establish cruelty it is not necessary to show that there was an intention to cause hurt to the spouse.

In that case the husband did not pay his debts nor was he seeking employment to earn money for the upkeep of the family. This was due to his laziness and there was no intention on his part to hurt his wife. He was a mild man and was not guilty of violent conduct.

Still it was held that there was legal cruelty for his conduct was telling on his wife. This view as to legal cruelty was reiterated by the House of Lords in Wiliams v. Williams, 1963 (2) All.ER 994. In that case the husband was having insane delusions; He imagined voice telling him that his wife was committing adultery. Believing these voices he accused her of adultery. The husband did not know that his accusations were wrong. Still it was held that legal cruelty was made out on these facts.

The Indian High Courts have recently followed these decisions and have upheld these views as to legal cruelty in Jyotish Chandra v. Meera, AIR 1973 Cal. 226.

In Dastane v. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534, the Supreme Court has reviewed the law relating to cruelty. In that case the marriage took place in 1956; the husband filed the petition for judicial separation on the ground of cruelty. The allegation was that the wife was threatening to put an end to her own life or to set fire to the house. She was abusing the husband and his parents. It was held by the Supreme Court, reversing the view of the High Court on this point that this would amount to cruelty.

The Supreme Court felt that English decisions on ‘‘cruelty” may not always be a safe guide. They require “danger to life, limb or health” but s. 10 (1) (b) laid down a lower requirement namely, “reasonable apprehension” that it is harmful or injurious for one spouse to live with the other. The requirement is satisfied in this case. In this case, the parties continued to cohabit and three children were born.

The Supreme Court held that this conduct amounts to condonation of cruelty (or any other matrimonial offence). But condonation is only conditional forgiveness, the implied condition being that no further matrimonial offence should be committed. So matrimonial offence may be revived; but in this case there was no such conduct meriting revival of the original matrimonial offence. In the result, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition.

The Supreme Court laid down the following general prepositions, —

(1) The fact that the parties are Hindus does not lead to any special assumptions e.g., that the wife opposed party. The evidence ought to bear a secular examination.

(2) A matrimonial offence need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt (as offences are required to be proved in criminal law). The decision can be based on a preponderance of probabilities. Section 25 requires only the standard of proof which is required in other civil cases.

In Mohinder Kaur v. Bhaq Ram, AIR 1979 P&H 71. A (Husband) filed a suit for restitution of conjugal rights alleging that his wife was living in adultery with another. These allegations were found to be unjustified. The wife there upon filed a suit for judicial separation alleging cruelty on the basis of the aforesaid allegations of unchastity. It was held, allowing her claim that the levelling of unfounded charges of adultery amounts to mental cruelty.

Whether a single act of cruelty is sufficient: In A.P. Mary v. Raghavan, AIR 1979 MP 40, it was held that even a single act of cruelty is sufficient if it is of a “grievous and inexcusable nature”, to afford matrimonial relief.

The case was decided under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 but on this points the provision of the Special Marriage Act, is identical with that of the Hindu Marriage Act. So the decision would apply to the latter Act also. The words used in the Section are “Has treated with cruelty” and riot “has been treating with cruelty”. So recurring conduct need not be proved. Even single act of cruelty is sufficient to claim relief.

In P v. P, AIR 1983 Bom. 8; see also P v. P, AIR 1982 Bom. 498 between the same parties the husband petitioned for divorce on the ground of the wife’s adultery and alternatively on the ground of cruelty. He collected evidence of adultery with the assistance of a Detective Agency. The evidence established that the respondent was visiting restaurants and staying in family cabins with males under suspicious circumstances.

The Detective Assistants gave evidence to the effect that the respondent was kissed and her breasts were handled by those males. The High Court held that the evidence fell short of proof of adultery. Such conduct on the part of the wife was also not such cruelty” as would cause danger to the health of the petitioner or apprehension of such danger”.

The learned judge concluded; “Though it is unjust to compel the petitioner to continue his marriage with the 1st respondent it is unfortunate that the law being what it is, I have no alternative but to dismiss the appeal”. So the petition for divorce failed.

The case was decided after the Amending Act of 1976. In regard to the concept of “cruelty” there is no change in the law. The test of “cruelty” laid down by the Supreme Court in Dastane v. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534, before the amendment of s. 13 in 1976 were applied by the Bombay High Court in the instant case.

It is respectfully submitted that the conduct proved in this case was “mental cruelty” and could have served as a ground for matrimonial relief. It is respectfully submitted that this case is not good law after the Full Bench decision in Keshavarao v. Nisha, AIR 1984 Bom. 413 (FB).

The nature of “cruelty” in matrimonial law has been clarified by a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Keshavarao v. Nisha, AIR 1984 Bom. 413 (FB). The word “cruelty” is not defined in the Act. In Dastane v. Mrs. Dastane, AIR 1970 Bom. 312; the view was taken that “cruelty” under old s. 10 (1) (b) meant legal cruelty as understood in English law, i.e. injury causing danger to life or limb or health or reasonable apprehension of such injury.

This decision was reversed by the Supreme Court in Dastane v. Mrs. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534. The Supreme Court toned down the concept of “cruelty” to mean “reasonable apprehension that it will be harmful or injurious for the spouse to live with the other”. This is a less stringent requirement than the English law concept. This was what was envisaged in old s. 10 (1) (b).

In the absence of legal evidence supporting to the mutation made in Revenue Records and Birth entry of the child and in view of the reliability of the denial of remarriage by the real brother of the alleged, second husband, finding on remarriage has to be set aside. Joginder Singh v. Smt. Joginder Singh, AIR 1996 SC 1654: (1996) 7 SCC 555.

Cruelty was originally a ground only for judicial separation under s.10 and not for divorce under s. 13. By the Amendment of 1964 it became possible to obtain a decree for divorce two years after the decree of judicial separation if cohabitation was not resumed during that period. By the amendment of 1976 the waiting period was reduced to one year. New s. 13 (1) (i-î) was introduced to make “cruelty” a ground even for divorce (N.B. Previously it was ground only for judicial separation).

It was argued before the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court that the effect of the 1976 Amendment is to supersede the Supreme Court decision in Dastane v. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534 and equate cruelty with the English Law concept as laid down in Dastane v. Mrs. Dastane, AIR 1970 Bom. 312. This argument was rejected.

The old concept of “cruelty” as endangering life, limb or health has now been abandoned even in English’. No doubt the legislative standard of “cruelty” embodied in old s. 10 (1) (b) (and this was what was stressed by the Supreme Court in AIR 1975 SC 1534) has now been omitted.

The Law Commission in its 59th report of 1974 recommended that “it should be left to the courts to determine on the facts of each case whether the conduct amounts to cruelty” That is why in the amending Act 1976 no legislative standard of “cruelty” is laid down. This does not mean that the definition of “cruelty” given by the Supreme Court in AIR 1975 SC 1534, has been abandoned.

If at all, the concept of “cruelty” has now been watered down further, it does not attract the old English doctrine of “danger to life or limb or healthit does not even go to the statutory limit embodied in old s. 10 (1) (b) i.e. apprehension that it will be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the other party. It now only means that it is “conduct” of such type that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”.

This is the view of the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Keshavrao v. Nislia, AIR 1984 Bom. 413 (FB). The Full Bench clarified the law in this way and sent down the Second Appeal to the Single Judge for deciding how the law is to be applied to the facts of that particular case.

In P.V. Vijayappan Nair v. Ammini Amma, AIR 1997 Ker. 170, after the death of his wife W1 married W2. He had three children through W1; W2 never liked these children, used to misbehave with them and even went to the extent of hoisting civil and criminal cases against them.

The court held that it would amount to cruelty. If the conscience of the court is satisfied that the relationship between the husband and wife is deteriorated to such an extent where it would be impossible to live together without mental agony, the aggrieved party would be granted relief on the ground of cruelty.

In Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddy, AIR 1988 SC 121, the Supreme Court held that dowry demand by itself amounts to cruelty and wife can file a petition for divorce.

In S. Hanumantha Rao v. S. Ramnni, AIR 1999 SC 1318 : (1999) 3 SCC 620, husband sought divorce on the ground of mental cruelty alleging that the wife removed mangalsutra, kept the copies of letters which she wrote to him thereby shaking his confidence and made representations to the Women’s Protection Cell for reconciliation. Fearing arrest the husband obtained anticipatory bail. The court was not convinced about the allegations and held that it would not constitute cruelty.

It may be noted that the divorce could be granted on the ground of cruelty based on allegations made in the written statement. But it must be established that such allegations are false, wild, baseless and scandalous. Simply instituting criminal proceedings will not amount to cruelty. Naval Kishore Somani v. Poonam Somani, AIR 1999 ÀÐ 1.

In Pramila Bhatia v. Vi jay Kumar Bhatia, AIR 2000 Raj. 362, the wife asked her mother-in law to transfer house in her name and when she refused she misbehaved with the mother-in-law and turned her away from the house. The husband was beaten by her brothers at her behest and false charge of demanding dowry was hoisted against the husband. The court held that it amounts to cruelty.

In Praveen Mehta v. Inderjit Mehta, AIR 2002 SC 2582 : (2002) 5 SCC 706, the appellant wife left the matrimonial home within few months of marriage did not return for 10 years. During her stay she never cooperated with the husband about sex since the first day of the marriage.

She misbehaved with the husband and other relatives. She refused medical treatment. Made false plea of conception and miscarriage. The court held that it is a case of mental cruelty meted out to husband and their irretrievable breakdown of marriage. It was observed that mental cruelty is a state of mind and feeling which has to be inferred from the facts and’ circumstances cumulatively.

In G.V.N. Kameswara Rao v. G. Jabilli, AIR 2002 SC 576 : (2002) 2 SCC 296, was held that cruelty need not always be of such nature as causing reasonable apprehension that it would be harmful for the petitioner to live with the other party. Act committed with intention to cause suffering to other party will also amounts to cruelty. Cruelty cannot be judged by an isolated incident. Social status of the parties may be a relevant consideration.

In Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela Vijayakumar Bhate, AIR 2003 SC 2462 : (2003) 6 SCC 334, the Supreme Court held that it is not necessary that cruel treatment should be for a particular duration or period. As to what constitutes, the required mental cruelty for the purpose of section 13 will not depend upon the numerical count of such incidents or only on the continuous course of such conduct, but really go by the intensity, gravity and stigmatic impact of it when meted out even once.

The court also held that the husband in this instant case has made grave assault on the character, honor, reputation, status as well as the health of the wife extensively in his written statements. The court viewed that the fact that he made such statements in the written statements made him fiat of accompli and the statements, thus, made had indelible impact and scar that had been created which cannot be said to have ipso facto dissolved even when the written statement was amended.

To amount to cruelty, there must be such willful treatment of the party which caused suffering in body or mind either as an actual fact or by way of apprehension in such a manner as to render the continued living together of spouses harmful or injurious having regard to the circumstances of the case.

For the purpose of Section 13 (1) (1- a) of the Act, cruelty may be mental such as indifference and frigidity towards the wife, denial of a company to her, hatred and abhorrence for wife, or physical, like acts of violence and abstinence from sexual intercourse without reasonable cause.

As to what constitutes the required mental cruelty for purposes of Section 13 (1) (1-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, will not depend upon the numerical count of such incidents or only in the continuous course of such conduct but really go by the intensity, gravity and stigmatic impact of it when meted out even once and deleterious effect of it on the mental attitude, necessary for maintaining a conducive matrimonial. Vinita Saxena v. Pankaj Pandit, AIR 2006 SC 1662: 2006 (2) CCC 52 (SC).

In Dharam Pal v. Pushpa Devi, AIR 2006 P&H 59, the Court held that false allegations leveled by a spouse against the other spouse with regard to his/her character actually amount to cruelty and may lead to mental agony and sufferance of the other spouse.

Cruelty on the Part of the Husband:

(1) Taking away entire salary of the wife, returning late at night to the house in a drunken condition and slapping the wife if she remonstrates against such conduct is “cruelty” on the part of the husband. Asha v. Baldev, AIR 1985 Del. 76.

(2) Subjecting the wife against her desires to sodomy, fellatio or cunnilingus and other sexual deviations is physical cruelty. A v. B, AIR 1985 Guj.121.

(3) Imputing unchastity to the wife1. If the imputations are repeated in the written statement, the fact that the husband has retracted them in his evidence does not make it any the less mental cruelty. A v. B, AIR 1985 Guj.121.

(4) Frequent demands for dowry amounts to cruelty. Sobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddy, AIR 1988 SC 121.

(5) Impotency of husband can be regarded as cruelty to wife: has to establish capacity to have erection and ability to pene­trate the female organ— proof of well-formed genital organ is not sufficient.

(6) Madnnlal v. Sudesh Kumari, AIR 1988 Del. 93. The wife was pregnant even before her marriage. She gave birth to a child within six months of the marriage. This was held to be “Cruelty” on her part and so her husband could sue for divorce. No doubt the husband had an alternative remedy under s. 13 (1) (i-à) for a decree of nullity within one year from the date of the marriage. It is; however, open to him to sue for divorce rather than nullity of the marriage.

(7) In Jai Dayal v. Shakuntala Devi, AIR 2004 Del. 39, it was clear from the facts of the case that the appellant has leveled disgusting allegations of unchastity and indecent familiarity of the respondent with the different persons outside wedlock and her having extra marital relations with the other persons.

Husband has written repeated letters sufficiently for long time to various authorities making slanderous allegations against wife humiliating and wounding her feeling to such an extent making impossible for her to live with him. The court held that it amounts treating wife with cruelty.

Similar case arose in Kala Kumari v. Ram Bhawan Anand, AIR 2004 All 54, where the husband used to visit the office of the wife on several occasions and used to humiliate her with, objectionable statements; calling her as a prostitute in front of her colleagues and there by lowered her reputation and prestige, the court held that the wife was entitled for divorce on the ground of cruelty.

(8) In A. Jaya Chandra v. Aneel Kaur, AIR 2005 SC 535, the court held that the word cruelty used under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act refers to human conduct or behavior and such conduct should be grave and weighty, where the other party cannot be reasonably expected to cohabit with the respondent.

In the instant case where wife asked the husband to do certain things which cause damage to his reputation, character and fidelity and wife went to the extent of seeking detention of her husband in a court case, the court came to the conclusion that it can be treated as cruelty and extreme case of irretrievable break down of marriage.

In Chiranjeevi v. Lavanya, AIR 2006 AP 269, the Court held that the appellant-husband having gone to the extent of disputing the paternity of the child failed to substantiate the same during the trial. The conduct of the appellant-husband in disputing the paternity of the child amounts to cruelty on his part and it is a justifiable reason for the respondent-wife to refuse conjugal association with the appellant- husband.

The Court further held that the appellant-husband failed to make a ground for grant of divorce. The trial Court considered the material brought on record in right perspective and refused to dissolve the marriage. We do not see any valid ground to interfere with the order of the trial Court.

Cruelty to husband:

A wife who wilfully undergoes abortion against the wishes of her husband and other family members is guilty of cruelty to the husband. Satya v. Suri Ram, AIR 1983 P&H 252.

In Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddy, AIR 1988 SC 121, the wife (Post graduate in biological science) sued her husband (a doctor) for divorce on the ground of “cruelty”. She proved that her husband and parents-in-law were making frequent demands for dowry.

The trial court and the A.P. High Court considered that the demand for the dowry was not such as to constitute harassment and so dismissed the wife’s petition. On appeal the Supreme Court reversed that decision and gave her the relief of divorce. The Supreme Court pointed out that “Cruelty” is not defined in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

It is defined in Sec. 498-A of the IPC This section was introduced in the IPC by an amendment of 1984. ”Cruelty” is defined as including harassment of the woman to coercing her or her relations to meet an unlawful demand for any property. This definition is applicable only to Criminal Law. It should not be applied to civil law.

The High Court thought that the unlawful demand for dowry should also cause harassment. This is wrong. The demand by itself is sufficient; to constitute “cruelty” so far as matrimonial law is concerned. Such illegal demand amounts to cruelty and so the wife was granted a decree for dissolution of marriage.

The following are acts of cruelty on the part of the wife, —

(1) Leaving for her father’s place without informing the husband and his family members.

(2) Making police complaints against husband about matrimonial differences.

(3) Writing letters to office address of the husband about their matrimonial difference.

(4) Burning the Doctoral Thesis prepared by her husband who is a lecturer.

(5) Calling the husband an impotent person in the presence of relations and friends.

(6) Threatening to commit suicide and to involve the husband and his family in criminal case.

(7) Reporting to the husband’s employers (bank) that he is using Bank’s letter paper for his personal use.

(8) Refusing to prepare tea for the friends of the husband.

(9) Wife filing false reports of non-bailable offences against husband.

(10) Getting rid of pregnancy without ‘husband’s consent.

Where the act complained of is in itself not illegal, cruelty has to be proved. Petty quarrels by themselves do not amount to cruelty. In Nandn v. Veen a Nanda, AIR 1988 SC 407, the husband petitioned for divorce on the ground of the cruelty of his wife. There was no doubt disharmony but after the birth of a male child in 1964 they lived together for 7 years amicably.

From 1971 they lived separately. It was held by the Supreme Court that the conduct of the wife in these circumstances did not amount to cruelty and so the husband was not entitled to divorce on the ground. Ordinary wear and tear of the family Narayan v. Prabha, AIR 1964 MP 28; J.L. Nanda v. Veena, AIR 1988 SC 407; Yeshoda v. Krishna Murthy, AIR 1992 Kant. 368.

Against an exparte decree for divorce passed, an aggrieved wife even after the death of the husband taking place before filing the application can move an application for setting aside the same and continue the proceeding against legal heirs of deceased husband. Smt. Yallawwa v. Smt. Shantavva, AIR 1997 SC 35.

Where the wife was in the habit of visiting others in the village; when brought back after reconciliation in earlier divorce proceedings deprived the husband of having sex with her; assaulted husband and his parents several times; refused to cook food and discharge her other matrimonial obligations, the court held that continuing such marriage would prolong the agony of husband and thus husband was entitled for divorce. Neelam Kumari v. Gurman Singh, AIR 2004 P&H 9.

What is Not Cruelty?

Ordinary wear and tear of the family. Narayan v. Prabha, AIR 1964 MP 28; J.L. Nanda v. Veena, AIR 1988 SC 407; Yeshoda v. Krishna Murthy, AIR 1992 Kant. 368.

That the wife smokes; or

That the wife is illiterate.

Illustrations of Cruelty:

(1) Alleging falsely that the husband is having an affair with his research Assistant in a letter to the employer (Vice Chancellor). Mrs. Iris Paintal v. Autar Singh, AIR 1988 Del. 121.

(2) Wife’s attitude of hostility towards relations of the husband indicating that they were not welcome to the husband’s house. After 30 years of wedded life, divorce was granted in this case. The wife was a Christian and was a college lecturer.

The husband was a famous scientist who was Director of Vithalbhai Patel Chest Institute. Mrs. Iris Paintal v. Autar Singh, AIR 1988 Del. 121.

(3) Not attending upon the husband while he is ill is usually cruelty, but if the wife at that time was in England and husband fell ill in India, it could not amount to cruelty. Mrs. Iris Paintal v. Autar Singh, AIR 1988 Del. 121.

(4) Serving beef at the table of the Hindu husband would ordinarily be cruelty, but if his marriage is to a Christian woman who is accustomed to eating beef, it would not amount to cruelty, (ibid).

(5) Refusal to have sexual intercourse with the spouse without any reason. Anil Bhardwaj v. Nimlesh Bhardwaj, AIR 1987 Del. 111.

(6) Causing agony by pressing testicles; attempt to commit suicide to coerce husband, making false scandalous allegations in written statement are all acts of cruelty. Savitri v. Mulchnnd, AIR 1987 Del. 52.

(7) Pulling the flaccid penis of the husband thereby causing pain to him. Ashok v. Santosh, AIR 1987 Del. 63.

(8) Aborting foetus in the very first pregnancy without consent of husband. Sushil Kumar v. Usha, AIR 1987 Del. 86.

(9) Wife falsely complaining to Prime Minister that her husband is demanding dowry and the complaint leading to a departmental enquiry. Malhotra Malik v. Kirti Malhotra, AIR 1987 Del. 266.

(10) Frequent desertion by wife without any reason. Parini Mehar Seshu v. Parini Nageswar, AIR 1994 AP 92; Smt. Laxmi Oram v. Birsa Oram, AIR 2003 Ori. 16.

(11) Uncorroborated allegation of the wife habit of stealing valuable found at any place does not amount to cruelty. Dr. A.R. Arun Kumar v. Smt. Nalini, AIR 2003 Karn. 25.

Adultery:

Paternity may be excluded by conducting the blood grouping test. Thus, if the husband is having “A” blood group and the mother “B” blood group, their child must have either ‘A’ or ‘B’ or’ AB’ group of blood. So if the child is having ‘C’ blood group, it is clear that it cannot be the child of the husband.

This test may be used as circumstantial evidence, if not as conclusive evidence. On this basis the husband was granted divorce by accepting his allegation as to his wife’s adultery. Hargovind Soni v. Ramdulari, AIR 1986 MP 57.

In Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi, AIR 1988 SC 121, it was observed by the Supreme Court, “The categories of cruelty are not closed. Each case may be different. We deal with the conduct of human beings who are not generally similar. Among the human beings there is no limit to the kind of conduct which may constitute cruelty. New type of cruelty may crop up in any case depending upon the human behaviour, capacity or incapability to tolerate the conduct complained of. Such is the wonderful realm of cruelty”.

In a divorce petition, a third party cannot be impleaded unless specific acts of adultery with particulars of place, time, and person are alleged. Prateek Vohra v. Gautam Jana, 2006 (5) ALT 226.

Condonation of Cruelty:

In Tapan Kumar v. Jyotsna, AIR 1997 Cal. 134, wife filed a criminal case and a maintenance suit against husband and this was brought to an end by a compromise between the parties and they lived together for more than one year afterwards.

Subsequently husband preferred a petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty based upon pre compromise conduct of wife. The court held that it is not maintainable as the compromise between the parties amounted to condonation.

However in Abha Agarwal v. Sunil Agarwal, AIR 2000 All. 377, the husband withdrew the divorce petition on the intervention of the elders and relatives. Subsequently the situation worsened with the wife’s harassment and misbehaviour and husband was constrained to file a fresh petition for divorce.

It was contended that the husband cannot take the ground of cruelty which he made out in his first petition as it is deemed to have been condoned. Based on the facts the court did not accept her contention. It was observed that the conduct of the wife is unnerving and has adverse effect on husband’s mental faculties and the blame squarely lies at the door of the wife who had been most inconsiderate and selfish.