Pankaj Mahajan Vs. Dimple
J U D G M E N T
appeal is directed against the final judgment and order dated 06.08.2009 passed
by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh in FAO No. M-123 of 2006
whereby the High Court allowed the appeal filed by the respondent herein and set
aside the judgment and decree dated 29.04.2006 passed by the Additional District
Judge(Ad-hoc)-cum-Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court, Ropar filed under
Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (in short `the Act').
a. The marriage of
Pankaj Mahajan-appellant husband and Dimple @ Kajal, respondent-wife, was solemnized
on 02.10.2000 at Amritsar. After the marriage, the parties cohabited and resided
together as husband and wife at Amritsar in the parents' house of the
appellant-husband, but later on shifted to a rented house in Tilak Nagar, Shivala
Road, Amritsar. On 11.07.2001, a female child was born, who is now in the
custody of the respondent-wife.
b. After the marriage,
the appellant-husband found that the respondent-wife was acting in very abnormal
manner, as she used to abruptly get very aggressive, hostile and suspicious in
nature. In a fit of anger, she used to give threats that she would bring an end
to her life by committing suicide and involve the appellant-husband and his family
members in a criminal case, unless she was provided a separate residence. On
one occasion, she attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the terrace but
was saved because of timely intervention of the appellant-husband.
c. Succumbing to the pressure
of the respondent-wife, the appellant-husband shifted to a rented house on
28.11.2001 at a monthly rent of Rs.3,200/- and started living with her, but the
behaviour of the respondent-wife became more aggressive and she repeated
threats of suicide even in the rented house. On enquiry, the appellant-husband came
to know that the respondent-wife was suffering from acute mental depression
coupled with schizophrenia even prior to the marriage and was taking treatment
for the same. The appellant-husband hoping that the respondent-wife would become
alright took her to various doctors, but her mental condition did not improve
and she became more and more violent and aggressive. She insulted and humiliated
the appellant-husband in front of his colleagues and relatives several times and
even on one occasion she pushed the appellant-husband from the staircase
causing fracture in his right forearm.
d. On 23.03.2002, the appellant-husband
wrote a letter to his mother-in-law stating therein that the respondent-wife
was repeatedly threatening to commit suicide and even on 19.04.2002, he wrote a
letter to the SSP, Amritsar regarding the factum of repeated threats to commit
suicide given by the respondent-wife. On 24.05.2002, the appellant-husband
filed a petition under Section 13 of the Act in the District Court at Amritsar
for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce. By order dated 29.04.2006,
the Additional District Judge, Ropar, granted a decree of divorce in favour of
e. Being aggrieved by
the above-said order, the respondent-wife filed FAO No. M-123 of 2006 before the
High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh. The High Court, by order
dated 06.08.2009, allowed the appeal filed by the respondent-wife and set aside
the judgment and decree dated 29.04.2006 passed by the Additional District Judge(Ad-hoc)-cum-
Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court, Ropar. Aggrieved by the said decision, the
appellant-husband has preferred this appeal before this Court by way of special
Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, learned senior counsel for the appellant-husband and Mr. B.K.
Satija, learned counsel for the respondent-wife. Discussion:
is not in dispute that the petition for dissolution of marriage for granting a
decree of divorce under Section 13 of the Act came to be filed by the appellant-husband
before the District Court at Amritsar. The marriage was solemnized between the parties
at Amritsar on 02.10.2000. Since the case of the appellant-husband as well as
the respondent-wife has already been narrated, there is no need to traverse the
same once again. The fact remains that it was the appellant-husband who
approached the court for a decree of divorce on the grounds of `cruelty' and
`unsound mind' of the respondent-wife which is incurable, hence we have to see whether
the appellant-husband has made out a case for divorce on these grounds.
13 of the Act, which is useful for our present purpose, reads as under:- "13.
Divorce (1) Any marriage solemnised, whether before or after the commencement of
this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be
dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party--
(i) xxx (i-a) has,
after the solemnisation of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty;
(iii) has been incurably
of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from
mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot
reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. Explanation .--In this
(a) the expression "mental
disorder" means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind,
psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind and includes
schizophrenia;....."Section 13 specifies the grounds on which a decree of
divorce may be obtained by either party to the marriage. The onus of proving
that the other spouse is incurably of unsound mind or is suffering from mental
disorder lies on the party alleging it. It must be proved by cogent and clear
the case on hand, since the appellant-husband has approached the District Court
for a decree of divorce, the onus is on him to prove the grounds put-forth by him.
As regards the ground alleged by the appellant-husband for a decree of divorce i.e.
the respondent-wife is suffering from unsound mind/mental disorder/schizophrenia,
apart from his own evidence as PW-4, various Doctors, who treated her and other
witnesses were also examined. From the side of the appellant-husband, Dr. Paramjit
Singh (PW-1), Dr. Ravinder Mohan Sharma (PW-2), Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3) and
Dr. Gurpreet 6Inder Singh Miglani (PW-7), who had given treatment to the
respondent-wife for mental disorder, were examined.
Paramjit Singh (PW-1), Professor and Head Psychiatry Department, Medical College,
Amritsar in his evidence stated as follows:- "The respondent remained admitted
in my Department at Amritsar from 17.12.2001 to 28.12.2001. This disease is Bipolar
Affective Disorder. I treated her during this period. She was admitted in
Emergency because her disease was in quite serious stage. In this disease, the
patient can commit suicide. When she came, she was aggressive and irritable. If
the proper treatment is not given to the respondent then her aggressive nature can
be prolonged. The respondent Kajal was treated by me by giving electric shock for
four times during her stay in the ward M.R.I. i.e. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI
has got no concern with the disease with which the respondent was suffering.
This disease is treatable
but not curable. I have seen the certificate issued by me which is Ex.P1. It
bears my signatures and is correct Ex. P2 i.e. Discharge Certificate. I have
brought the original record of the Department concerning the respondent both
in- door as well as out-door. A certified copy of the same attested by me is
Ex. P3. These are correct according to the original record brought by me today in
the court. The respondent was brought to the Hospital for her admission and treatment
by Sh. S.K. Mahajan son of later Sh. Gian Chand and Pankaj Mahajan. I have seen
the receipts today in the court which relate to our hospital and the same are Ex.
P4 to Ex. P7 and Ex. P8 is the receipt regarding room rent of our Hospital. On 08.10.2002,
father of the respondent had brought her to our hospital and she was treated by
me as well as other doctors of department of our hospital from 08.10.2002.
After the discharge from
the Hospital, the respondent was brought to our hospital for treatment by her father
on 22.01.2002, 02.02.2002, 09.02.2002, 15.04.2002, 08.08.2002, 08.10.2002, 21.11.2002,
05.02.2003 and 20.06.2003." (Emphasis supplied) 7In cross-examination, he
admitted that when the respondent-wife was discharged from the hospital, she was
not perfectly alright, however, she was able to return home. He further
admitted that in the original record of Ex. P3 some entries were made by him and
some by junior doctors, who worked with him. All the entries made therein are correct.
He also stated that during the treatment, he did not notice abnormal behaviour
of the respondent-wife.
Ravinder Mohan Sharma (PW-2), Senior Medical Officer, Punjab Mental Hospital,
Amritsar, stated as under: "According to file No. 57914 the patient was
examined in the out door by Dr. Charu Chawla, Senior Resident whose handwriting
I identified as she has been working with me. After examining the patient and recording
the history, she has diagnosed her to be a case of Bipolar Affective Disorder with
which I agreed and advised her treatment in my own hand. There is another entry
dated 16.01.2002 again in my own hand where I had advised her treatment. The second
file No. 58803 is in the hand of Dr. Purnima Singh, who after examining
presented the case to Dr. Manjit Singh who made a diagnosis of depressive episode
and advised her medical treatment dated 21.02.2002. I identified the
handwriting of Dr. Purnima Singh and Dr. Manjit Singh as I had been working
I have seen the
original outdoor ticket of respondent and the same are Ex. P11 and Ex. P12. As
per the history recorded in file No. 58803, there is a mention of suicide ideas
and threats and it is recorded that she had attempted suicide once. As per the
record, hers is a history of abusive and irritable behaviour. On 16.01.2002 she
was advised injection by me because she was irritable and restless. It is not a
simple yes or no answer to the question 8 whether the disease is curable or not.
It is an episodic illness which patient getting episodes of mental illness and with
treatment in between she can remain normal. The intensity and frequency of these
episodes is highly unpredictable and varies from patient to patient. Generally,
the frequency increases with every episode. The disease of the respondent is treatable
but cannot be definitely say curable. MRI has got nothing to do with this disease
of respondent." (Emphasis supplied)In cross-examination, he reaffirmed what
he had stated in examination-in-chief.
Virendra Mohan (PW-3), M.D. Psychiatry, Dharampur, District Solan, H.P. stated
as follows:- "Patient Dimple, aged 23 years, female (single) d/o Shri Prem
Kumar, village Shivaji Nagar, House No. 810/11 Ludhiana was admitted on
22.05.1998 and discharged on 06.06.1998. She was suffereing from mental disorder
at that time. She was diagnosed as Chronic Paramoid Schizophrenia for the last four
years. She got admitted by her father Shri Prem Kumar, and the history of the
patient was described to me. I have recorded the history as told by her father.
He told that she was having mental symptoms for the last 4 to 5 years. The sleep
was less. She was having acute psychotic symptoms at the time of admission. I have
mentioned the history of the patient in the register which I have brought today,
and the attested true copy of the same is Ex.PW3/As she was admitted in-door
because she showed acute mental symptoms. She had paranoid symptoms. She was
suicidal and also she could harm herself and others.
The patient was restless
and she could harm and attack others as well, and could cause injury. It has
been recorded in the history of the patient that her Nana had been suffering from
the mental disease. There was no test for diagnosing this disease from which
the respondent was suffering. Only the history tells about the earlier condition
of the patient. I cannot say if the disease for which the respondent was suffering
is definitely curable or not. This disease is known 9 for relapses. There is no
direct relationship in the stress or strain with the disease. This disease is
not related to nose or throat. There can be no finding in MRI regarding this
kind of disease. There may be suicidal tendency of such type of person suffering
from this disease.
The respondent was admitted
in the hospital due to abnormal behaviour. I had observed that she passed stool
in her cloth, she has visual hallucination. During her admission, she also stated
that she wanted to marry her cousin and she was also laughing herself. She was admitted
twice in my mental Hospital at Dharampur. I got signatures of father of the
respondent in my register, whenever she got admitted by her father in my hospital
and the register bears the signatures of her father. Second time, she was
admitted by her father Prem Kumar on 28.09.1999 and was discharged on 05.10.1999.
That time she was more excited and more elated and at that time the diagnosis
was quarry mania.
This time she did not
have any paranoid symptoms. Her address was recorded this time 810/11 Shivaji
Nagar, Ludhiana. Usually, if patient remains symptoms free for two years they
can get married, but other partner should know the problem so that the treatment
should be continued." (Emphasis supplied)In cross-examination, PW-3 stated
that during the treatment in his hospital, the respondent-wife responded very
well to the treatment. No suicidal action was taken by her during the treatment
in his hospital for the second time. He also stated that if the patient remained
symptoms free then she is manageable. According to him, as per the records, the
respondent-wife was manageable.
Gurpreet Inder Singh Miglani (PW-7), Associate Professor and Incharge,
Department of Psychiatry, Guru Ram Dass Medical Hospital, Amritsar stated as
under:- "I remained posted in Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Charitable Hospital at
Ludhiana from 1995 to 1998. I was working there as Consultant for Psychiatry. I
have seen the original file produced in the Court today relating to Dimple d/o
Prem Kumar r/o Shastri Nagar, H.No. 257-A Ludhiana. Dimple was got admitted in our
Hospital on 15.06.1996 at 06:50 a.m. by her father Prem Kumar in the Emergency
Ward. She was suffering from a very violent behaviour and she has to be given
Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT) on the same day in the operation theater. Subsequently
also five ECTs were given as her violence was not being controlled along with other
anti psychotic drugs.
A diagnosis of F 2004
was made according to ICD 10 at the time of discharge on 15.07.1996. She was labeled
as suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia with incomplete remission and discharged
on stable condition. Due consent for ECTs in operation theater under general anesthesia
were taken from the father of the patient." (Emphasis supplied) In
cross-examination, he has stated that he cannot say exactly about the disease of
the respondent-wife whether it can be treatable or not at this stage. He further
stated that the disease of the respondent can be cured or it can aggravate
after a lapse of time.
is relevant to point out that the documents produced from the side of the respondent-wife,
particularly, medical 1report issued by Dr. Harjeet Singh, Consultant Psychiatrist,
RW-4 shows as: "Impression: Bipolar Affective (Mood) Disorder, currently in
remission." "Advice: marital therapy for the couple. Follow up as and
when required." The said Report has been marked as Annexure R10. A fair
typed copy of relevant extract of Ex. P3 shows that "Mood according to patient
is euthenics." The Annexure along with the counter affidavit of the respondent-wife
filed in this Court, particularly, Certificate issued by the Doctor refers "suicide
threats made by her on some occasions".
appellant-husband was examined as PW-4. According to him, the marriage with respondent-wife
was solemnized on 02.10.2000 and it was an arranged marriage. After marriage,
both of them went to Vaishno Devi, however, in the meanwhile he noticed some
strange facial expressions and behaviour of his wife-Dimple. He subsequently
came to know that she was suffering from some serious disease. She used to
become annoyed and angry on petty issues, abuse and fight with him, flaunt her father's
status and influence, comb her hair throughout the day, cry like children,
apply brakes of a moving vehicle, call strangers in the house and offer them
Even once she called
a washerman in the house and gave him Rs. 200/- unnecessarily and when he said `thanks'
she immediately snatched the money from his hands and slapped him for no reason
and, thereafter, she abused him and pushed him out of the house. According to him,
such things had become her everyday chores. She used to wake up very late in
the morning. Whenever his mother and sister called her to join them, she
started abusing and insulting them. She used to call his mother stupid and his
sister as wretched.
One day, when his
friend Sumit came to their house, she insulted him when he was sitting in the
drawing room on the ground floor and when the appellant-husband was coming down
to join him, she pushed him from stairs and started laughing, as a result, he
fell down and got fractured. She was in the habit of listening to phone calls
of Madan Lal, the landlord (PW-5) and used to abuse his relatives over phone. One
day, when the landlord (PW-5) told them that he is fed up with the appellant
and his family and asked to leave the house immediately thereupon, the
respondent-Dimple slapped him on his face for which he had to apologise him for
her acts. Even, one day, she threw the infant child towards him.
order to show that his marriage was an arranged one he explained that he knows
the father of the respondent-wife prior to the marriage as he was his Boss in Life
Insurance Corporation office, Amritsar Division. He worked under him for a period
of 6-8 months. He further explained that the behaviour of the respondent-wife came
to his notice after 1= months' after their marriage and he immediately
disclosed this fact to her father. The treatment was given to the
respondent-wife for the first time on 06.09.2001 for her abnormal behaviour.
important witness examined on the side of the appellant-husband is Madan Lal (PW-5),
the landlord, who rented his house to them. In his evidence, PW-5 deposed that
he is resident of H.No. 62, Tilak Nagar, Amritsar and his wife is also residing
with him. He rented out a portion of the building to the appellant-husband and
respondent-wife which was on the first floor. He and his wife were residing on the
According to PW-5,
the respondent-wife usually remained sitting in the portion of his house during
the day time where he is residing with his family unless and until the
appellant-husband return home. She used to sit with his daughter and daughter-in-law
and remained talking with them. She also quarrels with his wife and daughter
due to the use of telephone. He explained that his daughter-in-law told him that
the respondent-wife often threatens to commit suicide. The High Court, without
looking into the evidence of Madan Lal (PW-5), erroneously concluded that his evidence
was of no help. On the other hand, PW-5 has specifically narrated the behaviour
of the respondent with his wife, daughter-in-law and the agony he himself had
undergone and highlighted all those details in the Court.
from the above oral evidence, the appellant-husband has also pressed into
service a copy of an affidavit of the respondent-wife i.e. Annexure-R3. In the said
affidavit, the respondent-wife has stated that she threatened to commit suicide
so many times to her in-laws and she even tried to commit suicide by way of
jumping from the roof of the house on the intervening night of 19-20.09.2001 but
could not 1succeed due to timely intervention of her husband. She also stated that
she realized that her attempt to commit suicide was at the instance of her parents
and now she is repentant for her actions for threatening to commit suicide and
apologise for the same with the assurance not to repeat such type of actions in
the trial Court accepted the claim of cruelty, the High Court reversed the said
conclusion and completely rejected the claim of divorce even under unsound
mind. In the impugned judgment, though the High Court has adverted to the evidence
of four doctors, without proper appreciation, arrived at an erroneous conclusion
that mere evidence of mental illness is not sufficient to seek decree for divorce.
In spite of abundant materials, unfortunately, the High Court has erroneously concluded
that only wordings of Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act were merely reproduced
without adverting to the facts of the case. According to the High Court,
necessary materials were not pleaded. We are unable to accept the said conclusion.
Without proper discussion and adequate reasons, the High Court rejected the
evidence of the appellant-husband as PW-4. A perusal of his evidence clearly
show the agony and treatment meted out immediately after the marriage due to mental
disorder/unsound mind of the respondent-wife.
the materials placed on record, we are satisfied that the appellant-husband has
brought cogent materials on record to show that the respondent-wife is suffering
from mental disorder, i.e., Schizophrenia. From the side of the
appellant-husband, various doctors and other witnesses were examined to prove that
the respondent-wife was suffering from mental disorder. We have already extensively
quoted the statements of Dr. Paramjit Singh (PW-1), Dr. Ravinder Mohan Sharma
(PW-2), Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3) and Dr. Gurpreet Inder Singh Miglani (PW-7) -
all the four doctors/Psychiatrists who treated the respondent-wife, prescribed medicines
and also expressed the view that it is "incurable". Even the
respondent-wife and her father themselves admitted in their cross-examination that
the respondent had taken treatment from the said Doctors for mental illness. Thus,
it is proved beyond doubt that the respondent-wife is suffering from mental disorder/Schizophrenia
and it is not reasonably expected to live with her and the appellant-husband
has made out a case for a decree of divorce and the decree should have been
granted in favour of the appellant-husband and against the respondent-wife.
High Court, by impugned order, negatived the plea of the appellant-husband under
Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act on the ground that the appellant-husband has
merely reproduced the wordings of the Section without applying the same to the
facts of the case and that it was not pleaded that it was a case of continuous or
intermittent disorder. The aforesaid reasoning of the High Court is completely erroneous
and contrary to the material on record which we have already demonstrated.
to the pleadings before the High Court, the appellant-husband had specifically pleaded
that the respondent-wife was suffering from Schizophrenia, which is a kind of mental
disorder and he had pointed out specific incidents to show that the respondent-wife
was not of sound 1mind. The relevant portion of the petition for divorce filed
by the appellant is reproduced hereunder: "4. That the petitioner shortly
after his marriage found the respondent to be acting in a very abnormal manner.
She would abruptly get very aggressive, hostile and suspicious in nature, ought
to hit anybody available in her company and her suspicion would go to such an extent
that she should not like to take food without some other member of the family
consuming the same.
The respondent would
also in a fit of anger declare that she will bring an end to her life by committing
suicide and would have the petitioner and all the family members involved in a
false criminal case unless she was provided with separate place of
residence.......Enquiries made in the meantime revealed that the respondent has
been suffering from acute mental depression coupled with Schizophrenia, a mental
disorder and illness at intervals with Psychopathic disorder since developed into
mania, which prompted her to become more and more violent and aggressive and on
one such occasion she repeated threat of suicide and attempted jumping from the
house of her in-laws on 19/20.09.2001 but could not succeed in her attempt due to
timely intervention of her husband, who is the petitioner... ......All the same
hoping that treatment may cure the respondent she was got treated by the petitioner
and her parents from various places in connection with her mental illness but such
treatment provided to her including administering her electric shocks, did not
improve the state of affairs.
She was so treated as
indoor and outdoor patient in Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar in
Psychiatric Department in Dr. Vidya Sagar Mental Health Institute and in Bhatti
Neuro Psychiatric Hospital till the end of the year 2001 but all the intensive
and costly treatment did not yield fruit and she could not be cured of her
mental sickness. The respondent is, therefore, suffering from major mental disorder
in which she has suicidal tendency and becomes aggressive and violent in her behaviour
for which she was getting treatment, as referred above, before as well as after
the marriage. She has been given anti-psychic treatment and even electric therapy
at four occasions at least to the knowledge of the petitioner but the things did
not improve therewith.
The respondent has, therefore,
been suffering incurably from unsoundness of mind and has been so suffering
continuously or intermittently from mental disorder 1 of such a kind and such
an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the
respondent. 5. That on one such occasion under the fit of insanity the respondent
pushed the petitioner from the staircase leading to their residential portion
causing the petitioner fracture of right hand for which he got treatment from, Dr.
Hardas Singh Sandhu in the last week of November, 2001. Such aggressiveness was
not first of its kind and in the past also the respondent under the fit of
insanity ventured to slap the petitioner in his face in the presence of his
parents....." The above averments make it clear that the appellant-husband,
after narrating specific incidents of abnormal behaviour of the respondent-wife
had duly pleaded that she was suffering continuously/intermittently from `incurable'
mental disorder of such a nature that he cannot be reasonably expected to live
was also stated
therein that due to her unsoundness, the respondent-wife was not able to lead a
married life and thus the appellant-husband was entitled to a decree of divorce.
Apart from this, the appellant-husband had brought cogent evidence on record to
show that the respondent-wife was not in a fit state of mind whereas the respondent-wife
could not lead any acceptable evidence to rebut the same. We have already pointed
out that the respondent and her father admitted her mental illness and 2periodic
treatment from the doctors mentioned above. No doubt, it was pointed out that after
the marriage, the couple was blessed with a female child and at present she is
studying in a school and there is no dispute about the same.
It is clear from the respondent's
evidence that from the date of delivery of child, the child was periodically taken
care of by her grand-parents. It is also relevant to note that whenever the
child was with respondent-wife, she (the mother) was not taking appropriate care
which is clear from the evidence of the appellant-husband (PW-4) and their landlord,
Madan Lal (PW-5). One incident which was referred to was that many a times the respondent-wife
casually threw the child facing opposite to her. Under these circumstances, the
High Court ought to have accepted the case of the appellant-husband.
High Court rejected the plea of the appellant-husband regarding cruelty on the
ground that apart from his statement, there is no evidence to prove the same
and Madan Lal (PW-5), being hearsay, his evidence was not reliable. As rightly pointed
out by Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, learned senior counsel for the appellant-husband that
as far as Madan Lal 2(PW-5) is concerned, the High Court has only referred to his
cross-examination without even adverting to the examination-in-chief wherein he
had categorically stated about cruelty meted out by respondent-wife to the
appellant-husband. The relevant portion of the evidence of PW-5 is as follows: "Thereafter
Pankaj Mahajan, his wife Dimple alias Kajal and their infant child aged about 4-5
months started living on the upper portion of my house.
They lived in my
house on rent upto 30.11.2002. After some days of taking of the house on rent by
them, I felt that the girl Dimple was not taking any interest in household affairs
and she used to avoid doing household works........... ..........She used to
sit idle after Pankaj's going to office and was not breast-feeding the child even
after child's uncontrollable crying. Not only this, she used to come down and sit
in our bedroom for long hours unnecessarily and talking rubbish and repeating on
the same thing again and again. Many times when I asked Dimple why she behaves like
this and whether she is alright or not, then she did not reply back and kept
mum and whenever she answered to my queries, she used to say that I want to die
and my heart says that I should commit suicide.
When I heard this from
the mouth of Dimple, I become doubly sure that she is mentally unsound and due
to her unsound behaviour even my family too become disturbed and started living
in constant fear because it appeared from her behaviour that she will do something
extreme one day and if she does so, then apart from her in-laws, all of us too will
be unnecessarily implicated in the criminal case. Dimple used to come to our house
during lunch time and demand food for herself and used to sit in our house for
long hours and whenever Pankaj used to come back from his office, she used to
tell him that we will go to our portion after taking meals from us. She used to
repeat one thing many times.
One day, she even went
to the extent of saying that you are cooking food every day-then why don't you keep
us as your paying guest because I cannot prepare food myself and I also cannot
look after my child. Mostly Dimple used to leave her child with 2 my daughter-in-law
and request my daughter-in-law that she should change clothes, bath the child and
give her canned milk. My daughter-in-law did all this for 5-6 times, but one
day my daughter-in-law clearly told Dimple that this is your duty and she
herself should look after the child. On hearing all this, Dimple immediately
turned red in anger and slapped my daughter-in-law and called her
idiot."It is clear from the above that the respondent-wife was not of
sound mind and she did not look after the household work rather she used to
give threats to commit suicide. She did not even make food for the appellant-husband
and he had to arrange the same from outside.
Apart from this, she
used to embarrass the appellant-husband before his landlord's family and because
of her weird behaviour and threats to commit suicide, the appellant-husband was
forced to leave the rented accommodation. Madan Lal, the landlord, PW-5 has also
highlighted several instances when the respondent-wife used to quarrel with her
husband and he had to face humiliation in front of others because of her
behaviour. Inasmuch as PW-5 was living in the same house on the ground floor and
the appellant-husband and the respondent-wife were living on the first floor,
the said witness being the eye-witness to the cruelty meted out by the respondent-wife
to the appellant-husband, 2as he had himself seen the behaviour and the
activities of the respondent-wife including humiliation and threats of
committing suicide, cannot be thrown out. Under those circumstances, the observation
of the High Court that the statement of PW-5 is only hearsay is liable to be
addition to the evidence, the appellant-husband had categorically pleaded in his
petition for divorce about the cruelty meted out to him. He narrated the
incidents when she used to give threats to commit suicide and had even tried to
commit suicide by jumping from the terrace and also pushed him from the staircase
resulting in fracture in his right forearm. Due to her mental disorder, on various
occasions, she even slapped him. She was also most disrespectful to his parents
and she even forced him to live separately from them. His evidence in the form of
an affidavit filed before the trial Court is available in the paper book wherein
he narrated all the sufferings meted out by her.
It is useful to refer
the relevant portion from the same: "My wife Dimple used to become annoyed
and angry on petty issues. She used to abuse and fight with me. She used to flaunt
her father's status and influence. She used to comb her hair throughout the
day. She used to cry like children. 2She used to apply brakes of a moving
vehicle. She used to call strangers in the house and offer them tea. Once she
even called a washerman in the house and gave him Rs. 200/- unnecessarily and when
he said thanks she immediately snatched Rs. 200/- from his hands and slapped
him for no rhyme or reason and thereafter she abused him and pushed him out of
the house. In fact, such things had become her everyday chores. She used to
tell me everything about sex lives and relationship of her maternal uncle and
She was in the habit
of not sleeping throughout night and also used to keep me awake throughout night
and whenever I tried to sleep, she used to insist me to talk to her and whenever
I told her to allow me to sleep, she used to press my neck. She used to wakeup the
child from deep slumber and start slapping her for no reason. She was in the habit
of wrapping the child in wrapper throughout continuously and due to which child
used to weep continuously. She used to say that she is obsessed and hears outer
world's voices and barking of dogs. She used to tell me that she is regularly
seeing evil spirits. She used to go out for roaming at 2-3 a.m. in the night. Whenever
I refused to listen or agree to her demands, she used to throw dirty clothes
upon me. She was in the bad habit or keeping the door of toilet opened
throughout the day even while she was bathing or refreshing herself.
She used to doubt
everything whenever she started eating her food. She also used to doubt her mother
and sister and used to say that both of them have immoral character. She was in
the habit of opening and closing the central locking system of the car. She was
in the habit of increasing the volume of TV to the maximum unnecessarily. Whenever
I used to go to office, she used to stop me from going and when I told her that
I have to go to office, she used to say that she will commit suicide. In fact
she was in the habit of pressing and coaxing me for all her needs and desires. She
used to say that I want to live with Happy and also used to say that she has no
interest in living with me. She stressed that she will leave me and starts living
with Happy. (Happy is the son of my wife's elder paternal uncle.) She was in the
habit of unnecessarily arguing with my parents and used to abuse them and
whenever I stopped her from doing so, she used to threaten me that she will
commit suicide. However, I used to request my parents to look after her in my absence.
But she used to misbehave
and insult them. She used to say that she will buy her own house and 2will start
living in that house because this house is very small for her needs and she feels
suffocated in this house. Although my house is in a very posh colony and it is
a very spacious, airy, open and large house. I noticed that condition of Dimple
is becoming worse every day. I became sure that she is actually mad and she is concealing
her madness from me. I noticed that she used to keep some medicine in her purse
and used to take that medicine often. She was actually sex-hungry and was not
interested in doing any household works. She never showed any interest in
keeping her bedroom and drawing clean and tidy. She was in the habit of wearing
the clothes of 3-4 days regularly. She used to wake up very late in the morning.
Whenever my mother and sister called her to join them, she was abusing and
She used to call my
mother stupid and my sister as wretched. However, I controlled myself and kept
on tolerating her conduct, because all of us were in the fervent hope that one
day God will cure her.........One day, my friend Sumit came to my house. Earlier
also he used to come to my house as he is also working with me in the LIC. He wished
Dimple and enquired about her and instead of welcoming him, Dimple insulted him
by saying why are you coming to our house uncalled every day. He felt very insulted
and sat in the drawing room on the ground floor and when I was also coming down
to join him, Dimple pushed me from stairs and started laughing unnecessarily.
As a result of
aforesaid pushing, I fell down and bones of my right arm and wrist got fractured.
Perchance, Ashok Kumar too had come to my house on that day and he was repeatedly
asking for meals. But when he saw my condition, he immediately took me to the
Hospital of Dr. Hardas where plaster was applied on my arm and wrist. When we
came back, to my utter shock and surprise, Dimple did not even notice any
change in me and did not remotely felt that I have received fractures in my arm
and wrist and plaster has been applied on my arm. One day when we were sitting
in the drawing room, I called Dimple and asked her to bring tea for me. At that
time she was wearing very dirty clothes. So, I asked her to immediately go and
change her dirty clothes and wear some good clothes. But instead of changing her
clothes, she started abusing me and even slapped me on my face.
Thereupon my mother asked
her why she is behaving like this, upon which she rose her hands to slap my
mother too, but my sister stopped her from doing so. We narrated all the above
incidents of Dimple to 2 her father. He expressed his shock and apologized on her
behalf and advised us to start living separately and said that she will start
behaving properly and nicely." All the above details in the form of assertion
in the affidavit clearly show that the appellant-husband faced cruelty at the
hands of the respondent on several occasions.
is well settled that giving repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to
cruelty. When such a thing is repeated in the form of sign or gesture, no
spouse can live peacefully. In the case on hand, the appellant-husband has
placed adequate materials to show that the respondent-wife used to give
repeated threats to commit suicide and once even tried to commit suicide by jumping
from the terrace. Cruelty postulates a treatment of a spouse with such cruelty as
to create reasonable apprehension in his mind that it would be harmful or
injurious for him to live with the other party. The acts of the respondent-wife
are of such quality or magnitude and consequence as to cause pain, agony and
suffering to the appellant-husband which amounted to cruelty in matrimonial law.
From the pleadings
and evidence, the following instances of cruelty are specifically pleaded and
stated. They are:
repeated threats to commit suicide and even trying to commit suicide on one
occasion by jumping from the terrace.
the appellant from the staircase resulting into fracture of his right forearm.
the appellant and assaulting him.
with the colleagues and relatives of the appellant causing humiliation and embarrassment
attending to household chores and not even making food for the appellant, leaving
him to fend for himself.
taking care of the baby.
the parents of the appellant and misbehaving with them.
the appellant to live separately from his parents.
nuisance to the landlord's family of the appellant, causing the said landlord to
force the appellant to vacate the premises.
fits of insanity, abnormal behaviour causing great mental tension to the
quarreling with the appellant and abusing him.
behaving in an abnormal manner and doing weird acts causing great mental cruelty
to the appellant.
these factual details culled out from the pleadings and evidence of both the parties
clearly show the conduct of the respondent-wife towards the appellant-husband. With
these acceptable facts and details, it cannot be concluded that the
appellant-husband has not made out a case of cruelty at the hands of the respondent-wife.
We are satisfied that the appellant-husband had placed ample evidence on record
that the respondent-wife is suffering from "mental disorder" and due
to her acts and conduct, she caused grave mental cruelty 2to him and it is not possible
for the parties to live with each other, therefore, a decree of divorce
deserves to be granted in favour of the appellant-husband. In addition to the same,
it was also brought to our notice that because of the abovementioned reasons, both
appellant-husband and the respondent-wife are living separately for the last more
than nine years. There is no possibility to unite the chain of marital life
between the appellant-husband and the respondent-wife.
the light of the facts and circumstances as discussed above, in our view, the impugned
order of the High Court resulted in grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant-husband,
more particularly, the High Court failed to consider the relevant material aspects
from the pleadings and the evidence, the ultimate conclusion cannot be sustained.
The appellant-husband established and proved both grounds in terms of Section
13 of the Act. In the result, the appeal stands allowed. The divorce petition filed
by the appellant-husband stands accepted and a decree of divorce is hereby passed
dissolving the marriage of the appellant with the respondent from today, i.e.
30.09.2011. The impugned order of the High Court dated 06.08.2009 in FAO No. M-123
of 2006 is set aside.
is directed to pay an amount of Rs. 2 (Two) lakhs as alimony to the respondent-wife
in two equal instalments within a period of three months from today and to
deposit Rs. 3 (Three) lakhs in the name of his daughter in the shape of three
FDRs in a nearest nationalised bank in three equal instalments commencing from January,
2012 ending with June, 2012. On attaining majority, the daughter is permitted to
withdraw the amount. Till such period, the respondent-wife is permitted to withdraw
accrued interest once in three months directly from the bank from the said
deposit for the benefit and welfare of their daughter.
(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)