L. Nanda Vs. Smt. Veena Nanda  INSC 376 (11 December 1987)
G.L. (J) OZA, G.L. (J) MISRA RANGNATH CITATION: 1988 AIR 407 1988 SCR (2) 348
1988 SCC Supl. 112 JT 1987 (4) 619 1987 SCALE (2)1246
for divorce by husband on grounds of cruelty and desertion by wife.
The appellant and the respondent, husband and wife, were married under the
Hindu Customs in February, 1961.
and disharmony between the two ensued from the very beginning after the
marriage. The parties by and large lived together till February, 1971, and
separately ever since thereafter except for a short period in 1975. The
respondent-wife, as alleged by the appellant, did not like to live in the joint
family and always created ugly scenes by quarrels, etc. The appellant was
forced to live separately from the joint family, but even then, according to
him, the conduct of the wife continued to be the same bad. The appellant
alleged that he suffered a nervous breakdown because of her behaviour and had to
be hospitalised. He, therefore, filed a petition for a decree of divorce on the
grounds of cruelty and desertion. The trial Court granted the divorce. On
appeal by the respondent, the High Court reversed the decision of the trial
Court and dismissed the petition for divorce. A Letters Patent Appeal by the
appellant was dismissed by the High Court. The appellant appealed to this Court
for relief by special leave.
the appeal, the Court, ^
It could not be held that the respondent was behaving with the appellant in a
manner which could be termed as cruelty, which entitled the appellant to get a
decree of divorce. Sometimes, the temperament of the parties may not be
conducive to each other, resulting in petty quarrels, but it could not be held
on the basis of any material that the ailment of the appellant was the direct
result of the respondent's conduct. The High Court was right in coming to the
conclusion that there was no material to prove that the respondent treated the
appellant with such a cruelty as would entitle the appellant to a decree of
divorce. The judgment of the High Court maintained. [350G-H; 351A-B]
Appellate Jurisdiction: Civil Appeal No. 3946 of 1987.
From the Judgment and Order dated 22.7.1983 of the High Court of Delhi in
L.P.A. No. 141 of 1982 (M).
Misra for the Appellant. Krishan Kumar and Vimal Dave for the Respondent.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by OZA, J. Leave granted.
appeal arises out of SLP(Civil) No. 14149/83 filed by the petitioner husband
against the judgment of High Court of Delhi in Letters Patent Appeal No. 141/82
decided on 22.7.83. The present appellant husband filed a petition in the trial
court for decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion. The trial
court granted the decree of divorce but on appeal by the respondent wife
learned Single Judge of High Court of Delhi reversed the decision and dismissed
the petition filed by the appellant husband. It is against this that a Letters
Patent Appeal under clause 10 of the Letters Patent was filed before the High
Court wherein it was heard by a Division Bench of the High Court and the appeal
filed by the appellant was dismissed. It is against this that the present
special leave petition was filed.
the circumstances of the case and the age of the parties we issued notice and
also directed the parties to appear before us in chambers and in spite of our
best efforts it is unfortunate that no reconciliation was possible.
is one of those unfortunate cases where the husband and wife are of mature age
not only that but they have a grown-up son who is maturing into a lawyer as he
is studying in law and unfortunately even these circumstances were not able to
bring about an amicable settlement in the matter.
parties to these proceedings were married at Delhi in accordance with the Hindu
customs on February 7, 1961. It seems that there was disagreement and
disharmony from the very beginning. A male child, however, was born out of this
wedlock on August 30, 1964. The parties by and large lived together till
February 1971. They have lived separately ever since except for a short
duration in the middle of 1975 when they were together. The main allegation of
the appellant was that from the very beginning the respondent wife did not like
to 350 live in the joint family and she used to behave in a peculiar manner A
always created ugly scenes, indulged in quarrels and taunting and ultimately
forced the appellant to shift to a government allotted quarter and live separately
away from other members of the family but according to him even then her
behaviour continued to be the same and it was also alleged that because of her
behaviour ultimately the appellant suffered a nervous break down and had to be
admitted in the Willingdon Hospital New Delhi for about 45 days.
Division Bench of the High Court came to the conclusion that from perusal of
all the facts alleged it appears that there may have been a few incidents prior
to the birth of the child on August 30, 1964 but after that there was no such
incident pleaded or proved till 1966 except for the allegation that the wife
got the pregnancy terminated sometime in 1966 against the wishes of the
appellant and on this basis the learned Judges of the Division Bench came to
the conclusion that the early part before August 1964 probably was a period of
inexperience and lack of adjustment between the husband and wife but ultimately
after the birth of the son in 1964 there appears to be nothing serious and in
this view of the matter the learned Judges came to the conclusion that between
1963 and 1968 there appears to be no incident or problem which really deserves
consideration. A small matter about her describing herself Mrs. Veena Vohra
instead of Mrs. Veena Nanda the learned Judges have considered and have
accepted the explanation of the wife as plausible. The learned Judges of the
Division Bench have considered all the circumstances and have also referred to
the correspondence and the letters wherein regrets have been expressed in some
matters by the respondent. Considering all these facts, the Division Bench came
to the conclusion that although it is unfortunate that they have not been
keeping good relations but it could not be said to be a case of cruelty
entitling the appellant to a decree for divorce.
heard learned counsel for the parties and also having heard the parties
themselves we come to the same conclusion as was reached by the learned Judges
of the Division Bench of the High Court while disposing of the appeal filed by
the appellant against the judgment of the learned Single Judge. It is no doubt
an unfortunate state of affairs but it could not be held that the respondent
was behaving with the appellant in a manner which could be termed as cruelty
which would entitle the appellant to a decree for divorce. Sometimes the
temperament of the parties may not be conducive to each other which may result
in petty quarrels and troubles although it was contended by the appellant that
he had to suffer various ailments on account of this kind 351 of behaviour
meted out to him by the wife but it could not be held on A the basis of any
material that ailment of the appellant was the direct result of her
(respondent's) conduct. The Division Bench therefore was right in coming to the
conclusion that there is no material to come to the conclusion that the
respondent treated the appellant with such cruelty as would entitle him to a
decree for divorce.
view of the facts and circumstances, therefore, the appeal is devoid of merit.
It is therefore dismissed. The judgment of the High Court of Delhi is
maintained. In the circumstances of the case respondent shall be entitled to
costs of this appeal. The counsel's fee is quantified at Rs.3,000.