Cruelty has not been universally defined till now. It depends upon the circumstances of the cases and the country and time. It is an important ground for judicial separation and divorce. If any party to marriage behaves with cruelty to the other party, then the other party can present an application for divorce against the first party on this ground.
Russel vs. Russel (1897 A.C 305):
Cruelty has been described as such characteristic behavior or conduct which may put life and body under physical or mental from of danger or may arise apprehension of such danger.
It has been held by the supreme court in the case of A. Jaya Chandra vs. Anil Kaur AIR 2005 SC 534 that the expression ‘cruelty’ has been used in relation to human conduct or human behavior. To constitute cruelty the conduct that is complained against should be grave and weighty for arriving at conclusion that the petitioner cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse.
If this definition is understood in matrimonial context, it shall show that any party to marriage may behave with other party in such manner that it shall be difficult for other party to live with him, this shall be cruelty.
Vinod Biswal vs. Tikli Urf Biswal AIR 2002, NOC 206 Orissa
Husband alone with parents used to regularly beat the wife. Father – in – law physically misconduct with her. Husband never bring back wife nor made any attempt toward it. Court held that this behavior of husband to be cruelty, because such circumstances arose that it became difficult for wife to, live with the husband.
Naveen Kholi vs. Neelu Kholi AIR 2006 SC 1675
It has been observed by the Supreme Court that the conduct complained of should be grave and weighty. It should not be ordinary wear and tear of marriage life. It should be such that no reasonable person should tolerate it.
Amitav Dass vs. Smt. Mousmi Dass AIR 2012 Kolkata 63
Wife generally used to threating husband for suicide. A false petition under section 498(a) of IPC was filed by wife against husband. Falsely, alleged for dowry. Wife wished that the services of husband may get terminated. Falsely alleged for misbehavior of mother – in – law. It was held that cruelty by Kolkata high court and declared the husband entitled for decree of divorce.
Vinita Saxena vs. Pankaj Pandit AIR 2006 SC 1662
Husband was suffering from mental illness by which he was unable to sexual intercourse with wife. Supreme court has observed it as cruelty and a good ground for divorce.
Cruelty may be of two types:
2. Mental cruelty
Saptmi vs. Jagdish AIR 1969, Kolkata 37
The husband used to have abusive language towards his wife, used to beat her, disrespect her, defame her and at one time pushed her into a wall. Court held it to be cruelty by husband.
A.S vs. S.N.S AIR 2016 Delhi 43,
The husband was being alleged by the wife that the husband is a corrupt officer and womanizes. The court while taking it as a cruelty considered the base for divorce.
In this case it has also been stated that where the wife continued to ready for coition at the desire of husband there it cannot be said that the wife continued to deny for coition.
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