Cruelty as a Ground for Divorce

In section 13(1) of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act of 1976, “cruelty” was included as a reason for divorce (ia). The term “cruelty” is not defined in the Act, and it was previously not a basis for judicial separation.

Cruelty can take the form of either physical or emotional abuse. Cruelty to one’s body will inevitably result in a criminal record. A specific level of violence, and only that level of violence, is sufficient to establish a legal offence. Cruelty will vary depending on the position of the people involved in each situation. When there is a bodily damage, When there is a reasonable fear of harm to life, limb, or health, either physically or mentally, It is simple to conclude that cruelty has occurred.

Mental cruelty, on the other hand, refers to a series of conditions that, while not involving actual physical violence, can still be considered cruel. It is difficult to determine what amounts to or constitutes cruelty in order to justify it as a basis for action in all cases, and each case must be decided on its own facts and circumstances, taking into account the parties’ behaviour.

In Asha Handa v. Baldev Raj Handa3, it was held that incompatibility of temperament and fault of behaviour are insufficient to prove cruelty; the conduct complained of must be grave, substantial, and beyond the normal wear and tear of married life; intention is irrelevant for cruelty.

In the case of Vimlesh v. Parkash Chand Sharma4, it was held that a single act of cruelty would not be sufficient to warrant a divorce decree; rather, the other party’s behaviour must be persistently and repeatedly cruel to the other spouse, causing a reasonable doubt in the mind of the husband or wife that living with the other party would be harmful or injurious. The word ‘persistently’ implies forcefully or obstinately, while the word’repeatedly’ means to speak or do something over and over again.

In the case of Ashok Kumar v Vijay Lakshmi5, the wife’s allegations that her husband tried to burn her were judged to be false and unsubstantiated, and so amounted to mental cruelty. A threat by the wife to commit suicide would constitute mental cruelty to the husband, but it should not be made in a domestic dispute; Puspa Rani v. Vijay Pal Singh 

succeed only if he proves the act of cruelty on which hi petition is based upon. No
subsequent acts either by way of allegations in the written statement, responsible or not,
baseless or not, can be taken help of in order to show ‘cruelty’ as in A v. H7. The law is settled that the filing of the false complaints to the police and other authorities and initiation of false prosecution amounts to cruelty. It is also settled that the complaints filed to the employer or personal authority which are found to be baseless and scandalous may amounts to cruelty. It has also been established that complaints made to an employer or personal authority that are deemed to be unfounded and scandalous may be considered cruelty.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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