Trivial taunts no reason for divorce, says Delhi High Court

Dealing with the concept of cruelty as a valid ground for the divorce, Justice Kailash Gambhir said since it is of “very wide amplitude”, it has not been put down in a “strait jacket formula” in the Act.

The court pointed out the trial judge has to decide the issue of mental cruelty in a circumspect and conscious manner as it was not easy to establish such conduct.
“Mental cruelty indeed is not as easy to establish as physical cruelty but the impact of the alleged cruel incidents on the mind of the complaining spouse has to be deliberated upon. However an isolated or stray incident, an angry look, a random quarrel, a sugar coated insult or a taunt cannot lead the court to grant a decree of divorce,” the court said.
Justice Gambhir set aside a decree of divorce granted to the husband by the trial court which had taken into account several factors including his plea that his wife taunted by claiming that her life has been ruined by marrying him.

“So far the allegation of the respondent (husband) that the appellant (wife) used to say that her family had ruined her life by marrying her with a clerk and the same constituted as an act of cruelty, this court is of the view that such a circumstance by itself cannot be taken as a grave act on the part of the appellant to entitle the respondent to claim a decree of divorce,” the court said.

It noted the man had failed to produce any evidence or witness in this regard. “The question that needs to be addressed is that whether the cruelty alleged is antithetic to love and affection, the two basic pillars of matrimony and whether it has poisoned and polluted the bond of conjugal kindness to such an extent that marriage itself has become a Damocles’ sword for the parties,” it said.

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