“The acts of the wife are of such quality as to cause pain, agony and suffering to the spouse”
Repeated threats of suicide from a wife to her husband will amount to cruelty and be a ground for divorce, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan said: “When such a threat is repeated in the form of sign or gesture, no spouse can live peacefully. Cruelty postulates a treatment of a spouse with such cruelty as to create [a] reasonable apprehension in his mind that it would be harmful or injurious for him to live with the other party.”
Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Sathasivam said that in this case “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: giving repeated threats to commit suicide and even trying to commit suicide on one occasion by jumping from the terrace; pushing the appellant from the staircase resulting in a fracture of his right forearm; slapping the appellant and assaulting him; misbehaving with the colleagues and relatives of the appellant causing humiliation and embarrassment to him; not attending to household chores and not even making food for the appellant, leaving him to fend for himself; not taking care of the baby; insulting the parents of the appellant and misbehaving with them; forcing the appellant to live separately from his parents; repeated fits of insanity and abnormal behaviour causing great mental tension to the appellant; always quarrelling with the appellant and abusing him; always behaving in an abnormal manner and doing weird acts causing a great mental cruelty to the appellant.”
Pankaj Mahajan was married to Dimple, alias Kajal, in October 2010. He alleged that after the marriage, the wife was acting very abnormally, getting very aggressive, hostile and suspicious. In a fit of anger, she used to give threats that she would commit suicide and involve him and his family members in a criminal case, unless she was provided with a separate residence. Even after they started living separately, the threats continued.
On an application from him, the trial court granted him divorce.
However, on appeal from his wife, the Punjab and Haryana High Court set aside the order. His appeal is directed against that order.
Allowing the appeal, the Bench said the appellant had placed adequate materials to show that his wife used to give repeated threats to commit suicide and even tried to commit suicide once.
“Both the 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 them.” Therefore, granting them divorce, the Bench directed the appellant to pay Rs. 2 lakh in alimony to his wife and deposit Rs. 3 lakh in the name of his daughter.