Not inviting husband to son’s naming ceremony amounts to cruelty: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled that a wife not inviting her husband to the naming ceremony of their son amounts to mental cruelty on the husband.

A Bench of Justices S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Dipak Misra ruled earlier this week that “mental cruelty and its effect cannot be stated with arithmetical exactitude... what would be mental cruelty in the life of two individuals belonging to a particular strata of society may not amount to mental cruelty in respect of another couple belonging to a different stratum of society... The inference has to be drawn from the attending circumstances.”

Criminal complaint

In the present case, Dr. Malathi Ravi and Dr. B.V. Ravi of Bangalore had a male child. Soon afterwards, Dr. Ravi applied for divorce alleging that his wife had deserted him. The family court rejected the application and Dr. Malathi joined her husband. However, within two months she filed a criminal complaint alleging harassment for dowry against her husband and other family members.

Even as he got bail, he filed an appeal against the lower court’s order. The Karnataka High Court allowed the appeal and granted him divorce. The present appeal by Dr. Malathi was directed against this judgment.

Accepting the arguments of counsel Balaji Srinivasan, appearing for Dr. Ravi, the Bench said: “We are disposed to think that the husband has reasons to feel he has been humiliated. His relatives have been dragged into the matrimonial controversy…, his parents and he are ignored in the naming ceremony of the son, and he comes to learn from others that his wife had gone to Gulbarga for her studies.”

“The launching of criminal prosecution against him can be perceived from the spectrum of conduct... it can be inferred that the husband has been treated with mental cruelty.” Dr. Ravi, being an Associate Professor in a Government Medical College, has certainly suffered ignominy, the Bench said.

While affirming the High Court order, the Bench directed Dr. Ravi to pay his wife Rs. 25 lakh towards maintenance and the education of their son.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 3:22:42 PM |

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