Comparing one’s wife with other women and continuously taunting her for not being the ideal wife of his dreams, is considered to be mental cruelty by the husband. A woman should not be expected to tolerate such behavior, says the ruling of Kerala High Court.
This ruling comes while dismissing a man’s appeal against a family court order dissolving his marriage after 13 years of separation.
The family court had dissolved the couple’s marriage because of non-consummation. But, a bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and CS Sudha said that the marriage stands dissolved on account of mental cruelty by the husband as given under the Divorce Act of 1869.
The bench said, “The constant and repeated taunts of the respondent/husband that the petitioner is not a wife of his expectations and the comparisons with other women etc. would certainly be mental cruelty which a wife cannot be expected to put up with.”
The final verdict was given after taking into consideration the pleadings, testimony of the wife and her mother and an email which was supposedly sent by the husband from the wife’s personal email id to her official mail id in which he described his expectations of a life partner and gave her instructions on how to behave in the relationship.
The bench commented that the pleadings in the case “make out a case of studied neglect and indifference on the part of the respondent (husband) towards the petitioner (wife)”.
“The allegations also make out a case that the respondent did not engage in coitus with the petitioner as he did not find her physically attractive,” it further added.
The bench also observed that the marriage was solemnized in January 2009 and the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed in November of the same year.
Moreover, the evidence says that the couple were hardly together for a month or so, after which they separated and from the facts and circumstances of the case, the couple did not seem eager on consummating the marriage.
The bench said – “Both the parties were quite young when their marriage was solemnized, the petitioner was 26 years old and the respondent 29 years old. Still, no intimacy or emotional bond seemed to have developed between the parties in accordance to the marriage.
The matrimonial bond between parties is beyond repair, and the marriage is only in name. The marriage is damaged beyond the hope of salvage, public interest of all concerned lies in the recognition of the fact and to declare defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto,”
It further said that to keep up this marriage would be “conducive to immorality and potentially more prejudicial to the public interest than a dissolution of the marriage bond”.
With all the above observations, the high court dismissed the man’s plea and went ahead with the family court dissolving the marriage, just changing the grounds from non-consummation to cruelty.