The Supreme Court of India in Narendra vs. K.Meena has held that persistent effort of the wife to constrain her husband to be separated from the family constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’ to grant divorce.
The Bench comprising Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice L.Nageswara Rao also held that leveling of absolutely false allegations with regard to extra-marital life and repeated threats to commit suicide would also amount to ‘mental cruelty’. The Supreme Court set aside a High Court judgment which had reversed the Trial court order granting divorce to the husband on ground of cruelty.
Repeated threats to commit suicide
Observing that repeated threats to commit suicide amounts to cruelty, the Court observed: “No husband would ever be comfortable with or tolerate such an act by his wife and if the wife succeeds in committing suicide, then one can imagine how a poor husband would get entangled into the clutches of law, which would virtually ruin his sanity, peace of mind, career and probably his entire life. The mere idea with regard to facing legal consequences would put a husband under tremendous stress. The thought itself is distressing.”
Forcing separation from parents
With regard to allegations of cruelty in wife forcing husband to get separated from his parents, the Bench observed: “In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason; she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her…. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income.”
Wild allegation of extra marital affairs
The Court also observed that to suffer an allegation pertaining to one’s character of having an extra-marital affair is quite torturous for any person – be it a husband or a wife. Restoring the judgment of Trial court and setting aside the High Court judgment, the Bench said: “The behaviour of the wife appears to be terrifying and horrible. One would find it difficult to live with such a person with tranquility and peace of mind. Such torture would adversely affect the life of the husband.”