Allahabad High Court dismisses IPS officer’s wife’s appeal against divorce

The Allahabad High Court has his spouse ruling that making false complaints against and levelling wild claims against in-laws amounts to mental cruelty while dismissing a petition.

The Division Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV passed this order while hearing an appeal filed by Gayatri Mohapatra.

The facts of the case are that the defendant–appellant/wife married with the plaintiff–respondent/husband on 10.06.1990 as per Hindu rites and rituals.

The plaintiff–respondent is an IPS officer while the defendant–appellant holds an MBBS degree. The father of the plaintiff–respondent was in service of the Steel Authority of India, Raurkela while father of the defendant–appellant was Additional Director General of Police, Orissa and her mother has promoted a company known as JBS Capacitors Pvt Ltd, Bhubaneshwar.

Initially, the defendant–appellant joined the service in the Health Department, Aligarh, but after three or four months she left it. She then became a director in her mother’s company. Aparajita Issan Narayan was born on 05.06.1991 from the wedlock of the plaintiff and the defendant at SCB Medical College, Cuttack.

It appears that disputes between the plaintiff and the defendant arose even before their son was born which led to various incidents. Ultimately the plaintiff-respondent filed a case under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in the Court of Principal Judge Family Court, Meerut, for divorce.

The defendant–appellant filed a written statement in which she denied allegations. The plaintiff-respondent filed examination-in-chief. In his examination-in-chief, he affirmed the plaint version. He produced himself in evidence for cross–examination and was cross-examined by the defendant–appellant. The plaintiff–respondent also produced in evidence Golak Bihari Panda, who is his father.

The plaintiff–respondent also filed an additional affidavit in evidence in which he further narrated certain facts to support mental cruelty by the defendant–appellant.

In evidence, copies of First Information Report dated 27.03.2005 lodged by the defendant–appellant and various other evidence were also filed by the plaintiff – respondent. However, despite specific allegations of mental cruelty on various grounds including lodging of the false First Information Report against the plaintiff–respondent and his family members, the evidence led in this regard by him could not be disproved by the defendant–appellant. Despite specific allegations of lodging false FIRS, the defendant–appellant/wife has decided not to lead even her oral evidence.

Considering the facts and evidence on record, the Principal Judge Family Court, Meerut decreed the suit by judgment dated 16.12.2006 dissolving the marriage.

Aggrieved with the aforesaid judgment and decree, the defendant–appellant has filed the appeal.

Submissions of the counsel for the defendant-appellant:-

(i) The plaintiff-respondent has not taken any ground of cruelty in the plaintiff. Therefore, the impugned judgment and decree granted by the Court below on the ground of cruelty and dissolving the marriage, is illegal.

(ii) The averments made in para no 15 of the plaint does not amount to cruelty.

(iii) The impugned order for dissolving the marriage under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has been passed without affording opportunity of hearing to the defendant-appellant.

(iv) The application 20-Ga for summoning several police officers and staff in evidence was illegally rejected by the Court by order dated 11.11.2006.

(v) Not adding the sur-name “Panda” by the defendant-appellant, with her name or with the name of her son, does not amount to cruelty.

Submissions of the counsel for the plaintiff-respondent:-

(i) The cruelty has been well proved by the plaintiff-respondent and findings recorded in this regard in the impugned judgment are based on consideration of relevant evidence on record.

(ii) The plaintiff-respondent and the defendant-appellant are undisputedly living separately since 1999 and thus, more than 23 years have passed and they are not ready to live together. Therefore, in any view of the matter, the parties cannot be directed to live together. There is irretrievable breakdown and the tie of marriage cannot be restored. The decree of divorce itself was passed on 16.12.2006 and thus, about 16 years have already passed from the date of decree of divorce.

The Court noted that,

The facts of the case and the submissions of the counsels for the parties as noted above clearly shows that the grounds for divorce taken by the plaintiff–respondent was mainly “mental cruelty”. The parties have also led their evidence in this regard. It has been admitted by the counsel for the defendant–appellant that the plaintiff–respondents led the oral evidence of witnesses and were cross examined at length by the defendant–appellant but the defendant–appellant has not led any oral evidence. She has also not even filed copies of the order/judgments of the trial court in criminal cases lodged by her against the plaintiff–respondent and his family members. The plaintiff–respondent has led evidence to prove that the FIR lodged by the defendant–appellant were based on false allegations. The defendant–appellant has not led any evidence to disprove it or to prove that the FIR lodged by her was not based on false allegation. She has not even led her oral evidence.

The Court found that the plaintiff–respondent has proved mental cruelty by the defendant–appellant, before the Court below. Instances of making false complaints by the defendant-appellant against the plaintiff–respondent to higher authorities, making wild claims against the parents of the plaintiff–respondent, unproved allegation of indulgence of the plaintiff in adultery and damaging their reputation in the society, etc. leaves no manner of doubt that the court below has not committed anyity in the impugned judgment to hold commission of mental cruelty by the defendant–appellant to the plaintiff–respondent. The impugned judgment of the court below is based on consideration of evidence on record. Thus, the impugned judgment does not suffer from any illegality.

“For all the reasons aforestated, we do not find any merit in this appeal. The impugned judgment of the court below does not suffer from any illegality,” the court observed while dismissing the appeal.