Cruelty

Cruelty is most often sought as a ground for dissolution of marriage. Hindu Marriage Act does not define the term “cruelty”. What conduct would amount to cruelty is a matter of fact and is to be decided on various considerations of each particular case. Bhagwati Vs Laxmandas Panjawani (2000) (1) M.P.L.J.

Cruelty is generally described as conduct of such a nature as to have caused danger to life, limb or health (bodily and mental) or to give rise to reasonable apprehension of such danger. Cruelty may be physical, mental, emotional or financial. Some of the examples of mental cruelty are as under:-

a. Refusal to have sexual intercourse without reasonable cause.
b. Indifference towards other spouse.
c. Leveling baseless charges of adultery or impotency.
d. Making complaints, accusations or taunts.
e. Persistent dowry demand etc.

It is to be borne in mind that the conduct of a spouse is not as important as its impact on the other spouse. Mental cruelty is a state of mind or feeling with one of the spouses due to the behavior or behavioral pattern by the other and unlike physical cruelty, mental cruelty is difficult to be established by direct evidence. Victor Sebastain Vs Thorulatha, 2006 (4) R.C.R.

Where the wife leveled false allegation that her husband is impotent in the form of abuses and later on the allegation is found to be false, such allegation would amount to cruelty against the husband. Vandana Gupta Vs Rajesh Gupta, 2009 (2) M.P.L.J.

For passing a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty, the acts complained of should be grave and weighty so as to come to the conclusion that the husband can not reasonably be expected to live with the wife. Asok Mitra Vs S.K.Mitra, 2008 (63) A.I.C.