Tag Archives: husband

Hindu Marriage – Status of Wife

Hindu Marriage is a sacred and holy union of husband and wife by virtue of which the wife is completely transplanted in the household of her husband and takes a new birth. It is a combination of bone to bone and flesh to flesh. To a Hindu wife her husband is God and her life becomes one of the selfless service and profound dedication to her husband. She not only shares the life and love, but the joys and sorrows, the troubles and tribulation of her husband and becomes an integral part of her husband’s life and activities. Colebrooke in his book Digest of Hindu Law, Vol.II, described the status of wife thus:
“A wife is considered as half the body of her husband, equally sharing the fruit of pure and impure acts: whether she ascends the pile after him or survives for the benefit of her husband, she is a faithful wife.”
Further Colebrooke in his book Digest of Hindu Law, Vol. II quoted the Mahabharata at page 121 thus:
“Where females are honoured, there the deities are pleased; but where they are unhonoured there all religious acts become fruitless.” Anuradha Samir Vennangot v. Mohandas Samir Vennangot, (2015) 16 SCC 596.

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Filed under Matrimonial Relationship, Status of Wife

Matrimonial Dispute – Terms “Cruelty” and “Mental Cruelty”

The word “cruelty” has not been defined in the Hindu Marriage Act. The word appears to have been used in the section in context of human behavior in relation to or in respect of matrimonial obligations or duties. Cruelty can be termed as behavior or conduct of one spouse which adversely affects the other. Thus broadly speaking “cruelty” as a ground for the purpose of divorce under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act can be taken as a behavior of one spouse towards the other which causes reasonable apprehension in his or her mind that it is not safe to continue the matrimonial relationship. Cruelty can be physical or mental or even intentional or unintentional. The mental cruelty is difficult to establish by direct evidence. It is a matter of inference to be drawn from facts and circumstances of the case. A feeling of anguish and frustration in one spouse caused by the conduct of other can be appreciated on the assessment of facts and circumstances in which the two have been living. The inference has to be drawn from overall facts and circumstances considered cumulatively.
Mental cruelty and its effect cannot be stated with arithmetical accuracy. It varies from individual to individual, from society to society and also depends on the status of the persons. What would be mental cruelty in the life of two individuals belonging to a particular stratum of the society may not amount to mental cruelty in respect of another couple belonging to a different stratum of society. The agonized feeling or for that matter a sense of disappointment can take place by certain acts causing a grievous dent at the mental level. The inference has to be drawn from the attending circumstances. Puja Suri v. Bijoy Suri, 2016 (119) ALR 140.

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Cruelty by Wife – Seeking Separation of Husband from his parents

In this case the wife wanted the husband to get separated from his family. The evidence shows that the family was virtually maintained by the income of the husband. It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from the parents upon getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meager income. In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining majority, the son gets separated from the family. 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.
In a Hindu society, it is a pious obligation of the son to maintain the parents. 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. 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. The persistent effort of the wife to constrain the husband to be separated from the family would be torturous for him and the trial court was right in concluding that this constitutes an act of cruelty. Narendra v. K. Meena, (2016) 9 SCC 455.

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Grant of Maintenance – Principles of

It can never be forgotten that the inherent and fundamental principle behind Section 125 CrPC is for amelioration of the financial state of affairs as well as mental agony and anguish that a woman suffers when she is compelled to leave her matrimonial home. The statute commands that there have to be some acceptable arrangements so that she can sustain herself. The principle of sustenance gets more heightened when the children are with her. Be it clarified that sustenance does not mean and can never allow to mean a mere survival. A woman, who is constrained to leave the matrimonial home, should not be allowed to feel that she has fallen from grace and move hither and thither arranging for sustenance. As per law, she is entitled to lead a life in the similar manner as she would have lived in the house of her husband. And that is where the status and strata of the husband comes into play and that is where the legal obligation of the husband becomes a prominent one. As long as the wife is held entitled to grant of maintenance within the parameters of Section 125 CrPC, it has to be adequate so that she can live with dignity as she would have lived in her matrimonial home. She cannot be compelled to become a destitute or a beggar. There can be no shadow of doubt that an order under Section 125 CrPC can be passed if a person despite having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain the wife. Sometimes, a plea is advanced by the husband that he does not have the means to pay, or he does not have a job or his business is not doing well. These are only bald excuses and, in fact, they have no acceptability in law. If the husband is healthy, able bodied and is in a position to support himself, he is under the legal obligation to support his wife, for wife’s right to receive maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, unless disqualified, is an absolute right. Shamma Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, (2015) 5 SCC 705.

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Matrimonial Dispute – Interim Orders

As has been held in Arathi Bandi v. Bandi Jagadrashaka Rao, (2013) 15 SCC 790, a violation of interim or an interlocutory order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction ought to be viewed strictly if the rule of law is to be maintained. No litigant can be permitted to defy or decline adherence to an interim or an interlocutory order of a court merely because he or she is of the opinion that that order is incorrect, that has to be judged by a superior court or by another court having jurisdiction to do so. It is in this context that the observations of the Court in Sarita Sharma v. Sushil Sharma, (2000) 3 SCC 14 and Ruchi Majoo v. Sanjeev Majoo, (2011) 6 SCC 479 have to be appreciated. If a general principle, the violation of an interim or an interlocutory order is not viewed seriously, it will have widespread deleterious effects on the authority of courts to implement their interim or interlocutory orders or compel their adherence. It is common knowledge that in cases of matrimonial differences in our country, quite often more than one family court has jurisdiction over the subject matter in issue. In such a situation, can a litigant say that he or she will obey the interim or interlocutory order of a Family court and not that of another? Similarly, can one Family Court hold that an interim or an interlocutory order of another Family Court on the same subject matter may be ignored in the best interests and welfare of the child?. An interim or an interlocutory order is precisely what is, interim or interlocutory, and is always subject to modification or vacation by the court that passes that interim or interlocutory order. There is no finality attached to an interim or an interlocutory order. Surya Vadanan v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2015) 5 SCC 450.

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Dowry Death – Summoning of Distant Relatives

In Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, it was observed:
“A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in-laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.”
The court has, thus, to be careful in summoning distant relatives without there being specific material. Only the husband, his parents or at best close family members may be expected to demand dowry or to harass the wife but not distant relations, unless there is tangible material to support allegations made against such distant relations. Mere naming of distant relations is not enough to summon them in absence of any specific role and material to support such role. Kailash Chandra Agrawal v. State of U.P., 2015 (88) ACC 602.

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Alienation of Affection

Alienation of affection by a stranger, if proved, is an intentional tort i.e. interference in the marital relationship with intent to alienate one spouse from the other. Alienation of affection is known as “Heart Balm” action. Anglo-Saxon common law on alienation of affection has not much roots in the country, the law is still in its nascent stage. Anglo-Saxon based action against the third parties involving tortious interference with the marital relationship was mainly compensatory in nature which was earlier available to the husband, but, of late, a wife could also lay such a claim complaining of alienation of affection. The object is to preserve marital harmony by deterring wrongful interference, thereby to save the institution of marriage. Both the spouses have a valuable interest in the married relationship, including its intimacy, companionship, support, duties, affection, welfare of children, etc.
Action for alienation lies for all improper intrusions or assaults on the marriage relationship by another, whether or not associated with “extramarital sex”, his or her continued overtures or sexual liaisons can be construed as something akin to an assumption of risk that his/her conduct will injure the marriage and give rise to an action. But all the same, a person is not liable for alienation of affection for merely becoming a passive object of affection. The liability arises only if there is any active participation, initiation or encouragement on the part of the defendant. Act which lead to loss of affection must be wrongful, intentional, calculated to entice the affection of one spouse away from the other, in order to support a cause of action for alienation of affection. For proving a claim for alienation of affection it is not necessary for a party to prove an adulterous relationship. Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal v. State of Gujarat, (2013) 10 SCC 48.

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