Wife not be forced to live with spouse keeping another concubine: High Court

Himachal Pradesh High allowed the dissolution of the marriage of a respondent stating that the wife could not be forced to live with the husband keeping a concubine with him.

On Wednesday, a bench comprising Justice Satyen Vaidya dismissed a petition filed by a husband against his wife alleging cruelty and desertion in opposition dissolution of marriage plea.

Pronouncing the verdict in the matter high court has observed that no wife could be forced to live in a matrimonial home with her husband keeping another lady with him. 

Court further held that the respondent had justifiable ground to live separately. Court was deciding instant matter the appellant-husband and respondent-wife had been living separately since 1995. The Appellant filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in the Trial Court.

The Wife assailed the impugned judgment and decree on the ground that it resulted in my – appreciation of the evidence. The appellant argued that she had proved the issue with regard to the cruelty of his wife by overwhelming evidence.

Petitioner contended before the court that the respondent had deserted him without there being any cause and despite efforts had not returned back. 

After perusing the contents of the petition Justice Vaidya noted that no specific instance constituting cruelty had been pleaded except making an averment that the attitude of the respondent towards their husband and his family members was hostile from the beginning of married life.

Terming the petition non-complaint of prescribed rule, Court stated that Hindu Marriage and Divorce ( Himachal Pradesh ) Rules 1982 require the allegations of cruelty to be specified in the petition with the particularity of time and place.

Considering the ground of cruelty raised by the Appellant (husband), Court relied on the authority of  Dr. NG Dastane Vs. Mrs. S. Dastane [ ( 1975 ) case  

The above case states that the onus of proof is on the person who alleges cruelty and the standard of proof is that of preponderance of probabilities hence merely stating that the wife had a quarrelsome attitude is not enough to discharge the standard of proof. ” 

Not only the husband had failed to plead and prove the acts of cruelty on the part of the respondent, the defense of the respondent justifying her conduct to live separately stood probabilist”, the bench observed.

 The Bench noted that stating in general terms during cross-examination that the wife had quarrelsome nature and even after several pleadings she did not return to the matrimonial home, is not enough cruelty on her part.

Moreover, it was noted that one of the villagers had deposed and verified that the husband had married another lady. This statement remained unchallenged. 

The Court concluded that even if desertion had been cited as a reason for divorce, the Respondent had sufficient justification for living apart from her spouse. 

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