Filing of multiple complaints by spouse ground for divorce: SC

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(This story originally appeared in on Feb 27, 2021)

The Supreme Court on Friday said that filing of multiple complaints by an educated person against their life-partner amounts to mental cruelty as it affects the reputation and career of a person and divorce can be granted on that ground.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy said such behaviour on the part of spouse cannot be termed as “normal wear and tear” of married life, particularly when the person is educated and well aware of the adverse consequences of filing complaint.

It allowed divorce plea of an army officer whose wife had filed multiple complaints against him before various authorities, including the Army chief. The officer contended that his wife had made several defamatory complaints to his superiors in the Army for which a court of inquiry was held against him.

He said that similar complaints were also filed before other authorities, including the State Commission for Women. His wife, however, contended that she filed complaints out of her desperation to save the matrimonial relationship.

The Bench, after hearing both sides, said her action undermined the dignity and reputation of the officer and the wronged party cannot be expected to continue with the matrimonial relationship and there is justification for him to seek separation.

“Here the allegations are levelled by a highly-educated spouse and they do have the propensity to irreparably damage the character and reputation of the appellant. When the reputation of the spouse is sullied amongst his colleagues, his superiors and the society at large, it would be difficult to expect condonation of such conduct by the affected party,” the bench said. The apex court quashed the Uttarakhand HC order which had set aside the divorce granted by a family court.

The HC had termed the conduct of the parties as “squabbles of ordinary middle class married life” and had passed the order in favour of the wife.

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