Wife Turning Children Against Father Is Parental Alienation, Amounts To Grave Mental Cruelty: Delhi High Court


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Delhi High Court has observed that the act of a wife in trying to turn the children against the father is a clear case of “parental alienation”, which amounts to “grave mental cruelty.” Observing that a person may be a bad husband but that does not lead to the necessary conclusion of he being a bad father, a division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said: “Howsoever abysmal the differences maybe between the spouses, but in no realm can the act of the aggrieved spouse of igniting animosity and hostility in the minor child in an attempt to use the child as a weapon to get even with their spouse, could be justifiable.

It added: “Such vindictiveness aimed to erode a father-daughter relationship is not only an act of extreme cruelty to the father but also gross inhumanity to the child.”

The bench made the observations while granting divorce to a husband on the ground of cruelty by the wife under Section 13 (i) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The couple got married in 1998 and two daughters were born from their wedlock. The husband filed the appeal challenging a family court order dismissing his petition seeking divorce from her on the grounds of cruelty.

The wife alleged that the husband was in an adulterous relationship with a woman and that she along with her younger daughter went to the rented accommodation and even called the police.

Allowing his plea, the bench observed that was unfortunate that despite the wife being educated, she was unable to manage her sentiments and emotions when it came to her husband and made adulterous allegations against him and went to the extent of taking the phone number and photographs of the lady.

However, significantly nothing has found its way to the present proceedings and no cogent evidence of the same has surfaced, the bench said.

It added that differences between two adults may arise due to myriad reasons, some may be temperamental or factual, but the irrationality of the wife's conduct was brought forth by her conduct of involving an eight-year-old child in their disputes.

“The petitioner and the respondent may not have been able to generate mutual affection, respect and understanding due to their differences, but it does not justify the act of the respondent in embroiling their minor daughter in their fights. Taking a small daughter along with her with a specific design to the house of the appellant and then to make allegations of adultery and call the Police, is an act of ruining the psyche of a child and turning her against her father,” the court said.

It further observed that it was a clear case of parental alienation where the wife had not even spared her children and involved them in her differences with the husband.

“Such conduct of making unsubstantiated allegations of adultery coupled with involving their child in the inter se disputes between the parties, can be termed as nothing but an extreme act of cruelty,” the court ruled.

The bench also said that the wife's acts reflected her non-reconciliatory attitude and also established that she had withdrawn from the husband's company and abandoned her matrimonial relationship for no justifiable reason.

“We thus, conclude that the evidence on record proved that there is no chance of reconciliation between the parties and such long separation peppered which false allegations, Police reports and criminal complaints and further aggravated by parental alienation, can only be termed as acts of mental cruelty,” it said.

Title: X v. Y

Citation: 2024 Delhi HC