Husband Objecting To Wife Supporting Her Parents Financially Amounts To Cruelty: Madhya Pradesh High Court


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

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

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that if the husband objects to his wife's act of financially supporting her parents, the same would amount to cruelty.

A bench of Justice Rohit Arya and Justice Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar also added that making complaints to the employers of the wife as to how they had kept her at a job without his (husband's) permission, constitutes treating the wife as a “slave”, stripping her of her own identity, thus constituting cruelty.

These observations were made by the division bench while DISMISSING an appeal filed by the husband under section 19 of the Family Courts Act challenging a judgment of the Family Court whereby the court had allowed the wife's petition under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and a decree of divorce had been granted.

The case in brief

The marriage of the appellant (husband) and respondent (wife) was solemnized in April 2002 as per Hindu rites and rituals, however, they are presently living separately without cohabitation for the last 15 years since February 2009.

8 years after the marriage, the wife, a doctor by profession, made a petition under section 13 of the HM Act before the Family Court alleging that her husband had no source of earnings and his sole intention of marriage was to lead a luxurious life on her income.

She also alleged that after their marriage, her husband took her to his house in Sagar and demanded that she cut ties with her parents. He controlled her finances and forbade her from seeking employment outside the home.

She alleged that her husband used to interfere in her professional work making various complaints to her employers as to how they had kept her at job without his permission.

On the other hand, it was the case of the husband that he was always willing to reconcile with his wife, but she refused due to her stubbornness, and due to the interference and instances of her mother and brother, her wife was not willing to resume nuptial ties.

He also claimed that the parents of the respondent/wife had avarice for her earnings and that is the sole reason that they were not inclined to settle the matter amicably.

High Court's observations

Examining the facts of the case as well as the judgment of the family court, the Court noted that the family court rightly found that the husband's complaints to his wife's employers, asserting that she should not have been employed without his consent, constituted cruelty.

The Court also found that the appellant/husband could not provide any cogent evidence as to his regular income to do away with the allegations that he was only dependent on the income of his wife. Further, the Court discarded the argument of the husband that owing to the greed of her parents, the nuptial ties have been severed, as it noted that the Trial Court had rightly found that being a daughter, the respondent/wife was always free to financially support her parents and if there was any objection in this behalf of the appellant/husband, the same amounted to cruelty.

The Court also took into account the fact that more than 15 years have passed by since both of them have been living separately and the efforts made by the HC for amicable settlement at the instance of the appellant/husband also resulted in vain.

Given this, holding that the marriage is indeed irretrievably broken, the Court the judgment of the family court wherein it was concluded that the cohabitation of the respondent with the appellant had become impossible due to constant ill-treatment resulting in mental and physical cruelty to the respondent.

Considering overall circumstances reflected by evidence on record, the trial Court committed no error in granting the decree for divorce under section 13(1)(ia) of the Act, the HC held as it dismissed husband's appeal.

Case title - Pawan Kumar vs. Dr. Babita Jain (2024 MP HC)