Wife Not Serving Tea To Husband's Relatives Is Normal Wear & Tear Of Married Life, Not A Ground Of Cruelty: Punjab & Haryana HC


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

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

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Punjab & Haryana High Court has made it clear that merely because the wife did not serve tea to the relatives and friends of the husband, or that the she quarreled over petty matters, cannot be constituted as cruelty to form ground for divorce.

These observations were made while dismissing an appeal filed by the husband seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty.

Justice Sudhir Singh and Justice Harsh Bunger said, "Merely because the respondent (wife) did not serve tea to the relatives and friends of appellant-husband or that the respondent-wife used to quarrel with the appellant on petty matters, it cannot be concluded that on such allegations marriage between the parties should be dissolved on the ground of cruelty. Infact, no importance is required to be attached to such general and vague allegations. The allegations raised by the appellant, at the most, constitute normal wear and tear of married life."

The Court was hearing plea of an Army Officer challenging the district court's judgement wherein his plea for divorce on the ground of cruelty by wife, was dismissed. He argued that his wife was in the habit of picking up quarrels over petty matters and she always insulted him in front of his friends and relatives.

While agreeing with trial Court's decision, the bench opined that, "The allegations raised by the appellant, at the most, constitute normal wear and tear of married life."

The Court also examined the husband's contention that his wife had made false and frivolous allegations against him that he was having extra-marital relations with number of ladies and in that regard, she submitted a complaint to General Officer Commanding, whereupon the court of enquiry was instituted against the husband.

He contended that he was subjected to humiliation and harassment in the presence of officers and colleagues, therefore, the image and career of the appellant was spoiled, which amounted to cruelty.

The Court noted that, "the trial Court upon consideration of the evidence on record, observed that the appellant-husband admitted in his cross-examination that in photograph... he is with (a woman), wherein the appellant was in objectionable poses with her."

It further noted that the Trial Court observed that no Hindu wife can tolerate another lady in the arms of her husband and it held "that the appellant is not sincere towards his wife."

The Trial Court also observed that there are number of letters available on record which can safely be termed as love letters which shows that the appellant was more interested in outsiders than his own life.

If One Spouse Has Justification For Allegations It Is Duty Of Other Partner To Ask Them To Mend Their Ways

The division bench observed that It is well established that the allegation of one spouse against the other regarding illicit sexual relationship with a third party should be 'unfounded' in order to become a 'matrimonial offence of cruelty' to warrant divorce.

"However, if one of the spouses has justification for allegations, it is his or her duty to point it to the other spouse or ask him to mend his or her ways, in the interest of matrimonial amity. The aggrieved spouse will be justified in seeking help of those who have their goodwill in mind or who are in Authority," the Court added.

The Court noted "that there is sufficient material on record, especially the photographs and also the contents of the diary, which is admitted by appellant to be in his handwriting, that appellant was leading an unethical life."

Consequently, the Court opined that the wife was justified in submitting a complaint to General Officer Commanding against the misdemeanor of the husband regarding his immoral leanings towards another woman and resultant conduct of the husband in ignoring his wife.

"It has been found as a fact that the appellant's conduct was not up to the mark. Therefore, granting him a decree of divorce in this situation would be allowing the appellant to take advantage of his own wrongs, which would be contrary to the basic principle as embodied in Section 23(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955," it added.

In the light of the above, the Court held that there is no no merit in the appeal and dismissed the plea.

Case Title: XXXX v. XXXX (2024 P&H HC)