Minor differences between husband and wife not cruelty; should not expect overnight change in behaviour of spouse: Madhya Pradesh High Court

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently quashed a divorce order against a woman on the ground that minor difference of opinion between the husband and wife cannot be termed cruelty [Sarita Sharma vs Gourav Sharma].

A division bench of Justices Vivek Rusia and Amar Nath (Kesharwani) said that the husband could have given the wife a second chance since an overnight change in the behaviour of the spouse cannot be expected.

The Court noted that the marriage between the couple was an arranged one, performed after several meetings between family members of each other, community, and relatives.

“The husband agreed to the marriage, therefore, without any reason, the husband cannot be permitted to spoil the wife’s life for no fault on her part. The minor differences cannot be termed as cruelty between husband and wife. There should be no expectation of overnight change in the husband and wife. Time should be given by both of them to each other to transpose as a wife and as a husband in married life,” the bench held.

The Court was hearing a plea filed by a wife challenging the decision of a Family Court which had allowed the husband’s divorce petition against her on the ground that she subjected him to cruelty.

The husband alleged that the wife, whom he met on a matrimonial site, had given a wrong date of birth and educational qualification on the portal. He claimed that the wife was an egoistic woman and that she was suffering from smelly sweat, which was a serious disease; yet she wasn’t ready to undergo treatment for the same.

He claimed that the wife in her profile had claimed that she could ride a two-wheeler but even after marriage, she hadn’t learnt how to ride it. He further alleged that the wife didn’t want to look after his old parents and often threatened to implicate his family members in criminal cases.

The wife on the other hand expressed her desire to live with her husband.

The bench, however, noted that the husband could not prove most of his contentions based on which he had argued that his wife subjected him to mental cruelty.

It noted that the marriage took place on May 31, 2010 and the husband deserted her on October 25, 2010 i.e. within less than six months.

“The husband has not made any efforts to bring her back. All these alleged episodes took place within one year of marriage and the husband has decided to take divorce from the wife. He did not give second chance to her. Even today she is ready to go with him from the court but he has refused straightway which shows that he has deserted the wife on the basis of a few instances which are normal between newly wedded couples,” the bench noted.

The Court further said that the law does not permit the husband to spoil the life of an innocent lady by divorcing her on grounds other than those enumerated in Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Regarding educational qualification of the wife, the bench noted that the husband didn’t convince the wife to pursue further studies after marriage, especially when he himself had completed graduation post the marriage.

Therefore, the bench allowed the petition filed by the wife and quashed the decree of divorce ordered against her by the Family Court.

The bench also issued a directive to the husband to pay ₹8,000 per month towards interim maintenance of wife till the date of compliance with the decree of restitution of conjugal right.

Advocate Satish Tomar appeared for the Wife.

Senior Advocate Avinash Sirpurkar and advocate Harshad Wadnekar represented the Husband.

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