Wife cannot be forced to live in matrimonial home while husband keeps another lady: Himachal Pradesh High Court

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No wife can be forced to live in the matrimonial home when the husband is keeping another lady with him, the Himachal Pradesh High Court recently observed while rejecting a man’s claim that his wife had deserted him. [Nain Sukh v Seema Devi]
Justice Satyen Vaidya, therefore, dismissed a husband’s plea for divorce on allegations of desertion and cruelty.

“Respondent (wife) had justifiable ground to live separately as no wife can be forced to live in matrimonial home with husband keeping another lady with him,” the Court said.

The Court was dealing with an appeal challenging a family court order, whereby the husband’s plea for a divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act had been dismissed.

While challenging the family court order, the husband claimed that he had sufficiently proved that his wife had deserted him.

The High Court, however, found that the husband’s allegations of cruelty were vague and general in nature. No specific instance of cruelty was mentioned or pleaded, the Court noted.

Rather, the husband had simply claimed that the wife’s attitude towards him and his family was hostile and that she kept picking quarrels before she finally left the matrimonial home.

The Court proceeded to highlight that the Hindu Marriage and Divorce (Himachal Pradesh) Rules, 1982 specifically require the allegations of cruelty to be specified in the petition with sufficient particularity with time and place of the Act alleged and other facts relied upon.

The Court noted that the only thing which could be said to be proved on record is the fact that wife had been residing separately from her husband since 1995.

Even so, the Court found that the issue of desertion was framed wrongly and the “pleading of necessary jurisdictional facts for the ground of desertion were clearly missing in the petition.”

Pertinently, Court found that the wife had provided justifiable reasons for living apart.

In order to justify her decision to live separately, the wife had told the family court that her husband had married another lady. Two sons were also born out of this relationship, the wife claimed.

The High Court noted that the husband had not sufficiently countered these allegations. Further, the wife had produced witnesses before the family court, who supported her allegation that her husband had married another lady.

From this viewpoint as well, the claim of desertion was not substantiated, the Court found.

Hence, the divorce plea by the husband was dismissed and the family court’s order upheld.

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