Wife not having cooking skills to prepare food for husband does not amount to cruelty: Kerala High Court

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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday held that a wife not preparing food for her husband due to a lack of cooking skills cannot be termed as cruelty for the purpose of dissolving a marriage.

A Bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and Sophy Thomas made the observation while dismissing a petition filed by a man seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty.

One of his allegations against his wife was that she was not ready to cook for him since she didn’t know how to cook.

The Court, however, held,

“Another ground of cruelty urged by the appellant is that the respondent did not know cooking and so she did not prepare food for him. That also cannot be termed as cruelty sufficient enough to dissolve a legal marriage.”

The parties were married on May 7, 2012 and were living as husband and wife in Abu Dhabi.

The husband contended that the wife insulted and ill-treated him in the presence of his relatives. He added that she never respected him and kept a distance from him. He also claimed that she spat on him once, although she apologised later.

He further contended that she sent a complaint to the employer of the company where he was working, making defamatory statements against him in order to terminate his employment.

He said that she was not ready to cook food for him and even quarreled with his mother for silly reasons.

The wife opposed all the allegations and contended that her husband had sexual perversions and even body-shamed her.

She said that her husband has mental health problems and had discontinued the medicines prescribed to him.

On the husband’s allegation that she contacted his employer, she explained that she was seeking the employer’s help to patch things up with her husband as she intended to continue her matrimonial life with him.

The High Court noted that the wife expressed her anxiety about the behavioral changes seen in her husband and was seeking the assistance of his employer to find out what was wrong with him, in order to bring him back to normal life.

It added that there was no evidence to prove the allegation that she spat on her husband.

On the ground that the marriage was ‘dead practically and emotionally,’ and that the parties had been living separately for ten years, the Court said,

“So legally, one party cannot unilaterally decide to walk out of a marriage, when sufficient grounds are not there justifying a divorce…saying that due to non-co-habitation for a considerable long period, their marriage is dead practically and emotionally. No one can be permitted to take an incentive out of his own faulty actions or inactions.”

Therefore, the High Court dismissed the husband’s petition to dissolve the marriage.

The husband was represented by Advocates Santhosh P Poduval, R Rajitha and Vinaya V Nair.

The wife was represented by Advocate VM Krishnakumar.

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