The Delhi High Court has observed that it is the duty of the husband's family to make a new bride feel at home and has held that her conduct of trying to remain in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work cannot be described as cruelty.
"As such conduct of the wife of being interested in remaining in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work can by no stretch of imagination be described as cruel behaviour and that too upon the husband," held a Division Bench of the high court presided by Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon.
The court said that a new bride would be hesitant in her new surroundings and it is always for the husband's family to make the new bride feel at home and accepted as a family member.
The bench passed the observations while dismissing an appeal filed by one Vishal Singh who had approached the high court against the order of the trial court which had dismissed his appeal for dissolution of marriage with Priya under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Vishal and Priya got married in 2012 and though the marriage was duly consummated, no child was born to the parties. The husband has alleged that since the beginning of the marriage, the attitude of the wife was not positive as she declined to consummate the marriage or attend the marriage ceremonies till some time had passed.
The husband further contended that in 2013, Priya left his home with all her jewellery and valuables with her brother and brother-in-law and almost after a week, asked him over the phone to read the letter she had left under the mattress which contained shocking disclosures.
She also informed him that she would not return back and preferred to live her life with her lover, as both were planning to get their marriage registered. However, she was brought back to her husband's place by her brother but the Appellant did not allow them to enter the house and the Respondent went back to her paternal house.
After this, the woman kept apologizing for her conduct by calling the Appellant up on her phone, at the same time, she claimed to be happy in the company of the brother of her brother-in-law and only after all this, the man filed the appeal before the trial court, Vishal submitted.
While considering the said appeal, the High Court noted that the most serious allegation leveled by the man against Priya was her adulterous life.
The bench, however, observed that no case of adultery and cruelty has been made out against the woman. "Moreover, adultery could have been committed only after the marriage between the appellant/husband and the wife had been solemnized and the allegation of adultery on the ground that before the marriage of the parties, the respondents had stayed together, is completely meaningless," the bench held.
While on the grounds of cruelty, the husband alleged that the woman was "rude" and "cruel" immediately after the marriage, picked up quarrels with every family member on trivial matters, refused to have any physical relations with him immediately after the marriage and some more.
Responding to these grounds of cruelty, the bench said, "To our mind, none of these acts, if at all were committed by the wife, could tantamount to 'cruel' conduct."
"A new bride would be hesitant in her new surroundings in the matrimonial home. It is always for the husband's family to make the new bride feel at home and accepted as a family member," the bench stated.
With regard to the allegation of refusing to have any physical relations immediately after the marriage, the court observed, "the husband himself admits that the marriage had been consummated and except for this one occasion, there were no repeated instances cited of refusal on the part of the wife to have any sexual interaction with the husband. Therefore, this ground too is not available to the appellant/husband to claim 'cruelty'."
Regarding the allegation of the husband that Priya lodged a false case against him and his family under sections of dowry, attempt to murder and various other sections of the law, the court held that prima facie, the FIR cannot be held to be a false, frivolous or a vague one, as the trial is still going on. It is not as if any court of law has come to a conclusion that the FIR so lodged by the respondent No.1/wife was a false one.
"It is thus clear that the learned Family Court had arrived at the right conclusion including observing that the accusations of adultery heaped by the appellant on the wife are without any proof whatsoever of the respondents living in adultery and having an illicit relationship either before or post the marriage of the parties and that the wife had treated the husband with any cruelty," it said.
"In other words, whatever "misconduct" that the appellant/husband had noticed and alleged, as delineated here in above, stood condoned by him, leaving no scope for him to have filed the petition before the court for dissolution of marriage between the parties either on the grounds of cruelty or adultery," the bench added.
"In view of the discussion, there is no merit in the present appeal which is, accordingly, dismissed," the bench concluded.