Read Order: Harpinder Kaur v. Gurpreet Singh
Chandigarh, February 22, 2022: While dealing with an appeal filed by the wife against the decision of the Family Court wherein the divorce petition of the husband was allowed, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the Family Court rightly gave a finding to the effect that the act of filing two complaints by the wife against her husband and his family after the wife and husband entered into a compromise to put an end to their marital discord amounted to cruelty as per the judgment of the Supreme Court in K.Srinivas Rao vs. D.A.Deepa (2013), 5 Supreme Court Cases 226.
Apart from the duly proved ground of cruelty, the Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma dismissed the wife’s appeal on the ground that both the parties were living separately for the last 9 years and that their marriage became dead and irretrievable.
In this case, the appellant-wife came up in appeal before the High Court against the judgment and decree of the Additional District Judge whereby the respondent-husband was granted a divorce decree under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 on the ground of cruelty committed by the wife.
The appellant and the respondent got married to each other in 2012, however, owing to marital dispute the wife soon started living separately. The husband’s case essentially was that the appellant-wife had no regard for his family and he alleged that the wife, after shifting to another house with her belongings, sent him suicide threats and objectionable messages. A compromise was effected between them with the interference of the elders and they started living together.
Later, the husband filed a divorce petition, while the wife initiated criminal proceedings under Sections 366, 376, 406, 420, 498-A, 120-B IPC r/w Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, against the husband and his family. In this compliant case, the husband alone was summoned under Sections 406, 498-A IPC and was charge-sheeted. Later on, qua the allegations of kidnapping, raping and cheating, he along with his family was exonerated. The said order had attained finality as no revision was filed by the appellant-wife.
In the divorce proceedings, the wife filed a written statement denying all allegations against her, while taking the plea that she knew the respondent-husband prior to their marriage and from 2004 till October 2013, they lived together as husband and wife. She also alleged that the husband’s family members were cruel towards her and that before her marriage, an FIR under Sections 406, 498-A IPC was registered against the husband and his family. The wife also made a complaint to a bank and to Bank and Director Technical Education against her husband accusing him of cheating and forgery by mortgaging and creating charges over the property where she (wife) lived separately from her husband.
The Trial Court granted a divorce decree while holding that the act of the appellant-wife making a complaint against the respondent-husband before the Bank and Director Technical Education with an ulterior motive came within the meaning of cruelty under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Also, the lower court held that appellant-wife levelled false allegations of kidnapping, raping and cheating not only against the husband but also against his family members which amounted to cruelty by the appellant-wife.
Regarding the complaint to Bank and Director Technical Education, it was argued that it was made to claim property rights of the mortgaged property as it belonged to the wife, but the husband allegedly obtained her sing on a blank paper and mortgaged the property to finance “Group of Universal Colleges” which he stared and of which he was a chairman.
To address this claim, the respondent-husband’s counsel informed the court that the property was released from the mortgage by the Bank.
After perusing the correspondence between the complaint-wife and the bank concerned as also the testimonies of some of the witnesses, the Court opined that it was abundantly clear that there was no cheating, impersonation and forgery committed by the respondent-husband as same was evident by the bank’s reply.
Thus, the High Court, agreeing with the decision of the Family Court, dismissed the appeal.