February 18: A division bench of the Bombay High Court has refused to grant divorce to a man who had complained about his wife’s habit of chewing tobacco.

Passing the order, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, said the habit of chewing tobacco “alone is not sufficient to grant a decree of divorce”.

The court was hearing a case where a man had filed an appeal against a local family court’s order on his plea seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty by his wife, India Today reported.

The couple got married on June 15, 2003 in Nagpur and later had a son and a daughter.

However, owing to differences, they lived separately. The daughter lived with the husband while the son stayed with the wife.

The husband had sought divorce on grounds of cruelty.

In his petition, he argued that his wife “was not doing any household work properly”. He accused her of quarrelling with him and his family members “without any reason”.

The petition stated that since the wife wanted to live separately from her husband’s family, a house in another part of Nagpur was purchased.

The man argued that his wife “did not mend her ways”, used to visit her parental home without his permission and would stay there for 15-30 days.

Apart from this, the man alleged that his wife used to do household work at midnight and “did not prepare tiffin boxes at the proper time”.

He also claimed that his wife left his home in January 2012 and despite him sending a notice to her, she neither replied to it nor did she return. After this, the husband said, he sought divorce.

Contradicting her husband’s charges, the woman told the court that it was her husband and his mother who had been treating her in a cruel manner.

She said it was because of this torture that she decided to leave the house. The woman also showed records of police complaints that she had filed against them to support her case.

The matter was first heard by a local family court in Nagpur and in 2015, the court dismissed the husband’s plea seeking divorce.

He then filed an appeal in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

During the hearing of the appeal, the high court bench ruled that the evidence provided by the husband to support his case show that the allegations in regards to cruelty are nothing but the “normal wear and tear in married life”.

“The allegations that the wife was not doing household work, was quarrelling with his family members without any reason, visiting her parental home without his permission, not preparing his tiffin etc. are not sufficient to form any opinion that the husband is undergoing acute mental pain, agony, suffering, disappointment and frustration, and therefore it is not possible for him to live in the company of the wife,” the court ruled.

The court said all allegations levelled by the husband are “general and omnibus in nature”.

It said the major allegation amongst them is with regard to his wife’s habit of chewing tobacco.

The court said this “alone is not sufficient to grant a decree of divorce”.

On the contrary, the court said the husband has admitted that in 2008, he was detected with HIV positive, and his wife stayed with him till 2010.

“The instances of physical and mental harassment, as pleaded and proved by the wife, is on better footing than the husband,” the court ruled.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/wife-s-tobacco-chewing-habit-not-a-sufficient-ground-for-divorce-bombay-high-court-1770572-2021-02-18

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