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Refusal to have sex with a life partner during honeymoon does not amount to cruelty, the Bombay High Court has ruled while setting aside a family court judgement dissolving the marriage of a couple on this ground.
The court also ruled that a wife donning shirts and pants to office occasionally and going out of town for office work soon after marriage also would not amount to cruelty towards her husband.
"The married life should be assessed as a whole and a few isolated instances over certain period will not amount to cruelty", observed justices V K Tahilramani and P N Deshmukh in an order early this week.
The ill-conduct must be preceded for a fairly lengthy period where the relationship has deteriorated to an extent that because of the acts and behaviour of a spouse, one party finds it extremely difficult to live any longer with the other party (which) may amount to mental cruelty", the bench said.
Mere trivial irritations, quarrels, normal wear and tear of married life which happens in day to day life in all families would not be adequate for grant of divorce on the ground of cruelty, the judges further said.
"Only sustained unjustified and reprehensible conduct affecting physical and mental health of the other spouse may lead to mental cruelty. There is no evidence to that effect in the present case", the bench noted.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by a 29-year-old wife who was aggrieved by a family court order of December 2012, passing a divorce decree on a plea made by her husband on the grounds of cruelty.
"We have already verified all the allegations made in the petition, written statement as well as the evidence of both the parties. On going through the same, we are satisfied that on the basis of such instances, the marriage cannot be dissolved. In this view of the matter, the appeal is allowed," the judges observed.
After their marriage in 2009, the couple went to Mahableshwar hill station for honeymoon and it was the case of the husband that he tried to consummate the marriage but the wife did not allow him to do so. According to him, this amounted to cruelty.
His counsel, Hemant Ghadigaonkar, argued that failure to comply with one of the essential obligations of the marital life by a spouse, would amount to subjecting the other to cruelty. It is one of the essential and principal obligations