Citations: Shobha Rani Vs Madhukar Reddi, 1988 AIR 121

Date of Judgement: 12/11/1987

Equivalent citation: 1988 AIR 121, 1988 SCR (1)1010

Case No.: Civil Appeal No. 3013 of 1987

Case Type: CivilAppeal

Appellant: Shobha Rani

Respondent: Madhukar Reddi

Bench: Hon’ble Justice K.J. Shetty

Court: Supreme Court of India

Statutes Referred:

  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; Section 13(1)
  • Dowry Prohibition Act 1961; Section 10, 23  
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 498A

Cases Referred:

  • Sheldon Vs Sheldon, [1966] All E.R. 257 (259)
  • Gollins Vs Gollins, [1963] All. E.R. 966 (1972)
  • Narayan Ganesh Dastane Vs  Sucheta Narayan  Dastane [1975] 3 SCR 967


  • The Wife is post-graduate in organic sciences, and the husband is a clinical specialist.
  • They both were happily married on 19/12/1982, but soon after the quarrels started.
  • They began exchanging letters with severe sentiments.
  • Then, they also started to criticize one another.
  • At one phase, they considered ending up by common agreement.
  • It was maybe out of disgust. it would have been something more, on the off chance that it had occurred.
  • Eventually, they found themselves in the Court.
  • The wife went to the Court looking for disintegration of her marriage, and She made few complaints.

Issue Involved:

  • Whether the wife should be allowed to grant decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty?

Contention of Appellant:

The Counsel of the Petitioner Contended that:

  • The one complaint which was concerned is her irritable about the share interest by the husband.
  • The endowment is a profound established evil in the general public. It has now begun as standard presents with adoration and warmth.
  •  In former times, it was seen that, it was standard to give a few presents to the lady and husband and his family at the hour of marriage, but now we can say that if husband or any of his family member demands for anything such as money, car etc it will be counted as dowry as per dowry prohibition act.
  • The Husband and his relatives began requesting money or kind from the wife, that comes under dowry, and soon after that it was seen that it is an issue of right.
  • The Petitioner in its evidence also stated that, “My Mother-in-law always used to make demand for money from my parents. I used to tell my parents about what was happening to me in that house. I used to keep silent when my mother-in-law made demands for money.” The respondent also sometimes used to make demands for money.
  • The wife said that she used to tell him as to why should I ask money from my parents, and she also used to tell him that I would not ask my parents. But he used to reply that such things were only there in olden times and not now and that therefore, I should ask money from my parents.
  • There were fixed deposits receipts in my name in the Bank up to one and a half to two lakhs.
  • Besides this there was house plot in my name at Jubilee Hills. Ans she was afraid of telling this to her husband and parents in law as I would not ask my parents for money.
  • In her arguments, she also stated that, she was even afraid to go back again to the respondent’s house because she felt that the pestering for money will go on like this.
  • Therefore, she developed aversion for going back to the respondent. For that reason, only, she joined as a schoolteacher.
  • Counsel said, it would be also better if we less depend upon precedents. Because as Lord Denning said in Sheldon Vs Sheldon “The categories of cruelty are not closed.” Each case may be different. 
  • The Court has only to understand the spouses concerned as nature made them and consider their particular grievance. As Lord Reid observed in Gollins Vs Gollins “In matrimonial affairs we are not dealing with objective standards, it is not a matrimonial offence to fall below the standard of the reasonable man (or the reasonable woman). We are dealing with this man or this woman.”

Contention of Respondent:

The Counsel of the Respondent Contended that:

  • The respondent in the interrogation, was attempting to admit not many focuses.
  • Respondent expressed that; it is obvious from the disposition of the candidate that she is inclined to misrepresent things. That is apparent from her protest of food and the propensity for drinking.
  • Either due to her over affectability or as a result of her propensity for misrepresentation, she has made a pile of mole-slope.
  • Further, for the reasons most popular to her, the solicitor has not analysed her father.
  • There is no clarification why he has not been inspected on the side of her dispute that the respondent and his folks were hassling her for cash.


The Appeal was Allowed and the marriage was disintegrated.

It was seen that the court was contented with the facts of the case and it was stated that the case does justify an inference that there was demand for dowry. The demand for dowry is prohibited under law, and it therefore amounts to cruelty entitling.

The Hon’ble Court conceded a pronouncement for disintegration of the marriage and the appeal was allowed hence decree for grant of dissolution of marriage was allowed.

It was also stated that cruelty, which may be physical, mental, intentional or may be unintentional than also it must be understood that in the ordinary term in matrimonial offence.

Rationale Decidendi:

  • Lord Evershed remarked in one of the referred cases that there is no requirement to prove the ill-will of one party to harm the other in order to prove cruelty.
  • The inquiry in all such cases is, to my brain, regardless of whether the demonstrations or direct of the gathering charged were “remorseless” as per the conventional feeling of that word, as opposed to whether the gathering charged was oneself a pitiless man or lady.

Obiter Dicta:

  • Court has comprehended that, the ideal couple or a near-ideal one will probably have no occasion to go to a matrimonial court, for, even if they may not be able to drown their differences, their ideal attitudes may help them overlook or gloss over mutual faults and failures.


We can’t lament the way that share was requested, and in our law, it is obviously referenced that the interest of settlement is restricted, As The endowment is a profound established evil in the general public, in request to control this detestable practice, the Parliament authorized the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (Act No. 28 of 1961). The Act disallowed the giving or taking of share, so to dispose of this training, the court choice would be exceptionally useful, we can finish up by saying that new measurement has been given to the idea of brutality.

While Clarifying to Section  498A of the Indian Penal Code it states that any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is probably going to drive a lady to end it all or liable to make grave injury or peril life, appendage or wellbeing (regardless of whether mental or physical of the lady), and provocation of the lady with the end goal of forcing her or any individual identified with her to fulfil any unlawful need for any property or significant security would comprise mercilessness.

Drafted By: Bharti Verma, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: October 8, 2021 at 10:39 IST

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