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Delhi HC Rules That Husband Cohabiting with Another Woman After Prolonged Separation Is Not Cruelty

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Published on: 15 September 2023 at 12:00 IST

The Delhi High Court has determined that a husband living with another woman long after separating from his wife cannot be deemed cruel, especially when there is no possibility of reconciliation.

A division bench comprising Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna emphasized that after years of separation with no prospect of reconciliation, the husband might have found peace and solace in a relationship with another woman. This, the court ruled, should not deprive him of the right to seek a divorce from his wife.

The court’s observation stated, “Even if it is accepted that the respondent-husband has started living with another woman and has two sons during the pendency of the divorce petition, that in itself cannot be termed as cruelty in the peculiar circumstances of this case when the parties have not been cohabiting since 2005. After such long years of separation with no possibility of reconciliation, the respondent husband may have found his peace and comfort by living with another woman, but that is a subsequent event during the pendency of the divorce petition and cannot disentitle the husband from divorce from the wife on the proven grounds of cruelty.”

The court also noted that the consequences of such a relationship would be borne by the respondent-husband, the woman involved, and the children from that union.

The court dismissed a woman’s plea challenging the family court’s decision to grant her husband a divorce on grounds of cruelty under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The court noted that while the wife had alleged harassment for dowry and cruelty, she had failed to substantiate her claims, constituting an act of cruelty in itself.

The court further mentioned that the woman had only raised the issue of her husband’s second marriage and two sons in her appeal. However, the bench emphasized that no specific details or evidence of the alleged second marriage had been presented on record or provided in the complaints to the police.

As a result, the court dismissed the appeal and upheld the trial court’s decision to grant a divorce.

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