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Karnataka High Court Decides Calling Husband Dark-Skinned Constitutes Cruelty

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Published on: 08 August 2023 at 22:11 IST

The Karnataka High Court has determined that a wife’s act of humiliating her husband by referring to his dark skin complexion amounts to cruelty within the context of marriage.

The court also noted that the wife’s decision to distance herself from her husband’s company and to falsely accuse him of engaging in illicit relationships as a smokescreen would also be considered cruel.

The judgment was rendered by a bench composed of Justice Alok Aradhe and Anant Ramanath Hegde, who granted a husband’s request for divorce.

The court’s analysis revealed that the wife consistently demeaned her husband based on his skin color and had subsequently moved away from him without a valid reason. Moreover, she had fabricated allegations of extramarital affairs against him to conceal her actions.

The court stated, “Upon close examination of the evidence presented, it is evident that the wife used the husband’s dark complexion as a basis for insults, leading her to distance herself from him. To camouflage this situation, she falsely accused him of engaging in illicit relationships. These circumstances undoubtedly constitute cruelty.”

The case originated from an appeal filed by the husband to contest the decision of a family court in Bengaluru, which had rejected his plea for marriage dissolution under Section 13(i)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The husband’s divorce petition, submitted in 2012, cited consistent derogatory treatment from his wife based on his skin tone.

The wife countered the allegations by asserting that her husband had been involved in an extramarital affair. She also claimed to have endured physical abuse and unsatisfactory treatment from his family members.

The High Court, however, found no substantial evidence to support the wife’s claims of her husband’s illicit relationship. It deemed these allegations baseless and unsupported by credible proof.

The court emphasized that the family court had disregarded the adverse impact of the groundless accusations on the husband’s character. It took into account the wife’s pursuit of multiple legal actions against the husband and his family, alongside the extended lack of communication between the spouses over several years.

The bench observed, “Despite expressing willingness to be with her husband, the wife has refused to withdraw any of the complaints filed against him and his family members. This clearly illustrates the wife’s unwillingness to reconcile, highlighting a significant rift between the couple.”

Consequently, the court concluded that the husband’s claims of cruelty were valid and well-founded. As a result, it granted the husband’s request for divorce, effectively dissolving their marriage.

Advocate Janardhana G represented the husband, while Advocate D Bhuvaneshwari represented the wife during the proceedings.