A Single Judge Bench of Justice GS Ahluwalia of Madhya Pradesh High Court recently made the observation that compelling a married woman to reside in her parents’ home is cruelty.
The observation came from the Court in the hearing of a criminal revision petition which challenged the order of the Family Court that directed the husband to pay Rs.7,000/- per month to his wife under section 125 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The respondents’ wife had filed an application for maintenance on the ground that her husband beat her and he and his family harassed her for dowry.
The wife stated that she was ousted from her matrimonial home and as a result started living at her parents’ house. She had been residing there for about 7 months before filing the application.
In the meantime, the wife said that neither her husband nor his family had made any endeavours to bring her back.
The husband on the other hand contended that his wife had only lived at the matrimonial home for about 4 days and that she had never permitted him to consummate their marriage and also questioned his potency.
Further, the husband submitted that they were acquitted for the offence laid down in section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and that he was treated disrespectfully when he had gone to retrieve his wife back.
The High Court made the following observations after hearing both sides:
“Under these circumstances, this Court of the considered opinion that after having levelled serious allegations against her and her parents and having failed to prove the same, it cannot be said that the respondent is residing separately without any reasonable reason.”
“Thus, it is also clear that the applicant (husband) has deserted the respondent (wife) and he cannot take advantage of his own wrong. Further, compelling a married woman to live in her parental home is also a cruelty. Accordingly, it is held that it cannot be said that the respondent is residing separately without any reasonable reason.”
Consequently, the High Court dismissed the petition and upheld the order passed by the Family Court.