Patna HC held False Extramarital Allegations as Mental Cruelty

LI Network

Published on: December 26, 2023 at 13:28 IST

The Patna High Court has pronounced that baseless accusations of adultery and coercive prostitution by a spouse constitute not only mental cruelty but also result in harassment and character assassination, affecting an individual’s public image.

The ruling, delivered by the division bench of False Extramarital Allegations emphasized the detrimental impact of such false allegations on the targeted individual’s reputation in society.

The Court asserted that the act of leveling false accusations by one spouse against the other, alleging illicit relations, amounts to mental cruelty.

In this specific case, the respondent-wife had made allegations before the appellant’s employer and in domestic violence complaints, including accusations of soliciting prostitution and involvement in adultery and fornication.

The Court noted that the respondent admitted these allegations were instigated by her advocate and were not true.

Furthermore, the Court acknowledged social torture as a form of mental cruelty, emphasizing that filing false cases of domestic violence and admitting to false allegations constitute unacceptable behavior.

The bench stated that such cruelty could make it impossible for spouses to live together, leading to an irretrievably broken marriage.

The ruling came in response to a Miscellaneous Appeal arising from a Matrimonial (Divorce) Case, where the appellant’s petition for divorce was initially declined by the Principal Judge, Family Court, Vaishali at Hajipur.

The case involved marital discord arising from the appellant’s insistence on the respondent’s presence in their matrimonial home in Bihar.

Detailing the factual background, the appellant and respondent entered matrimony in 2012, residing together until 2015 when familial obligations necessitated the woman’s relocation to her in-laws’ native place. Domestic issues escalated, leading to legal proceedings initiated by the woman, including false accusations of matrimonial torture and coercion into prostitution.

The Court criticized the respondent’s approach, noting that she could have pursued alternative remedies such as Panchayat intervention or filing for the restitution of conjugal rights instead of immediately initiating criminal proceedings.

The Court highlighted that privacy and personal choices are integral to human dignity, and tarnishing an individual’s character in society constitutes cruelty.

While acknowledging the respondent’s experiences, the court ruled that the appellant had also been a victim of cruelty due to false accusations, character assassination, and harassment in the workplace.

The Court allowed the appeal, granting a decree of divorce on the grounds of cruelty, and directed the appellant to provide an interim alimony amount to the respondent.

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