Published on: 29 September 2023 at 12:27 IST
The Chhattisgarh High Court has ruled that a wife’s insistence on residing with her husband at the location of his work assignment does not constitute cruelty as defined by the Hindu Marriage Act [Ravishankar Shrivas vs Sarita Sen].
A division bench comprising Justices Goutam Bhaduri and Deepak Kumar Tiwari emphasized the importance of mutual respect, regard, and companionship in matrimonial relationships.
The court stated that if a wife wishes to live with her husband at his workplace location, and there is no valid external reason or official impediment, the husband’s refusal cannot be considered cruelty on her part.
Consequently, the court dismissed the appeal filed by a husband who had contested the Family Court’s decision from June 28, 2019. The Family Court in Janjgir had rejected the husband’s plea for divorce on the grounds of cruelty.
The couple in question had tied the knot on May 19, 2005, and initially enjoyed a harmonious marital life. However, the relationship gradually soured, with the husband alleging that his wife demanded separate living arrangements apart from her in-laws. He claimed that her insistence often led to conflicts.
Moreover, the husband stated that in June 2009, his wife left their matrimonial home of her own accord and only returned in December 2009. She subsequently departed again without any apparent reason.
The husband contended that after the demise of his mother in 2012 and father in 2015, he had urged his wife to return to their matrimonial home, but she refused.
On the contrary, the wife argued that their marital bliss had lasted for just five years after their wedding. She asserted that when she requested her husband to accompany her to his workplace and allow her to reside with him there, he declined. According to her, since 2010, he had started neglecting her, prompting her to leave their matrimonial residence.
After considering these arguments, the bench observed that it was the husband who had refused to let his wife stay with him at his workplace, without providing any reason in his petition or deposition for his reluctance.
In light of the husband’s conduct and his failure to make any efforts to reconcile or file an application for the restitution of conjugal rights, the bench concluded that the mere assertion in the complaint that the wife had been residing separately since December 2009 without a valid reason could not be substantiated.
As a result, the appeal was dismissed, and the husband was directed to pay interim maintenance of ₹15,000 to his wife.