Bombay High Court

Wife’s habit of chewing tobacco not ground enough for divorce, says Nagpur bench of Bombay HC

Sushree Mohanty

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court held that the habit of chewing narcotic products like tobacco cannot be considered as a sufficient or reasonable ground to file for a divorce. 

The two-judge bench comprising Justice Atul Chandurkar and Justice Pushpa Ganediwala observed that the husband’s claims are omnibus in nature.

“It’s the specific allegation that since the wife was having a habit of chewing tobacco, he was required to spend a lot of money for her medical treatment.”, the bench said.

The bench additionally noted that there was no substantial evidence that could prove the husband’s contentions alleging cruelty.

Citing the family court’s verdict, the judges held that the husband’s pleadings are not so serious and profound to grant a divorce.

The Court also noted that the divorce might have considerable mental as well as emotional effects on the children of the couple.

If the marriage is dissolved, their son and daughter would suffer a big loss and their welfare will be affected. In the best interest of both children, the marital tie shall remain intact. No case is made out by the husband to disturb the trial court’s well-reasoned findings.”

The quarrels and fights between the couple started to post their marriage on June 15, 2003, and the husband recorded a divorce application plea in family court on the grounds of cruelty being meted out to him by his wife. 

In his plea, he cited the wife’s habit of chewing tobacco or kharra as the primary reason for such an adverse step.

As indicated by him, she was very much addicted to chewing tobacco and subsequently developed a cyst in her stomach for which he had to spend a lot of money for her medications and treatment. 

He likewise asserted that his wife would often get into arguments with him as well as his parents and refused to co-operate or help in household activities. Additionally, she would leave all of the family behind and stay at her own parent’s house without informing them of the same.

The bench further clarified that these charges are not reasonable enough to assert that he is going through intense mental torment, distress, suffering and dissatisfaction and consequently, it is impossible for him to co-habitat with his wife.

“These charges are nothing but normal wear and tear in married life. The couple lived together for around nine years and the husband couldn’t produce specific instances of mental harassment to enable this court to adjudicate the case of mental cruelty in his favour.

The court also accepted the wife’s arguments that she had cared for and helped her husband when he was diagnosed with HIV positive in the year 2008, the court stated that “the instances of physical and mental harassment, as proved by her, are on better footing than him.”

Citing High Court’s earlier decisions, the judges said that the marriage life ought to be considered as a whole and a couple of disconnected occasions over specific periods will not add up to instances that could be claimed as “cruelty”.

The court rejected the man’s petition by stating that “The ill-conduct must be preceded for a fairly lengthy period where the relationship has deteriorated to an extent that because of the acts and behaviour of a spouse, one party finds it extremely difficult to live with another. 

It additionally stated that normal fights between the married couple regarding general matters will not be sufficient to grant a divorcé application.

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