HC: Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy language leading to constant disturbance of the mental peace of the other party

By | May 5, 2022

The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in the case of Sunil Kumar Sharma vs Preeti Sharma consisting of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh while dismissing an appeal due to irretrievable breakdown of marriage on ground of mental cruelty reiterated that mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy language leading to constant disturbance of mental peace of the other party.

Facts

The marriage between the appellant and the respondent was solemnized as per the Hindu rites and ceremonies. The parties cohabited as husband and wife, and two daughters were born out of the wedlock. Soon after the marriage, the relationship between the couple turned sour. A divorce petition was preferred by the respondent on grounds of continuous acts of cruelty inflicted by the appellant upon the respondent. The Family Court allowed the divorce petition against the appellant by the impugned judgment. The appellant in the present appeal alleges that the Family Court has erred in striking out the defence of the appellant, and not allowing the appellant to lead his defence evidence and granted divorce by relying on the allegations of the respondent, which are contrary to submissions on record.

Contentions Made

Appellant: The respondent harassed the appellant mentally and physically, and, in fact, appellant helped the respondent overcome her family’s debt, and always took care of all the expenditures, and has been a doting father. The allegations of the respondent are only aimed to remove the appellant from the family. The Family Court did not allow the appellant to lead his evidence and decided the petition without giving him any opportunity to defend his case. Serious injustice has been caused to him by not allowing him to submit his evidentiary affidavit and striking off his defence. The Family Court granted divorce on false allegation raised by the respondent, solely relying on the submissions of the respondent. The allegations of cruelty levelled against him by the respondent could not have been established from the pleadings or evidence on record.

Respondent: The appellant failed to file his evidentiary affidavit within the time granted by this court. Later, his defence was also struck off by the Family Court for repeated non-compliance of orders. In the aforesaid background, the appellant’s written statement was perused by the Family Court before pronouncing the judgment.

Observations of the Court

The Bench observed that O8R1A (1) CPC mandates the defendant to file the documents in his possession at the time of filing the written statement. In case the defendant fails to file such documents at the time of presenting the written statement, then the same shall not be allowed to be received in evidence on behalf of the defendant, unless with the leave of the court.

Relying on certain judgments, it was observed by the Bench that the Family Court was right in striking off the defence of the appellant qua non-payment of the maintenance, after number of opportunities were given by various Courts.

Judgment

The appellant did not disclose any reason, or point out any contradictions in the respondent’s testimony, which could create a reasonable doubt in the Bench’s mind to disbelieve the testimony of the respondent. The respondent proved her ground that the appellant is earning handsomely, and deliberately did not provide for the family and is now avoiding paying the maintenance. The appellant had put the entire burden on the respondent to manage the house, her job, and to look after the children. He did not take any responsibility and, on the other hand, continuously abused the respondent, insulted her and her family members. He even disrespected her father and doubted the respondent’s character. He demanded money to give divorce to the respondent. He failed to discharge his duties as a husband – and especially as a father. The bond between the parties had irretrievably broken down and the respondent was subjected to repeated harassment at the hands of the appellant, making it impossible to reconcile their differences. So, the present appeal was dismissed.