Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — section 13 — petition filed under — for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty and desertion — dismissal of appellant’s petition — in challenge — the fact not disputed that even prior to the present marriage the appellant had married one ‘Shanta’ from whom he has a son and this fact was never revealed by the appellant to the respondent or to her parents prior to the solemnisation of the present marriage or thereafter — the divorce petition filed by the appellant against his first wife as well as the divorce petition filed by the appellant against the respondent are almost identical in their content which clearly showed the modus operandi of the appellant — the fresh matrimonial advertisement published by the appellant clearly reveals his intention to remarry for the third time even before getting divorce from his second wife, thus, the High Court rightly held that the appellant played fraud with the respondent — the appellant was trying to take advantage of his own wrong, the Courts disallowed the relief as was sought for — appeal dismissED

Page 1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.3861 OF 2013
(arising out of SLP(C)No.20277 of 2007) 
ASHOK KUMAR JAIN       …. APPELLANT
VERSUS
SUMATI JAIN     ….RESPONDENT
J U D G M E N T
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.
Leave granted.
2. The   appellant   has   preferred   this   appeal   against
the   judgment   dated   9th  March,   2007   passed   by   the
Rajasthan   High   Court   at   Jaipur   in   DB   Civil
Miscellaneous   Appeal   No.   332   of   1998   whereby   the
Division Bench upheld the judgment dated 13th February,
1998   passed   by   the   Judge,   Family   Court,   Jaipur
dismissing the appellant’s petition under Section 13 of
the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to
as “the Act” for short).  
3. The facts of the case are as follows:
The appellant  and  respondent  are married  to each
other.   The   appellant   preferred   a   petition   for
dissolution   of   marriage   under   Section   13   of   the   Act
1Page 2
before the Judge, Family Court, Jaipur and brought on
record the following facts:
The   appellant   and   the   respondent   were   married
according   to   Hindu   rites   on   30th  October,   1990   at
Jaipur.   For the first few days the respondent stayed
at   her   matrimonial   home   and   behaved   well   with  family
members   of   the   appellant.     However,   upon   her   return
from   her   parental   house,   after   a   few   days   of   the
marriage,   her   behaviour   suddenly   changed.   Appellant
claimed   to   be   the   only   son   of   the   family   having   two
small   sisters   and   old   father   to   look   after.     The
aforesaid fact was known to the respondent even prior
to   her   marriage   when   appellant   informed   the
respondent’s family that since there is no one to look
after   his   aged   father,   his   wife   would   have   to   look
after   him.       But,   upon   her   return   from   her   parental
place, the respondent started abusing her father­in­law
by calling his name and by neglecting his welfare.  She
also   pressurized   the   appellant   to   abandon   his   father
and   shift   to   another   house.     Since   the   appellant
refused   to   succumb   to   her   pressure,   her   behaviour
became   more   and   more   cruel   towards   the   appellant   and
his family members.   Thereafter, without any rhyme or
reason on 30th  March, 1991 in the absence of appellant
2Page 3
and   his   father,   the   respondent   packed   up   her   bags,
collected her jewellery and left the matrimonial home.
Since that date, she has refused to come back to the
matrimonial home.   On 5th December, 1991 she gave birth
to a son, but the appellant was never informed either
by   the   respondent   or   by   his   in­laws.       When   the
appellant came to know about the birth of son, he went
to   see   his   wife   at   the   Hospital,   but   he   found   her
missing.     Thereafter,   the   appellant   went   to   his   in­
laws’ place but they refused to let him enter inside
the house.  Hence, the appellant could neither see his
newly   born   child   nor   meet   his   wife.     Furthermore,
according to the appellant despite sending many persons
to reconcile with his wife, the respondent consistently
refused to come back to him.   In this background, the
appellant filed a petition under Section 13 of the Act
before the Judge, Family Court, Jaipur for the divorce
on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.  
4. The respondent,  on the other hand,  filed written
statement  in   the   Family   Court  and  narrated   a  totally
different set of facts.   She alleged that since from
first night, the appellant came deadly drunk into the
room   and   abused   her   for   bringing   insufficient   dowry.
Subsequently,   she   was   shocked   to   learn   that   the
3Page 4
appellant   was   earlier   married   to   a   woman   known   as
‘Shanta’   and   had   a   son   from   the   said   marriage.
According   to   the   respondent,   the   aforesaid   fact
relating   to   first   marriage   was   not   revealed   by   the
appellant in the matrimonial advertisement given by him
on   8th  April,   1990   in   the   daily   newspaper   “Rajasthan
Patrika”.   When she inquired about his first marriage
she realized that the appellant had sought divorce on
the   exact   same   grounds   as   are   pleaded   by   him   in   the
present case.  The respondent further claimed that once
when the appellant had lost Rs.3,000/­ in gambling, he
forced   her   to   go   to   her   parental   place   and   to   bring
Rs.3,000/­ for him.  Moreover, when her father retired
from the service and had received retiral benefits of
Rs.1,20,934/­,   the   appellant   pressurized   her   to
convince her father to part with Rs.50,000/­ for him.
Whenever,   she   refused   to   talk   to   her   father   on   this
topic,   the   appellant   assaulted   her.     She   further
alleged that despite the fact that she was a woman from
a Jain community, the appellant would force her to cook
meat   or   to   drink   with   him.     Since   the   respondent
believed   in   non­violence   according   to   her   religious
tenance, she could never convince herself to eat non­
vegetarian food and to drink.   The respondent further
4Page 5
alleged that finally on 30th March, 1991, the appellant
mercilessly   bashed   her   up   and   threw   her   out   of   the
matrimonial home.   She had no option but to return to
her parental place.  According to the respondent, when
she was hospitalized and required blood and even after
the birth of her son, the appellant never visited the
hospital to see her and the son and enquired about her
welfare.     Therefore,   according   to   the   respondent,   in
fact the cruelty and desertion have been committed by
the appellant and not by her.
5. In   the   Family   Court   the   appellant   examined   four
witnesses including himself and submitted a number of
documentary   evidence.     The   respondent   also   examined
four   witnesses   including   herself   and   submitted   the
large   number   of   documentary   evidence.     The   learned
Judge   after   going   through   the   oral   and   documentary
evidence   and   on   hearing   the   parties,   by   the   judgment
dated   13th  February,   1998   dismissed   the   petition   for
divorce with cost.   
6. The   Appellate   Court,   as   noticed   above,   dismissed
the   appeal.     The   Appellate   Court   held   that   the
appellant  has  not  only   been   cruel  to   the   respondent,
but has also brought the situation to the point where
the   respondent   had   no   option   but   to   leave   her
5Page 6
matrimonial   home.     Hence   the   appellant   has   committed
constructive desertion of the respondent.  
7. Learned   counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the
appellant submitted that the cruelty and desertion were
committed by the respondent.   He has taken us to the
factual matrix narrated above and submitted that these
facts   as   alleged   by   the   appellant   and   supported   by
evidence   clearly   shows   that   the   respondent   has
neglected   her   matrimonial   duties   both   towards   the
appellant and his family.  The respondent’s persistent
demand   to   separate   from   her   father­in­law,   depriving
the husband of the matrimonial relationship, refusal to
resume cohabitation with the appellant, all these acts
and   omissions   amount   to   cruelty   and   desertion.     The
cruelty   was   constituted   to   the   extent   that   it   was
impossible for the husband to live with such a wife.
It was also submitted by the learned counsel for the
appellant   that   the   approach   of   the   High   Court   was
incorrect   as   it   failed   to   notice   that   when   the
appellant   and   the   respondent   have   been   living
separately for about sixteen years, there is no purpose
in   compelling  both   the   parties   to  live   together.   The
High Court ought to have granted decree of divorce.  It
was   further   contended   that   where   the   marriage   is
6Page 7
irretrievably   broken   down   with   no   possibility   of   the
appellant   and   the   respondent   to   live   together   again,
the best recourse for the High Court to adopt was to
dissolve their marriage and thereby allow the appellant
and the respondent to live remaining part of their life
peacefully   both   having   already   lost   valuable   part
thereof. 
8. On   the   other   hand,   learned   counsel   for   the
respondent   highlighted   the   facts   not   disputed   by   the
appellant   that   the   appellant   is   in   the   habit   of
marrying   and   remarrying.   Even   prior   to   the   present
marriage, the appellant had married one ‘Shanta’ from
whom he has a son.  This fact was never revealed by the
appellant to the respondent or to her parents prior to
the solemnisation of the present marriage.  Therefore,
while playing fraud with woman, the appellant wishes to
continue solemnising number of marriages.  
9. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and
perused the record.
10. It   is   not   in   dispute   that   even   prior   to   the
present marriage the appellant had married one ‘Shanta’
from whom he has a son.   The aforesaid fact was never
revealed by the appellant to the respondent or to her
parents   prior   to   the   solemnisation   of   the   present
7Page 8
marriage   or   thereafter.       Even   in   the   matrimonial
advertisement   (Ex.   A­11),   the   appellant   had   not
revealed   the   fact   that   he   is   already   a   divorcee.
Moreover,   the   appellant   had   written   a   letter   to   his
father­in­law (Ex. A­10) but therein also not mentioned
that he is a divorcee and a father of a son. Moreover,
even   during   the   pendency   of   the   appeal,   the   Court
noticed   that   the   appellant   has   placed   a   matrimonial
advertisement in the paper as he wishes to enter into a
third marriage.   
11. The High Court perused the divorce petition as was
filed by the appellant against his first wife as well
as the divorce petition filed by the appellant against
the present respondent and noticed that they are almost
identical   in   their   content.   The   same   sets   of
allegations   were   levelled   against   the   first   wife   as
levelled against the present respondent.  This clearly
shows the modus operandi of the appellant. 
Taking   into   consideration   the   aforesaid   fact   and
the fact that even during the pendency of the appeal
the   appellant   came   out   with   a   fresh   matrimonial
advertisement,   the   High   Court   rightly   held   that   the
appellant played fraud with the respondent.   The High
Court   noticed   that   surprisingly   the   subsequent
8Page 9
matrimonial   advertisement   published   by   him   clearly
reveals   his   intention  to   re­marry  for  the  third   time
even before getting divorce from his second wife. The
High Court observed that this is against the Section 15
of the Act, whereunder it is stipulated that even after
dissolution   of   marriage   by   a  decree   of   divorce,   upto
certain   period   no   party   to   the   marriage   can   marry
again.   
12. In   the   present   case   admittedly   marriage   has   not
been   dissolved   by   any   of   the   Court   of   Law.     On   the
other   hand,   the   petition   under   Section   13   for
dissolution   of   marriage   was   dismissed   by   the   Judge,
Family Court.   In such case there was no occasion for
the   appellant   to   come   out   with   another   advertisement
for third marriage 
In   this   background,   the   High   Court   rightly   held
that   the   aforesaid   acts   during   the   pendency   of   the
appeal   clearly   reveals   appellant’s   psychology   of
disobeying   the   law   and   of   entering   into   a   number   of
marriages.
13. Under sub­clause (a) of clause (1) of Section 23,
in   any   proceeding   under   the   Act,   if   the   Court   is
satisfied that any of the grounds for granting relief
exists   and   the   petitioner   is   not   in   any   way   taking
9Page 10
advantage of his or her own wrong or disability for the
purpose   of   such   relief,   the   Court  shall   grant  relief
under Section 23 (1) (a) of the Act.  Therefore, it is
always open to the Court to examine whether the person
seeking divorce “is not in any way taking advantage of
his or her own wrong or disability for the purpose of
such   relief”.   On   such   examination   if   it   is   so   found
that the person is taking advantage of his or her wrong
or   disability   it   is   open   to   the   Court   to   refuse   to
grant relief.
14. In the present case, both the Courts noticed the
relevant facts and came to a definite conclusion that
the   appellant   has   not   only   been   cruel   to   the
respondent, but has also brought the situation to the
point where the respondent had no option but to leave
the   matrimonial   home.     In   this   situation   as   the
appellant   was   trying   to   take   advantage   of   his   own
wrong, the Courts disallowed the relief as was sought
for.   We find that the order to that effect   of the
High Court does not suffer any infirmity, illegality or
perversity;  no interference is called for. 
15. In   the   result   and   in   absence   of   any   merit,   the
appeal   is   dismissed   but   there   shall   be   no   separate
orders as to costs.  
1Page 11
………..………………………………………..J.
   (G.S. SINGHVI)
………………………………………………….J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI 
MUKHOPADHAYA)
NEW DELHI,
APRIL  15, 2013.
1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s