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Spouse’s threat to kill self and implicate in-laws is cruelty: HC

Threat by a woman to commit suicide and implicate her husband and in-laws for it amounts to causing mental cruelty which permitted divorce, Delhi high court has said.

“A threat by the wife to her husband that she will put an end to her own life and implicate him and his entire family tantamount to causing mental cruelty. The husband knows that if the wife attempts to commit suicide or commits suicide, he and his entire family would be entangled in a criminal case,” a Bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani said.

It observed that the legal consequences that may ensue on the threat being extended by the wife would impact the husband to the extent that his entire family would start living under the shadow of fear of being implicated in a case.

“It is well settled that threat to commit suicide constitutes cruelty for purpose of section 13(1)(ia) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,” the Bench said while granting divorce to the man whose wife not only threatened to kill herself and implicate the husband and his family, but also attempted suicide by consuming phenyl.

She had taken the step after her extra-marital affair with the husband’s cousin was exposed, the Bench noted in its seven-page judgement allowing the man’s appeal against a family court’s order rejecting his plea for divorce.

The High Court allowed his appeal saying the family court “failed to analyse testimony of the husband and his parents in proper perspective and committed an error while observing that allegations made by him of being subjected to mental cruelty by his wife are vague”.

“The husband and his family have proved that on being confronted, the wife threatened to commit suicide and also tried to execute it by consuming phenyl. When her family was apprised of the events, she left the matrimonial home.

“At the time of leaving the matrimonial home she did not spare a thought about her daughter who was about four-years-old at that time and required motherly care..,” the High Court noted in its order.

As per the man’s plea, the couple got married in 2006 and were blessed with a child in 2007. The affair was discovered later and when the husband and his family objected to it, the woman was taken away by her parents, leaving the child behind. 

According to the man, his wife had called him in 2013, after he had sent a notice for divorce, and told him that she intended to live with her lover.
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