Recently, the Delhi High Court ruled that if a wife insists on living apart from her husband’s family members without a legitimate reason, it can be considered cruel.
The statement was made by Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna while dissolving a marriage on the grounds of cruelty and desertion, and after the wife indicated that she has no objections to the divorce.
“…the respondent has been unable to provide a justifiable reason for her insistence on a separate residence. However, this is based on an out-of-court settlement in which the parties agreed to live separately, but she returned to the marital home with other family members. The only conclusion that can be derived is that her insistence on living apart from the rest of the family was arbitrary and unjustifiable. Such persistent insistence can only be described as inhumane,” stated the order.
The Court relied on the 2016 Supreme Court ruling in Narendra v. K Meena, which stated that “it is neither a common practise nor a desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to be separated from his parents upon marriage at the request of his wife.”
“In India, in general, people do not ascribe to western thought, where a son is separated from his family upon marriage or reaching adulthood. Normally, the wife is expected to become a member of her husband’s family following marriage. She becomes an integral part of the family and her husband, and without a compelling reason, she should never insist that her husband be separated from the family and reside with her separately,” the supreme court had ruled.
The High Court heard an appeal challenging a family court order denying the husband’s divorce petition. According to the spouse, his wife subjected him to cruelty and abandonment.
The couple wed in November of 2000 and had two children. The wife left the marital residence in 2003 but subsequently returned. However, she departed once more in July 2007.
In its order, the family court stated that there was no evidence to support the claim that the wife had quit her husband’s company without a legitimate reason. In addition, the family court opined that the husband failed to demonstrate that the wife intended to terminate their cohabitation permanently.
However, the High Court determined that the wife’s insistence on living separately from the other family members was arbitrary and unjustifiable.
It was noted that, beginning in 2007, the wife had not met her marital obligations, and the husband was denied conjugal rights.
The judges also considered the wife’s declaration in front of the High Court that she had no intention of reconciling with her husband and had no objections to the divorce being granted.
“Prolonged deprivation of conjugal rights coupled with the statement of the respondent in Court that she has no intention to join the company of the appellant and has no objection to the grant of divorce, not only reinforces that such deprivation has resulted in mental cruelty to the appellant, but also reveals that the respondent/wife has no intention whatsoever to resume the matrimonial relationship,” the Court stated.
Thus, the Court dissolved the marriage and granted the husband’s divorce appeal.