The division bench of Guwahati High Court, in the matter of Bhaskar Das Vs Renu Das, allowed the decree of divorce and said denial of wearing sindoor is unwillingness to continue conjugal life. The Bench also said that, preventing husband to care aged parents is punishable offence.
The respondent wife in the case alleged that her husband and other family members harassed her for dowry. While the husband claimed that the wife wanted to live in a separate residence and repeatedly demanding it.
The division bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Hon’ble Justice Soumitra Saikia, also marked the statement from the cross-examination of respondent wife.
“That I have objection regarding divorce in this case as because either he come to Dibrugarh to live with me or otherwise fulfil my demand i.e. monetary demand, only then I will divorce him.“
The bench also observed that, the wife has also filed a criminal complaint of fraud under IPC section 471 & 420 on the husband, alleging that he did not comply with the terms of the settlement of “separate accommodation”.
The bench also recorded in the order;
“Under the custom of Hindu Marriage, a lady who has entered into marriage according to Hindu rituals and customs, and which has not been denied by the respondent in her evidence, her refusal to wear ‘sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage with the appellant. Such categorical stand of the respondent points to the clear intention of the respondent that she is unwilling to continue her conjugal life with the appellant.”
The bench also observed that, “Under such circumstances compelling the appellant husband to continue to be in matrimony with the respondent wife may be construed to be harassment inflicted by the respondent upon the appellant and his family members.”
The bench referring the recent judgement in Rani Narasimha Sastri vs. Rani Suneela Rani said that filing criminal case against husband is cruelty by wife.
“Such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband’s family members amounts to cruelty as held by the Supreme Court.”
In the above said matter, which clarified cruelty over filing FIR and person undergone trial which the bench also referred.
“It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution for redressal for his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot ipso facto be treated as cruelty. But when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband.”
The bench also observed that the respondent wife was preventing her husband to take care of his aged mother and said it a punishable offence under “Senior Citizens Act”.
“during the evidence that the respondent compelled and prevented the appellant from performing his statutory duties towards his aged mother under the provisions of the 2007 Act. Such evidence is sufficient to be construed as an act of cruelty as the non-compliance/non-adherence to the provisions of the 2007 Act has criminal consequences leading to punishment or imprisonment as well as fine.”