"No Hindu wife would beat her husband with chappal or broom stick mercilessly" Husband tries suicide, still denied divorce !.. According to the husband this is an unfortunate saga of a man who conducts tuition classes for a woman, the woman falls in love with her tuition teacher, compels him to marry her, takes him away from his parents, and marriage breaks down. Totally frustrated Husband tries suicide, survives, and leaves wife's house. Husband's parents are pulled up to police station, made to sit there for hours and made to sign lots of papers... Finally frustrated with all this , husband files divorce. HC denies divorce because ...."No Hindu wife would beat her husband and that too, with a chappal or broom stick mercilessly. ...."
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
Date : 30-03-2010
THE HONOURABLE Mrs. JUSTICE R.BANUMATHI
THE HONOURABLE Mr. JUSTICE M.VENUGOPAL
C.M.A.No.3003 of 2005
Prayer: Appeal filed under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act against the judgment and decree of the Family Court, Coimbatore in H.M.O.P.No.497 of 2003 dated 21.06.2005 dismissing the petition filed by the appellant for dissolution of marriage.
For Appellant : Mr.S.M.Sathish
for M/s. Sai, Bharath & Ilan
For Respondent : Mr.Su.Srinivasan
J U D G M E N T
The Appellant/Petitioner(husband) has preferred this Civil Miscellaneous Appeal as against the order dated 21.06.2005 in H.M.O.P.No.497 of 2003 passed by the learned Family Court Judge, Coimbatore in dismissing the petition filed under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
2. The learned Family Court Judge, Coimbatore while passing orders in H.M.O.P.No.497 of 2003 (filed by the Appellant/Petitioner/husband praying for the dissolution of marriage that took place on 29.12.1999 between him and the respondent/wife) has inter alia observed that the details in regard to the cruelty meted out by the respondent/wife are not natural and not to be believed and resultantly, dismissed the petition without costs.
3. Being dissatisfied with the order dated 21.06.2005 in H.M.O.P.No.497 of 2003 passed by the learned Family Court Judge, Coimbatore, the Appellant/Petitioner (husband) has projected this appeal.
4. Before the Family Court, Coimbatore, on the side of the Appellant/Petitioner/husband, witnesses P.Ws.1 to 3 were examined and Exs.A1 to A3 were marked. On the side of the respondent/wife, witnesses R.Ws.1 to 3 were examined and no witnesses were marked.
5. According to the learned counsel for the Appellant/husband, the order of the trial Court is contrary to law, evidence and facts of the case on record and as a matter of fact, the word 'cruelty' has not been defined under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the trial Court has committed an error in coming to the conclusion that the Appellant/husband failed to prove the aspect of cruelty. It is the further contention on the side of the Appellant/husband that the trial Court should have seen that the Appellant/husband was beaten by chappals and broom stick by the respondent/wife and that she and her family ill-treated and tortured him and thrown him from the respondent/wife's house and this conduct amounts to an act of 'cruelty' and therefore, the trial Court should have granted the relief of divorce as prayed for by the Appellant/husband.
6. Continuing further, the learned counsel for the Appellant/husband contends that the trial Court ought to have seen that the evidence of P.W.2 Kuppusamy was quite clear in regard to the torture meted out to the Appellant/husband by the respondent/wife and also that the Appellant/husband was beaten with chappals and broom stick by the respondent/wife just for the reason asking her to give a cup of coffee to P.W.2 and also that P.W.3 in his evidence had stated that he saw the incident as to the quarrel that took place between the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife in their house. But these aspects of the matter were not adverted to or appreciated by the trial Court in proper perspective and in short, the conduct of the respondent/wife and her family members in regard to ill-treatment and torture would amount to a clear case of cruelty on the appellant and therefore prays for allowing the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal to prevent an aberration of justice.
7. The point that arises for rooming in this appeal is,
Whether the Appellant/Petitioner/husband is entitled to claim the relief of dissolution of marriage that took place on 29.12.1999 between himself and the respondent/wife?
8. The Appellant/husband is the son of a small agriculturist of Thennamma Nallur Village and after completion of his school studies, since he could not continue his further studies he worked in the garden belonging to one Unni Krishnan (living abroad) as a tenant on lease. The respondent/wife's father and her uncle Mylsamy were possessing own lands near the land of Unni Krishnan and they were doing agriculture operations. The respondent/wife's father and uncle were doing several businesses including the brandy shop business. The respondent/wife failed in X standard public examination and that the Appellant/husband taught the lessons to the respondent/wife with good intention and helped her to write the public examination and to pass the same but the respondent/wife could not concentrate on studies and she fell in love with the Appellant/husband. Ultimately, the parents of the respondent/wife succumbed to the pressure of the respondent/wife and her parents and uncle Mylsamy forced the Appellant/husband to marry the respondent/wife. They also mixed some kind of medicine in the food and drinks offered to the Appellant/husband and this affected the mind of the Appellant/husband. Thus, the respondent/wife's parents and uncle Mylsamy by using their influence brought the Appellant/husband under their control. The Appellant/husband without the knowledge of his parents and relatives was brought to Coimbatore on 29.12.1999 all alone and after obtaining his signature, a petition was filed before Coimbatore Head Register Office. The respondent/wife's parents and uncle Mylsamy gave a sum of Rs.5,000/- to a person at Coimbatore Head Registrar Office and the said application was filed in that office but the Appellant/husband was not aware as to the reason for such registration.
9. The respondent/wife's parents and his uncle intimidated the Appellant/husband by saying that after the said registration, the marriage took place between the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife. Three weeks later, Appellant/husband's parents were called and talks were held. The Appellant/husband's parents objected to the Register Marriage which took place without their knowledge but some elderly people pacified them. On 17.02.2000 in Maruthamalai temple, the marriage rituals between the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife were performed after compromising the Appellant/husband's father. For the marriage that took place on 17.02.2002 at Maruthamalai temple, no invitation was printed. The Appellant/husband was treated for a month with respect and love. Thereafter, the respondent/wife's parents and uncle Mylsamy compelled the Appellant/husband to work in their K.R.S. Brandy shop at R.S.Puram as a salesman. The Appellant/husband stayed in the respondent/wife's house at the mercy of her parents and without interest, he performed his salesman work at the brandy shop. The Appellant/husband worked in the brandy shop of the respondent/wife's uncle without any salary. Later, the Appellant/husband refused to go to brandy shop and join as a Cashier in the Lorry Owners Association petrol bunk at Avinashi, Puthupalayam. Since the Appellant/husband's meagre salary was not enough for a day expenses of the respondent/wife, the respondent/wife treated the Appellant/husband improperly by beating him with chappals and broom stick. Again the Appellant/husband was forced to work in K.R.S. Brandy shop but the Appellant/husband refused to work in the said shop. Lastly, the Appellant/husband secured employment at Peelamedu Airport. Here also, the salary that was received by the Appellant/husband could not satisfy the respondent/wife and again, he fell to wrath of the respondent/wife's anger and beating with chappals and broom stick because of which he attempted to commit suicide and failed. Finally on 02.04.2003, the Appellant/husband left the respondent/wife in her parents house and left without information.
10. On 22.04.2003, at about 10 p.m. in the night, the respondent/wife and her brother went to the Appellant/husband's house and intimidated his parents by threatening that if the Appellant/husband was not coming immediately a case will be booked against him and his parents and they will be arrested and put in prison, etc., However, the Appellant/husband while he was proceeding at Coimbatore, Gandhipuram bus station, the respondent/wife's parents and uncle and others waylaid the Appellant/husband and took him in the jeep and brought him to Vadavalli police station. The Appellant/husband's parents were brought there and on the basis of the enquiry till 7 o' clock in the evening without food and water, they were kept in the police station. The Appellant/husband and his parents signatures were also obtained in several papers. The Appellant/husband was again taken in a jeep and in the house of the respondent/wife, work was extracted from him and from 25.10.2003, he was absconding after coming out of the respondent/wife's house and to escape from the cruelty meted out by the respondent/wife, he had filed the petition for dissolution of marriage dated 29.12.1999 that took place between him and the respondent/wife.
11. The stand of the respondent/wife is that the Appellant/husband fell in love with the respondent/wife and with consent of parents, their marriage was performed on 29.12.1999 in Sakthivinayagar koil, Collectorate compound in Coimbatore-18 and it is true that a ceremony was performed on 17.02.2000 at Maruthamalai temple which was done with full co-operation of the Appellant/husband as well as his parents and the family members.
12. According to the respondent/wife, neither the respondent/wife nor her parents ever abused the Appellant/husband or ill-treated him and it was false to suggest that the Appellant/husband was beaten with chappals and broom stick by the respondent/wife. As a matter of fact, there was no cruelty as alleged and the Appellant/husband was even now living in the premises where the respondent/wife was living. The cruelty aspect was a futile imagination of the Appellant/husband. The petition was abuse of process of Court of Law and it was devoid of merits. The Appellant/husband has not come with clean hands.
13. It is to be noted that the legal perception of cruelty, which is not defined by statute is described as conduct of such a character as to have caused with danger to life limb or health (physically or mentally), or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such danger.
14. The term 'cruelty' as a matrimonial conduct has been employed in its ordinary sense. It has no esoteric or artificial manner. There must be some grave or weighty matters to constitute cruelty. Of course, there may be cruelty without an intention to injure.
15. It is worth to recall the observation of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the decision ARAVIND SINGH V. STATE OF BIHAR (2001) 6 SCC 407, whereby and whereunder it is held that 'the word 'cruelty' in common English ascription denotes a state of conduct which is painful and distressing to another. No wonder, cruelty constitutes a very good ground for dissolution of marriage because of the fact that cruelty is from antithesis of love and affection.
16. The term 'cruelty' must be of such a nature normal living may not be possible. It is not essential that mental cruelty may cause injury to health while considering the question of cruelty. There are many factors responsible for arriving at a conclusion on the practice of cruelty. 'Cruelty' may be mental or physical intentional or unintentional. If it is physical, certainly it is a question of fact and degree. If it is mental, the inquiry should begin as to the nature of the cruel treatment and then as to the impact of such treatment on the mind of the spouse. There is no straight jacket formula to define 'cruelty'. It is a human living concept which differ from individual to individual. As such for deciding the issue of cruelty in a given case, the facts are to be deeply analysed.
17. The legal concept of cruelty has two distinct elements:
(i) Ill-treatment (ii) the resultant danger or apprehension therefrom. The term 'cruelty includes both physical and mental cruelty. In short, the cruelty is to be decided taking into account of several factors like social status, customs and traditions, caste and community, upbringing of the parties and the public opinion prevailing in the locality. In matrimonial litigation, a Court of Law deals with the conduct of human beings who are not generally similar. Therefore, 'the categories of cruelty are not closed' as per observation of LORD DENNING in SHELDON V. SHELDON, (1996) 2 ALL ER 259.
18. The Appellant/husband before the trial Court had examined P.Ws.2 and 3 to prove his case. The Appellant/husband also examined himself as P.W.1 before the trial Court. In his evidence, P.W.1 (Appellant/husband) had reiterated the averments made by him in his petition praying for the relief of divorce.
19. P.W.2 Kuppusamy in his evidence had deposed that he does not know the date on which the marriage took place between the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife and that he had not attended their marriage but knew about the marriage that took place at Maruthamalai.
20. P.W.3 Devaraj in his evidence had deposed that he went to see the Appellant/husband at his residential place and when he went near the place of Vandavalli Kattu Vinayagar temple to know about the residential place of the Appellant/husband, the nearby residents identified the house of the Appellant/husband wherefrom noise came and when he went in front of the Appellant/husband's house, the front door of his house was partially opened and partially closed and therefore he saw through the window and found that the respondent/wife with a broom stick holding the shirt of the Appellant/husband in one hand was beating with a broom stick, etc.,
21. R.W.1 (respondent/wife) in her evidence had totally denied the aspect of cruelty and further stated that because of her, there was no hardship either to the Appellant/husband or her mother-in-law or father-in-law and that the Appellant/husband had filed the petition with false averments and she was willing to live with the Appellant/husband as a good wife.
22. R.W.3, Swaminathan in his evidence had stated that the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife resided near to his residence at the next house and the respondent/wife was employed and attending to her work but the Appellant/husband without any job was remaining in the house and in between them, there was no quarrel at any point of time and both of them were residing till May 2003 and thereafter they vacated the house informing that they were to reside in the own house of the Appellant/husband.
23. As far as the present case is concerned, even though the Appellant/husband in his petition seeking the relief of dissolution of marriage between himself and the respondent/wife that took place on 29.12.1999, the burden of proving the contents of the petition relating to cruelty entirely rested on the Appellant/husband, in our considered opinion. It is for the Appellant/husband to prove the issue of cruelty to the subjective satisfaction of this Court. It is significant to make a mention that P.W.2. Kuppusamy in his evidence had not stated that on what date and month, he went to the house of the Appellant/husband (P.W.1) and when the respondent/wife had beaten the Appellant/husband with broom stick and further that she removed her chappals and beat the Appellant/husband. Likewise, the evidence of P.W.3 Devaraj was so unnatural to say that he stood before the house of the Appellant/husband and saw through the front window when the respondent/wife holding the shirt of the Appellant/husband in one hand and beat with a broom stick. In short, the evidence of P.Ws.2 and 3 were artificial and not a reliable one, in our considered opinion. No Hindu wife would beat her husband and that too, with a chappal or broom stick mercilessly. Per contra, the evidence of R.W.3. Swaminathan was in favour of the respondent/wife to prove that between the Appellant/husband and the respondent/wife at any point of time, there was no quarrel and they lived happily near his residence till May 2003. Suffice it to point out that the Appellant/husband had not proved the factum of cruelty meted out to him by the respondent/wife in a cogent, coherent, clear cut, convincing fashion in a clinching way to satisfy the subjective conscience of this Court. Hence, the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal fails.
24. In the result, the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is dismissed. Consequently, the order passed by the learned Family Court Judge, Coimbatore in H.M.O.P.No.497 of 2003 is confirmed for the reasons assigned by this Court in this appeal. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and relationship of the parties, there shall be no order as to costs.
The Family Court,
PRE DELIVERY JUDGMENT IN
C.M.A.NO.3003 OF 2005