Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Infidelity over phone ground for divorce' : Kerala HC ; ruling by a division bench comprising Justices Antony Dominic and P D Rajan

'Infidelity over phone ground for divorce'


TNN | Aug 17, 2013, 04.50 AM IST

KOCHI: Divorce can be granted on the ground of cruelty if a spouse maintains illicit relationship over phone, the Kerala high court has held.

The ruling by a division bench comprising Justices Antony Dominic and P D Rajan came while considering an appeal against Thalassery family court's order denying divorce to a man on the ground of cruelty despite proving on the basis of his wife's telephone recordsthat she maintained an illicit relationship.

Phone records had shown that the wife used to call her childhood 'friend' for long hours during day and night while the husband was working abroad.

To decide the question whether maintaining such close relationship with another person over phone amounts to cruelty for granting divorce, the high court relied on a decision by the Supreme Court in 2004.

In A Jayachandra v Aneel Kaur case of 2004, the SC had held, "To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be 'grave and weighty' so as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse. It must be something more serious than 'ordinary wear and tear of married life'."

Granting divorce to the husband, the high court held, "If the evidence in this case is appreciated in the light of the principles laid down by the apex court, we are satisfied that the evidence clearly indicated that the conduct of the wife rendered it impossible for the husband to live with her without mental agony, torture, or distress."

The wife is an educated lady and she having maintained an illicit relationship cannot avoid the consequences nor can the husband be expected to suffer on the ground that he has two children, the court held.


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