Thursday, December 26, 2013

filing false 498a, arresting family members is cruelty, divorce granted, BOMBAY HC

* wife files false 498a
* complaint by wife calculatedly designed in as much as it was a sort of counter blast to the divorce petition filed by the husband. 
* The husband had filed divorce petition on 16.6.03 whereas 498a complaint was lodged by wife on 11.7.03. 
* husband and co completely acquitted by judicial magistrate
* judicial magistrate completely disbelieves wife's false dowry case !!
* Still husband's divorce petition is dismissed by family court !!
* husband appeals to HC and gets divorce

This judgment and other similar judgments posted on this blog was / were collected from Judis nic in website and / or other websites of Govt. of India or other internet web sites like worldlii or indiankanoon. Some notes are made by Vinayak. This is a free service provided by Vinayak (pen name). Vinayak is a member of SIF - Save Indian Family Foundation. SIF is committed to fighting FALSE dowry cases and elder abuse. SIF supports gender equality and a fair treatment of law abiding Indian men. Should you find the dictum in this judgment or the judgment itself repealed or amended or would like to make improvements or comments, please post a comment on the comment section of the blog or write to e _ vinayak @ yahoo . com (please remove spaces). Vinayak is NOT a lawyer and nothing in this blog and/or site and/or file should be considered as legal advise.


Ajay Ashok Khedkar ................... Appellant.
Sou. Laleeta Ajay Khedkar..................Respondent.

Mr.Hitesh Vyas, Adv. For the appellant.
Mr.Sachin S. Pande, Adv. For the respondent. ;


Date:12th  April, 2010.


: (Per Deshpande, J.)

This is family court appeal filed by the unsuccessful husband whose petition for divorce has been dismissed by the Family Court. The appellant and the respondent's marriage was solemnized as per Hindu rites and customs at Pune on 8.3.2001.  

The marriage was an arranged marriage and after the marriage the respondent  came to reside with the appellant.  The appellant's mother resides along with   the   appellant.     The   petition   for   divorce   was   filed   on   the ground   of   mental   cruelty   under   section   13(1)(i­a)   of   the   Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. ;

2. According  to the petitioner  on the  wedding  night itself  the respondent alleged that she was deceived in regard to income of the appellant.   The respondent allegedly stated that the salary of the appellant as informed to her was much more than what he was actually   receiving.     It   is   also   alleged   that   with   reference   to   the number of spectacle the respondent taunted the appellant by saying that   she   was   made   to   perform   marriage   with   a   blind   person. Touching those issues the respondent allegedly started quarreling with the petitioner and insulting the petitioner.  It is the case of the appellant that since beginning the behaviour of the respondent was arrogant   and   rude   and   immediately   after   the   marriage   the respondent was insisting that the petitioner should stay separately from his mother in one of the two flats owned by the appellant's family  situated at Raviwar Peth, Pune.  According to the appellant he tried to convince the respondent that his mother is old and there is no one else to look after her and hence refused to stay separately. It is also the case of the appellant that the respondent gave threats that   she   would   commit   suicide   if   the   appellant   fails   to   reside separately.     The   respondent   also   denied   conjugal   rights   to   the appellant so as to coerce him to stay separate from his mother.  On the above referred allegations touching mental agony and torture divorce petition was filed. ;

3. Sometime   in   December   2002   the   respondent   went   to   the house   of   her   parents   for   delivery.     She   delivered   a   girl   child   on 26.2.03.   Despite passage of enough time the respondent did not join   the   company   of   the   appellant.     According   to   the   appellant because   of   the   insistence   on   the   part   of   respondent   to   stay separately the marital life was disturbed and peace and harmony was lost. ;

On   3.5.03   the   father   of   the   respondent   brought   the respondent to the house of the appellant but without meeting the appellant or his mother respondent's father went away.  On 6.5.03 the respondent called her parents and brother at the house of the appellant.  The near relations of the respondent quarreled with the petitioner and his mother and after creating a scene threatened the appellant that they would implicate the appellant and members of his   family   in   false   criminal   cases.   So   threatening   the   appellant, father   and   brother   of   the   respondent   took   her   away   along   with them.  While leaving the appellant's residence they said that only if he   resides   separately   the   respondent   will   be   sent   back.     The appellant   immediately   sent   a   notice   on   9.5.03   asking   the respondent to join the company and cohabit with the appellant but instead   of   joining   the   company   of   the   appellant   the   respondent initiated criminal case under section 498A of IPC not only against the appellant and his mother but three other near relations who were staying separately including the uncle, aunt and husband of the aunt.  All the persons accused of having committed the offence under section  498A of  IPC were  arrested by  the  police and they were detained in custody.  

This is the main circumstance which is relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellant to contend that lodging   of   false   case   which   resulted   in   arrest   and   detention   of family members of the appellant is singularly sufficient enough to hold  that  the  respondent  is  guilty  of   causing  mental  cruelty   and agony   to   the   appellant   and   thus   pressed   for   grant   of   decree   of divorce.   According

to the learned counsel for the appellant arrest and   detention   of   the   family   members   and   near   relations   of   the appellant   in   false   case   has   caused   him   utmost   mental   torture. During pendnecy of divorce petition the said criminal case came to be   decided   by   a   judgment   dated   13.5.05   by   Judicial   Magistrate, First   Class,   Pune   acquitting   the   appellant   and   all   his   family members from the charge under section 498A of IPC. 

4. Perusal of the judgment clearly reveals that the prosecution utterly failed to prove the case put forth by the complainant.  The Judicial   Magistrate   has   recorded   categoric   finding   that   the complainant's own testimony falsifies  the prosecution case that the complainant was treated cruely and was harassed by the accused persons with a view to coerce her and her parents to meet their unlawful   demand   of   Rs.50,000/­.     The   Magistrate   has   totally disbelieved the version of the complainant/wife and has acquitted the   accused   persons.     On   a   careful   reading   of   the   judgment rendered in the case of prosecution under section 498A of IPC one thing is crystal clear and it can be safely assumed that the wife had filed a false case not only against her husband and mother­in­law but had unnecessarily roped in other near relations.   It is obvious that   on   account   of   arrest   and   detention   of   the   husband   and   his family members respondent has treated the appellant with utmost mental cruelty and the appellant has suffered agony.  It will not be out of place to mention that the complaint filed by the wife was calculatedly designed in as much as it was a sort of counter blast to the divorce petition filed by the husband.  The appellant had filed divorce petition on 16.6.03 whereas the complaint was lodged by the respondent­wife on 11.7.03. ;

5. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the appellant and his family members including ladies who did not stay along with   the   appellant   were   arrested   and   detained   causing   utmost humiliation and embarrassment and agony to the appellant.   This solitary   incidence   would   itself   constitute   mental   cruelty   even   if other circumstances are not taken into account and thus the trial court has erred in law in dismissing the divorce petition.  Para 29 of the judgment of family court deals with this aspect of the matter by observing :

"There   can   not   be   absolutely   two   opinions   regarding legal   proposition   that   if   the   wife   filed   false   criminal   cases against   the   husband,   her   conduct   does   amount   to   causing mental   cruelty   and   torture   to   him,   therefore,   the   husband becomes   entitled   for   a   decree   of   divorce.     The   necessary condition for constituting such legal cruelty is that the wife has   indulged   into   making   false   and   reckless   allegation   by filing false complaint to the police.  A singular complaint filed by wife under section 498A of IPC against the husband and his family members can not indicate the tendency of wife to indulge into making such false allegation."

We fail to understand the logic behind the reasoning adopted by the family court to hold that a singular complaint of this nature under section 498A of IPC resulting in arrest and detention of the family   members   and   relatives   thereby   causing   utmost embarrassment,   humiliation   and   suffering   does   not   constitute mental   cruelty.   It   is   illogical   that   more   than   one   complaint   are necessary  to   be   filed   to  constitute  mental   cruelty.       In   our  view, embarrassment, humiliation and suffering that is caused on account of   arrest and detention of appellant and his family members and relatives in a false case does constitute mental cruelty to enable the husband   to   seek   decree   of   divorce   on   this   sole   ground.     In   our considered   opinion,     the   approach   of   the   family   court   is   wholly perverse and the reasoning cannot be sustained in law. 

In regard to other circumstances the family court has observed :

"At   the   most   one   can   infer   that   this   conduct   of   the respondent may have caused some disharmony between the couple but in no way it can be said that it was sufficient to constitute a mental cruelty to petitioner or his mother."

Without deliberating on all the circumstances in detail we are of the clear view that cumulative effect of the behaviour and conduct of   the   respondent   is   good   enough   to   draw   an   inference   that respondent   has   caused   utmost   mental   pain   and   suffering   which constitute mental cruelty to the appellant and hence the appellant is entitled for decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. ;

6. This   brings   us   to   the   consideration   of   question   of   granting maintenance   to   the   girl   child   who   is   aged   about   8   years.     The family court in exercise of powers under section 24 had granted interim   maintenance   of   Rs.700/­   p.m.   whereas   this   Court   by   an interim order has raised it to Rs.1000/­ p.m. The appellant so also the respondent are both gainfully employed.   They are earning in the   range   of   Rs.5000   to   7000   per   month   each.     The   child   is   in custody   of   the   respondent­mother.     Learned   counsel   for   the appellant on instructions from his client who is present in the court submitted   that   the   appellant   would   pay   a   sum   of   Rs.1.5   lacs towards permanent alimony for the maintenance of child.  Having found the said amount insufficient we persuaded the counsel for the appellant  to raise the amount so that monthly interest on the said amount works out in the range of Rs.2000 per month.   The mother   of   the   appellant   has   come   forward   to   contribute   further sum of Rs.1.5 lacs towards maintenance of the child.  In our view if the appellant pays sum of Rs.3 lacs by way of permanent alimony for   the   maintenance   of   child   the   said   amount   if   kept   in   fixed deposit   can  fetch   interest   of   Rs.2000/­   per   month   and   the   same could be utilized by the respondent for upbringing of the daughter.

In the result we pass the following order:

(i) The   marriage   of   the   appellant   and   respondent   stands dissolved by a decree of divorce under section 13(1)(i­a) ;

(ii) The   appellant   shall   pay   sum   of   Rs.3   lacs   by   way   of permanent alimony for the maintenance of the girl child.  The said amount of Rs.3 lacs shall be invested in fixed deposit in a nationalized   bank   and   the   respondent   is   permitted   to withdraw the interest accrued thereon quarterly. The amount of Rs.3 lacs shall be invested in the fixed deposit within two months from today in the name of the minor child and the respondent would be shown as her guardian;

(iii) The said sum of Rs.3 lacs shall be kept invested in fixed deposit till the child attains majority. 

(iv) Appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.


At this stage the learned counsel for the respondent seeks stay of this order.  Having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances we do not find any reason to stay the impugned order.  Hence the prayer is rejected. ;


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