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Wife's actions in filing false cases against her husband amounted to cruelty: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Wife's actions in filing false cases against her husband amounted to cruelty: Punjab & Haryana High Court

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, The Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld a divorce petition filed by a man, ruling that the wife's actions in filing false and frivolous cases against her husband amounted to cruelty.

However, in light of the wife's needs, the bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta granted permanent alimony of Rs. 10 lakh to the wife as a full and final settlement of all disputes between the parties.

The Court also took note of landmark rulings of the Supreme Court to note that if the wife files a false complaint against her spouse, it amounts to cruelty and is sufficient ground for divorce. Thus, holding that the wife's act amounted to cruelty, the Court went ahead to note the fact that the parties have been living separately since October 2013, and that the parties' conduct evidences irreconcilable differences between them, rendering the marriage a mere legal fiction. Consequently, the appeal was allowed.

The Court also noted landmark Supreme Court rulings to note that if the wife files a false complaint against her spouse, it amounts to cruelty and is sufficient ground for divorce. Thus, after ruling that the wife's act amounted to cruelty, the court went on to note that the parties had been living separately since October 2013, and their conduct demonstrated that they had irreconcilable differences, rendering the marriage a mere legal fiction. As a result, the appeal was granted.

The court held that "In our view, once criminal litigation is initiated between the parties it leads to a point of no return. And if it is a false case filed by the wife merely to harass and humiliate the husband and his family, then the resultant bitterness rarely leaves any room or reason for reconciliation.” Further, the court also stated, "Before parting, though we have held that the acts of the respondent-wife amount to cruelty against the appellant-husband, we are, however, not oblivious to her requirements. It has come on record that the appellant has been paying interim maintenance under section 125 CRPC at Rs.2500/- per month, and Rs.3000 per month was granted by the trial court under section 24 of the HMA. In these circumstances, we consider it just to direct that the husband shall pay to the wife a sum of INR 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakhs only) as one-time permanent alimony as full and final settlement of all disputes between the parties,"

The following issues were framed by the learned Family Court:

·         Whether the respondent has treated the petitioner with cruelty after the solemnization of their marriage?

·         Whether the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of more than two years preceding the filing of the present petition?

·         Whether the petitioner has suppressed any material facts from the court, and if so, to what effect?

·         Whether the petitioner is entitled to the dissolution of the marriage as prayed for relief?

The husband/appellant filed a petition in the family court under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking dissolution of his marriage with the respondent/wife on the grounds of cruelty. In May 2017, the Additional District Judge of Tarn Taran dismissed the case. He challenged the ruling in the High Court.

Case Title: Joginder Singh v. Rajwinder Kaur

Citation: FAO-M-12 of 2017(O&M)



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