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CASE SUMMARY ON THE CURRENT CASE LAWS BASED ON DIVORCE AND MAINTENANCE DECIDED BY THE SUPREME COURT

Author: Simran, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Christ Deemed to be University Delhi NCR


Nalini Nagnath Uphalkar v. Nagnath Mahadev Uphalkar, Family Court Appeal No. 45 of 2006, decided on 12-10-2022]

Facts

After losing his first spouse, the Respondent and Petitioner were united in marriage on October 25, 2015. The Respondent-husband filed a counterclaim for a divorce after the Petitioner-wife filed her petition for restitution of conjugal rights in 2004 under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The issue before the Family Court in the aforementioned proceedings was whether the wife's petition for support under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act was justified, and an order rejecting the petition was issued. The court heard the counterclaim to decide where the impugned decision was given for the dissolution of the marital relationship under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and order of maintenance was issued to the wife of Rs.2000/- p.m.


Prior to the current proceedings, the Respondent's spouse filed a petition for divorce based on cruelty, which was dismissed on August 6, 2003. The petitioner-wife testified that the respondent-husband was a chronic drunkard and a womaniser who was always under the influence of booze and used to physically abuse her. She claimed that because of his vices, he used to come home late at night, that she was denied of her marital rights, and that he was in the routine of approaching her sister under various pretexts.


Issue

whether the allegations made by the Petitioner-wife in her reply to the counterclaim constitute “cruelty” within the meaning of Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 so as to entitle the Respondent-husband to a decree of divorce.


Law

Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets out the grounds on which a marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce. In the present case, the relevant provision is Section 13 (1) (i)(i-a) and is reproduced: “13. Divorce – (1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party- (i) …(ia) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty


Analysis

The wife has not provided any proof to back up her claims. Notably, the petitioner's own sister did not confirm the petitioner's claims and just testified that the husband used to take booze but made no claim that he was an alcoholic, which has a separate meaning. Furthermore, the deposition lacks credibility in the charges that he is a womaniser. As a result, the petitioner's evidence on record fails to support the accusations asserted in their petitions.The spouse has defamed him in the public arena by making off-base and unverified charges, causing him mental misery, as demonstrated by the respondent, and has neglected to help the charges made by her in her answer to the countercase. While considering a party's conduct with regards to "mercilessness" as imagined by Segment 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the layers of society to which the gatherings have a place are likewise significant. In this occurrence, a spouse is a previous man who resigned as a "Significant" and, as per the wife's requests, has a place with the most noteworthy echelons of society and has a social standing.


Conclusion

The court determined that the wife's behaviour in continuing to make unsubstantiated claims against the husband's character, portraying him as an alcoholic and womaniser, had harmed his reputation in society, particularly where he was doing social work,therefore, he cannot continue with the marriage falling prey to such allegations as it is deemed as an act of cruelty, as held by a Division Bench of Nitin Jamdar and Sharmila U Deshmukh JJ., under Section 13(1)(i-a) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. As a result, the Court determined that the case was suitable for divorce and dismissed the wife's appeal, finding that her conduct constituted cruelty under Section 13 (1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act.


Vaibhav Singh v. Smt. Divyashika Singh , 2022 SCC OnLine All 577, decided on 03-08-2022]

Facts

The ongoing allure was recorded in light of a request gave by the family court under Segment 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act in a separation activity started by the litigant spouse. Following a survey of the challenged choice, it was found that main Rs. 3000/ - each month in break support was given to the respondent spouse, notwithstanding Rs. 5000/ - towards the cost of the interaction. The learned direction for the litigant's only highlight go against the condemned deciding was that the appealing party is jobless and has no type of revenue. The family court excused the litigant's uncovered claim in the protest submitted for the situation under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The respondent's wife has an independent income since she owns a medical business with his father, who is a doctor, according to the second submission.


Issue

Whether the unemployed ex husband is entitled to pay for the interim maintenance to the wife or not under section 24 of the hindu marriage act.


Law

Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act


Analysis

An unemployed person should not be entitled to pay for the maintenance till the time employment status is changed. The purpose of the maintenance to wife is to protect the right of the women in case of livelihood but in the present case, the ex wife is in a suitable condition where basic survival ementitites can be afforded and worked upon. Therefore going against the judgement, in terms of practicality, the husband must be exempted. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, accepting the Court concludes at any rate under this Act that either the life partner or the spouse has no free sort of income palatable for their assistance, the Court could orchestrate the portion of month-to-month upkeep to the specialist through the respondent.


In a separation case, any life accomplice could search for help if the Court is content with the up-and-comer's lacking compensation under Segment 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Also, the applicant may be permitted break lightening to fulfill their basic essentials. This is known as 'stretch upkeep ' or 'pendente light'.


As per the Hindu Marriage Demonstration of 1955, the spouse might look for interval support under segment 125 of the Criminal Strategy Code for a month to month payment for upkeep. If the lady doesn't have an autonomous kind of revenue, she might guarantee costs from her better half under Sections V and VI of the Exceptional Marriage Act, 1954. Therefore as per the law, the husband can seek interim maintenance if unemployed.


Conclusion

The court while dealing with this submission of the learned counsel for the appellant noted, "mere fact that the respondent wife is educated and is doing something to survive since she has been thrown out of her matrimonial home cannot be a reason to deny interim maintenance. An able-bodied husband cannot argue that he is not in a position to maintain his wife. It is social, legal and morale responsibility of a man to maintain his wife and no exception to the same can be taken by us, in view of bald assertions of the appellant."



The bench dismissing the appeal remarked, "Reference may be made to the decision of the Apex Court in Rajnesh vs. Neha reported in 2021 (2) SCC 324. Noticing the law of maintenance as discussed by the Apex Court therein, we do not find any good ground to entertain the appeal. The appeal is dismissed at the admission stage itself."


Works Cited

1. “Able-Bodied husband can't argue that he isn't in position to maintain his wife.” https://www.latestlaws.com/case-analysis/hc-able-bodied-husband-can-t-argue-that-he-isn-t-in-position-to-maintain-his-wife-read-judgment-188767/, 17 January 2022, https://www.latestlaws.com/case-analysis/hc-able-bodied-husband-can-t-argue-that-he-isn-t-in-position-to-maintain-his-wife-read-judgment-188767/.

2. Shalini, Swati. “Maintenance Rights of the Divorced Women under the different religions in India.” MyAdvo.in, https://www.myadvo.in/blog/maintenance-rights-for-divorced-women-under-different-religions/.

3. Sharma, Devika, et al. “Allahabad High Court | Social, Legal and Moral Responsibility of a man to maintain his wife; Appeal dismissed | SCC Blog.” SCC Online, 27 August 2022, https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/08/27/allahabad-high-court-social-legal-and-moral-responsibility-of-a-man-to-maintain-his-wife-appeal-dismissed/.

4. Sharma, Devika, et al. “Labelling husband as alcoholic and womanizer without any basis amounts to 'cruelty' u/S 13(1) HMA, 1955; Bombay High Court grants divorce | SCC Blog.” SCC Online, 26 October 2022, https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/10/26/labelling-husband-as-alcoholic-and-womanizer-without-any-basis-amounts-to-cruelty-u-s-131-hma-1955-bombay-high-court-grants-divorce/.

5. Wankhade, Satyendra. “Labelling husband as 'womaniser', 'alcoholic' in court without evidence amounts to cruelty: Bombay High Court.” Bar and Bench, https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/labelling-husband-as-womaniser-alcoholic-in-court-without-evidence-amounts-to-cruelty-bombay-high-court.