The bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna rejected the wife’s appeal against the family court order granting divorce.
It reiterated that “marriage without sex is an anathema” and that “there is nothing (more) fatal to marriage than disappointment in sexual relationship”. It observed that the marriage was not consummated on account of resistance by the wife who had filed a police complaint claiming she was harassed for dowry but without giving any “cogent evidence”.
This can also be termed as cruelty, the bench added.
“In the present case, not only did the marriage between the parties subsist for barely 35 days but failed completely on account of deprivation of conjugal rights and non-consummation of marriage,” the court said, referring to the period the woman spent in her matrimonial home.
It cannot be overlooked that such deprivation over a period of more than 18 years itself amounts to mental cruelty.
The court recorded that the couple got married according to Hindu customs and rites in 2004 and the wife soon went back to her parents’ home and did not return. The husband later approached the family court for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion.
In its order, the high court said the family court “rightly concluded” that although the ground of desertion was not proved, the conduct of the wife towards the husband amounted to cruelty, entitling him to the decree of divorce. “Making allegations of dowry harassment resulted in registration of an FIR and the trial to follow can only be termed as an act of cruelty when the appellant has failed to prove even one incident of dowry demand,” the bench said.
The Supreme Court has spoken on “various acts which may amount to mental cruelty and one such illustration was unilateral decision of refusal to have intercourse for a considerable period of time without there being no physical incapacity or valid reason,” the court said.
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