High Court Verdict: Lodging False Police Cases Amounts Cruelty

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The Bombay High Court has ruled that lodging false and baseless cases with the police against the husband and his family members amounts to cruelty.

Facts of the Case

In this case, the couple was married in 2004 and lived together until 2012. As per the husband, the wife had abandoned him for her parents and began living in their home since 2012. Hence, the husband sought divorce on two grounds: cruelty and desertion by his wife.

The woman then filed a number of lawsuits, including bogus criminal accusations, against her husband and his family. When the husband filed a petition to seek divorce in the family court, he pleaded that his wife had put forward bogus charges against him and his family members, which caused him and his family members to endure mental torture. Later, the lower court granted divorce to the husband.

High Court’s Ruling

The high court dismissed the petition filed by the woman, in which she challenged the decree of divorce passed by the family court in February 2023. Additionally, she sought relief from the restitution of conjugal rights. This relief is filed if either husband or wife withdraws from the other’s society without reasonable explanation. The aggrieved party may petition the court for recovery of conjugal rights.

Justice Khobragade ruled that initiating proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act and seeking restitution of conjugal rights do not by themselves constitute cruelty. “But the lodging of various false, baseless reports with the police authorities against the husband, his father, brother, and other family members certainly falls within the ambit of cruelty,” the honorable bench added.

The bench agreed with the order passed by the lower court and held that there was no perversity or illegality in the lower court’s decision to grant divorce. Therefore, the High Court dismissed the woman’s petition seeking the return of her conjugal rights and appealed a February 2023 judgment issued by the family court issuing the decree of divorce.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon