Court:PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE S.S. Saron & Navita Singh
KAWALJEET KAUR Vs. PARAMPAL SINGH On 29 April 2014
Wife misused her right and subjected Husband to mental cruelty. She backed out of compromise and after obtaining lump sum amount filed divorce petition. She also filed criminal cases against respondent and his family under Sections 406, 498A, IPC. Wife left no stone unturned to make life of Husband miserable. Trial Court rightly granted decree of divorce in favour of respondent-husband.
This appeal has been filed by the appellant-wife against the judgment and decree dated 21.1.2012 passed by the learned Additional District Judge (Fast Track Court), Patiala, whereby the petition filed by the respondent-husband was allowed and the marriage between the parties was dissolved.
2. The respondent filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (Act – for short) stating that the marriage between the parties was solemnized according to Sikh rites at Patiala on 15.1.2004. They cohabited at Patiala upto 9.11.2007 and two children namely Jobanpreet Singh and Abhineet Singh were born on 17.7.2004 and 10.5.2006 respectively. Both the children were in the custody of the respondent-husband at the time of filing the petition.
3. The grounds on which the respondent-husband sought divorce were that the behaviour of the appellant-wife was cruel and non-cooperative since the inception of marriage. She did not make any effort to adjust in the family of her husband and insisted that the family property should be transferred in her name. She threatened to implicate the respondent and his family members in criminal case if they did not accede to her demand. The respondent talked to the parents and brother of the appellant for advising her to behave properly, but they did not play any positive role. On 9.11.2007, the respondent had gone to Saudi Arabia on a work permit for two years and from there he sent money to his wife and parents for maintenance. In his absence, however, the appellant harassed his parents and children without any acceptable reason. On 26.11.2008, she left the matrimonial home along with dowry articles and threatened to launch criminal proceedings. She took the younger son with her, but later on the matter was patched up and she demanded Rs. 7,50,000 on 22.1.2009 in exchange for agreeing to divorce the respondent. At that time, she handed over the son Abhineet Singh back to the respondent. An amount of Rs. 3,75,000 was given to her by demand draft and divorce petition was filed by her on the same day i.e. 22.1.2009.
4. On 19.7.2009, the appellant married with Mandeep Singh son of Ajit Singh without a decree of divorce having been passed in her favour and the marriage was also got registered in the office of Registrar, Khamanon, District Fatehgarh Sahib, on 10.8.2009. She got issued a passport by defrauding the passport authorities. The respondent pleaded that the marriage between the parties was existing only for the sake of money because the appellant wanted to grab money and he had not in any way condoned the acts of cruelty, desertion and Bigamy of the appellant.
5. The appellant in her reply to the petition admitted the marriage and the birth of the children. He stated that the parties had met in Guru Nanak Institute, DLF Colony, Patiala and it was a love marriage. However, the parents of the respondent were not happy with the marriage. Before marriage she became pregnant and when the parents of the respondent came to know about it, they took undue benefit of the pregnancy and demanded huge dowry, putting it as a pre-condition for the marriage. Sister of the respondent-Amritpal Kaur also connived with them and an amount of Rs. 2,50,000 along with a car: besides huge amount of jewellery, etc. were given to the respondent and his family. Marriage was performed and an amount of Rs. 2,00,000 was spent on the ceremonies besides the dowry given, as stated above.
6. Regarding the marriage with Mandeep Singh, the appellant totally denied the allegations. She also vehemently denied that her behaviour in her matrimonial home was not proper and that she had treated the respondent with cruelty. She stated that rather three months after the marriage, her in-laws started desiring that the parties should move out of their house and both of them had to take shelter in village Ucha Gaon with the parents of the appellant. At that time, the respondent-husband was not earning anything as he had left the diploma in between, but the parents of the appellant had to give her in marriage with the respondent because of her pregnancy.
7. A Panchayat was convened on 5.9.2004 and mother of the respondent came to take the parties with her and a sum of Rs. 50,000 was spent by the parents of the appellant at that time. The parties started residing together in the house of the respondent-husband, but the behaviour of the family members of the respondent was cruel towards the appellant. Even the respondent beat her many times under the influence of liquor and his family used to blame that the elder son was not born to the appellant from the loins of the respondent. On 12.11.2004, she was ousted from the matrimonial home empty handed and the ‘Streedhan’ was retained by the respondent and his family. She then started residing with her parents. Her father-in-law used to taunt her that he could get Rupees twenty lacs for the marriage of his son, but she had entrapped him.
8. In July, 2006, the respondent met with an accident on which the appellant went to her matrimonial home on 28.7.2006, where she was taken by Sarpanch Lal Khan and Panch Sher Singh, but her life in the matrimonial home was as bad as before.
9. It was admitted by the appellant that the respondent had gone to Saudi Arabia on work visa and she at that time was residing in the upper portion of the house of her husband, but she was not given any maintenance. Only at one point of time, an amount of Rs. 20,000 was sent from there by her husband, but that money was also taken away by the parents of the respondent.
10. Even the respondent stopped speaking with her and started claiming that he had no relations with her. Ultimately, she was thrown out of the matrimonial home on 20.11.2008. She reported against the respondent and his family to the police and during investigation the father of the respondent compromised the matter with the consent of his son and an amount of Rs. 7,50,000 was decided to be paid as lump sum maintenance to the appellant. A compromise was reduced into writing on 22.1.2009 and she received an amount of Rs. 3,75,000 while the remaining amount was to be received by her at the time of divorce. A petition was filed in which her father-in-law had engaged a lawyer for her.
11. It was then pleaded that after the petition for divorce was filed, the parents of the appellant started looking for some suitable match for her and that is why Mandeep Singh son of Ajit Singh came in the picture. She stated that some documents had to be prepared for applying for visa and it then transpired that Mandeep Singh prepared documents for registration of marriage. Those documents were alleged to be false as no marriage of the appellant had taken place with Mandeep Singh. She rather filed a suit for declaration that the certificate of marriage was illegal where Mandeep Singh appeared and made a statement, on the basis of which the suit of the appellant was decreed.
12. Meanwhile, the respondent and his family walked out of the compromise dated 22.1.2009 and the respondent filed the petition for divorce instead of making the remaining payment to the appellant.
13. In the replication, the respondent totally denied the allegations of the appellant and stated that nothing as alleged by the appellant had happened nor the respondent and/or his family had taken undue benefit of the pregnancy of the appellant. It was stated that actually the appellant had colluded with Mandeep Singh to come out of legal implications. She manipulated the decree of declaration in connivance with Mandeep Singh. The Trial Court framed the following issues:
(a) Whether the respondent (now appellant) treated the petitioner (now respondent) with cruelty?
(b) Whether the respondent (now appellant) has deserted the petitioner (now respondent) without any sufficient cause?
(c) Whether the respondent (now appellant) is guilty of Bigamy?
(d) Whether the petition is not maintainable as alleged?
14-15. Learned Counsel for the appellant argued at the outset that the allegation of the respondent that the appellant had entered into marriage with Mandeep Singh was not at all proved on record. Mere production of registration certificate by the respondent did not prove that the appellant was living in adultery or that she had solemnized another marriage, especially when the certificate had already been declared to be null and void in a suit for declaration filed by the appellant against Mandeep Singh. He contended that rather the respondent was taking undue advantage of his own wrong as he and his family made repeated demands of huge sum of money from the appellant and had thrown her out of the matrimonial home. To avoid the consequences, the respondent resorted to seeking divorce by levelling scandalous allegations against the appellant. These arguments are without force because there is no explanation on the part of the appellant as to why the certificate regarding registration of her marriage with one Mandeep Singh was prepared in the first place, leaving aside the fact that it was declared null and void later on. Also, the suit for declaration was a result of obvious collusion between the appellant and Mandeep Singh because she filed the suit and he came and admitted her claim. The registration of marriage between the two of them spoke volumes about the conduct of the appellant and showed clearly that she had relations with Mandeep Singh and for the purpose of registration of the marriage she went before the Registrar concerned and made a statement regarding solemnization of her marriage with Mandeep Singh. The respondent had moved an application in the office of Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, upon which a detailed inquiry was conducted and it was found that despite the subsistence of her marriage with the respondent, the appellant had declared before the competent authority for the purpose of getting passport that she was unmarried. The conduct of the appellant is not only deprecable but also shocking as she being the wife of the respondent, got registered her marriage with Mandeep Singh and in spite of all this declared before the passport authorities that she was unmarried. Such conduct of the appellant was nothing but cruelty towards the respondent.
16. Learned Counsel for the appellant had no valid reason to offer regarding receipt of Rs. 3,75,000 by the appellant under a compromise entered into by her with the respondent that she would receive Rs. 7,50,000 as permanent alimony and the parties would get the marriage dissolved by mutual consent. She received half of the total amount and then filed a divorce petition on the day of compromise Ex. P1 (original compromise is Ex. D18). It was agreed that the appellant would file a petition for divorce as the respondent was out of India at that time and could not personally come for filing a joint petition for divorce and to make a statement in person. The appellant filed the petition but then backed out of the compromise. The petition was withdrawn by the appellant on 28.11.2009. She also did not return the money received by her.
17. It was rightly held by the learned Trial Court that the appellant subjected the respondent to mental cruelty by having relations with Mandeep Singh and also by dishonestly inducing the respondent to part with huge sum of money as she entered into an agreement and then walked out of the same.
18. The appellant also involved the respondent and his family in criminal cases and the FIR lodged by her under Sections 406 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code was cancelled as the parties entered into a compromise on 14.1.2009 with the intervention of the Panchayat. The appellant left no stone unturned to make the life of the respondent miserable. She used to threaten the respondent that she would commit suicide and throw the children in the river so as to involve him and his family in criminal cases. She made complaints before the police and a compromise was effected on 20.12.2008 before the police authorities. At that time, the respondent was in Saudi Arabia and his father had agreed to pay a sum of Rs. 2,000 per month to the appellant till the respondent returned to India and other terms were also agreed to. It is, therefore, clear from the record that the appellant kept troubling the respondent. Panchayats had been convened at different times to put the disputes to an end and according to the compromises/agreements, something or the other was gained by the appellant. She was using cheap tactics to bring about the respondent and his family to agree to her terms. Though the Legislature in its wisdom, made laws for protection of women from domestic violence but all the same we cannot be oblivious to the fact that at times there is misuse of such laws by the wives. It has to be seen according to the facts and circumstances of each case whether or not the wife was exercising her right under the law correctly. In the present case, the appellant misused her right and subjected the respondent to mental cruelty.
19. The Trial Court rightly granted decree of divorce in favour of the respondent-husband.
20. The appeal is devoid of merit and is dismissed.
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