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S. Indrakumari Vs. S. Subbaiah

Judgement

 
Court: Madras High Court

Bench: JUSTICE P. Sathasivam & A.K. Rajan

S. Indrakumari Vs. S. Subbaiah On 13 May 1994

Law Point:
Section 13(1)(ia) — Cruelty : Wilful denial of sexual relationship by spouse, when other spouse anxious for it, would amount to mental cruelty : Family Court rightly granted decree of divorce.

 

 

JUDGEMENT

 

1. Aggrieved by the order of the Principal Family Court Judge, Madras dated 13.8.2002 made in F.C.O.P. No. 390 of 1995 granting divorce, the wife has filed the above appeal.

2. The husband has filed the said O.P., before the Principal Family Court Judge, Madras seeking a decree for divorce and dissolving his marriage with the first respondent therein/appellant herein under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (in short “the Act”).

3. The case of the petitioner is briefly stated hereunder :

The marriage between the petitioner and the first respondent therein/appellant herein was performed on 1.7.1993 at Rajapalayam according to Hindu rites and customs. The marriage was arranged and settled by the elders on 11.12.1993. The nuptial was fixed on 1.7.1993 night between 10.30 and 11.35 p.m. as per the opinion and advice of the Astrologers. But the first respondent refused to cohabit with the petitioner on the first night itself, i.e. on 1.7.1993 and she openly declared that she was not inclined for the marriage and that the marriage was done under compulsion, undue influence, coercion and without her consent. She has stated that she already decided to marry one N. Kannan (second respondent in the O.P., since exonerated) and he alone is her husband and nobody else including the petitioner has a right to touch her either bodily or mentally. The petitioner, who is an Officer in a Bank, was really shocked and he merely kept himself aloof from the first respondent and did not even touch her. On the next day, i.e., on 2.7.1993, after visiting his grand father’s house at Sankarankoil, he returned to Rajapalayam and informed the parents of the first respondent about the incident happened on the previous night. Further, they explained that the first respondent was mentally afraid and everything would be settled and that she was being properly advised. Even on the night of 2.7.1993, she was more adamant. The petitioner was in a state of unexplainable mental agony and shock. The next day i.e., on 3.7.1993, when the petitioner sent for his mother-in-law, she was not available. The first respondent’s brother’s wife met the petitioner and gave some sort of assurance and said that everything would be all right in days to come. Therefore, without creating any problem, the petitioner visited the temple of Lord Muruga at Tiruchendur and both the petitioner and the first respondent went in a car leaving Rajapalayam by 8.30 a.m. and reaching Tiruchendur at about 12.30 p.m. There also, she threatened the petitioner that if he tried to touch her, she will commit suicide by drowning herself in the sea. Immediately, the petitioner contacted his cousin Dr. Muthayya at Tenkasi and requested him to rush immediately to Tiruchendur. He also contacted three brothers of the respondent at Rajapalayam and all of them converged at Tiruchendur. They assured that everything will become all right and on their assurance, the petitioner and the first respondent returned to Madras, as reception was arranged on 5.7.1993 at Hotel Palmgrove.

4. On 5.7.1993, the same story was repeated by the first respondent. On 6.7.1993, the petitioner disclosed all the details to his elder brother Dr. Ambalavanan. Thereupon, he enquired the first respondent and she openly disclosed that she would not be a wife to the petitioner and that she would only go back to the second respondent. On inquiry, the petitioner came to know that there was a love affair between the first respondent and the second respondent. It was also disclosed that she is a drug addict and she has undergone treatment under Dr. Vengal Rao at Madurai, who is a renowned Psychiatrist in India. There was no consummation of marriage till the date of filing of the petition from 1.7.1993 between the petitioner and the first respondent. The second respondent came and approached the uncle of the petitioner and appealed to them to allow the first respondent to come and live with him and advise the parents of the first respondent to give her in marriage to him. This was confirmed by his letter dated 2.7.1994 addressed to the eldest uncle of the petitioner, wherein he has stated that he must marry the first respondent. With these averments, the petitioner has filed the petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty.

5. The first respondent – wife filed a counter statement, wherein she admitted her marriage with the petitioner. However, she denied the allegation that the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the first respondent. She is always ready and willing to live with the petitioner to lead a happy married life. The petition is filed on the ground of adultery and later on, the petitioner has given up the second respondent and this itself will prove that there is no adultery committed by the first respondent and on this ground the petition is liable to be dismissed. The alleged act of adultery is false, frivolous, fabricated and imaginary one. On imaginary grounds and with a view to obtain divorce, the petitioner filed the present petition. The marriage was solemnized with the full consent of the first respondent and the petitioner.

6. During the pendency of the proceedings before the Court below, the petitioner made an endorsement to the effect that the second respondent was given up on 19.10.1995. Based on the evidence of the petitioner as P.W. 1 and the first respondent as R.W. 1, the then Prl. Judge, Family Court came to a conclusion that the petitioner has not made out a case under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Act and dismissed the petition without costs. Against the said order, the petitioner-husband preferred C.M.A. No. 1705 of 1998 before this Court. On 29.1.2002, a Division Bench of this Court set aside the order of the Family Court and remanded the matter to the Family Court, giving liberty to both parties to lead further evidence in respect of “cruelty”. After remand, on the side of the petitioner, Dr. Muthaiah was examined as P.W. 2 and A. Ramachivayam as P.W. 3. On the side of the first respondent-wife, no further evidence was adduced nor any document was marked. Thereafter, the Family Court after determining necessary points for consideration and after analysing the materials placed, arrived at a conclusion that the petitioner has proved that he was subjected to cruelty by the first respondent, allowed the petition and granted the decree for divorce, dissolving the marriage solemnised between the petitioner and the first respondent on 1.7.1993. Aggrieved by the said order, the wife has preferred the present appeal.

7. We have heard Mr. K. Doraisami, learned Senior Counsel for the appellant-wife and Mr. T.R. Rajagopalan, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent-husband.

8. Mr. K. Doraisami, learned Senior Counsel for the appellant, after taking us through both the orders passed by the Family Court, prior to and after the remand and the materials placed, has raised a contention that the Family Court has committed an error in granting divorce by passing the impugned order. He also contended that since both parties lived together only for seven days and the time is very short, and in such a circumstance, the decree for divorce cannot be granted on the ground that the wife has refused to cohabit with the husband. He also contended that there is no reason to disbelieve the version of the wife – R.W. 1.

9. On the other hand, Mr. T.R. Rajagopalan, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent-husband, would contend that in view of the specific case as pleaded and proved by the husband, in the absence of any denial in the counter statement of the wife and inasmuch as the husband has proved that he suffered mental cruelty at the hands of the wife since she refused to cohabit on all the seven days after the marriage, he is entitled to a decree for divorce and the same has been rightly granted by the Family Court, and there is no ground for interference.

10. We have carefully considered the rival submissions.

11. For convenience, we shall refer the parties as arrayed in Family Court.

12. Though in the petition for divorce the petitioner has raised a ground that the first respondent’s consent was being obtained by force and fraud and the petitioner was informed that the first respondent had given consent for the marriage, which amounts to fraud and misrepresentation, at the time of trial, both these grounds were given up. However, the only ground persuaded was that there has been no consummation of marriage and the refusal on the part of the first respondent to cohabit from the date of marriage amounts to cruelty. In such a circumstance, we have to consider whether the petitioner-husband has proved that he was subjected to cruelty and is entitled for divorce on the ground of cruelty ? Further, we have to consider whether wilful denial of sexual relationship by one spouse, when the other spouse is anxious, amounts to cruelty ?

13. We have already referred to the fact that the petitioner has filed a petition for divorce under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act, which section reads as under :

“13. Divorce—(1) Any marriage solemnised, 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) xxx xxx xxx

(i-a) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty. or”

It is clear that it is not only mere cruelty, but the petitioner has to establish that the other party, namely, wife “treated him with cruelty”. It is specifically stated in the petitioner that their marriage took place on 1.7.1993 and the nuptial was fixed on the same day i.e., on 1.7.1993 between 10.30 and 11.35 p.m. However, according to the petitioner, the first respondent – wife refused to cohabit with him on the very same first night i.e., on 1.7.1993 and she openly declared that she was not inclined for the marriage. It is also specifically stated in the petition that on the next day i.e., on 2.7.1993, after spending some time at Sankarankoil, they returned to Rajapalayan and even on the second nuptial night, there was no improvement and she was more adamant and even challenged as to how dare the petitioner was come again to be in the same room with her despite warning. It is further stated that the happenings and the adamant attitude of the wife continued even on 3.7.1993. There was no cohabitation and she refused to allow him to go near her. Further, even at Tiruchendur, she not only refused to cohabit, but she threatened him that if he makes any attempt to touch her, she will commit suicide by jumping in the sea. It is also the case of the petitioner that in view of the adamant attitude of the respondent, he informed his brother Ambalavanan and also brothers of his wife. It is further alleged that on their assurance he returned to Madras and attended the reception on 5.7.1993. Even on the night of 5.7.1993, she refused for cohabitation and disliked him.

14. Though all these details have been specifically stated in the petition dated 10.2.1995, the respondent has not filed a detailed counter statement highlighting her stand. The main contention raised by her in the counter is that inasmuch as the petition was filed on the ground of adultery and later on the second respondent was given up by the petitioner himself, this itself will prove that there was no adultery said to have been committed by the first respondent, and prayed for dismissal of the petition. The other contention is that the marriage was solemnized with full consent and the knowledge of both the first respondent and the petitioner and in such a circumstance, the petition was filed by the petitioner with an ulterior motive. A perusal of the counter statement filed by the respondent shows that she has not denied the specific averments pertaining to her refusal of cohabitation from 1.7.1993 to 5.7.1993 and her attitude towards her husband during those nights. Though Mr. K. Doraisami, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent-wife, contended that in view of the fact that she is always ready and willing to join with the petitioner-husband and because of the said stand, she has not denied all the averments in her counter affidavit, the fact remains that the material statement of facts, particularly her refusal to cohabit with her husband from 1.7.1993 to 5.7.1993 has not been denied.

15. Now, we shall consider the oral and documentary evidence let in by both parties. The petitioner-husband as P.W. 1 has specifically reiterated what he had stated in his petition, particularly regarding refusal of his wife for cohabitation from 1.7.1993 to 5.7.1993 and her attitude, threat, etc., in those nights. In chief examination he has deposed,

“xxx xxx xxx”

It is seen that he explained all the happenings on 1.7.1993 to their relatives. Even on the next day, after visiting Sankarankoil, she refused to cohabit with him. He deposed that,

“xxx xxx xxx”

While staying at Tiruchendur, P.W. 1 explained that,

“xxx xxx xxx”

Even in the cross-examination, he once again reiterated that from the date of marriage i.e., 1.7.1993 upto the date of reception i.e., 5.7.1993, the respondent-wife refused to cohabit with him.

16. After remand, Dr. N. Muthaiah was examined as P.W. 2. He is related to both petitioner and the respondent. He deposed before the Court that he received a phone call from Subbaiah (petitioner) at about 7.00 p.m. on 3.7.1993 from Tiruchendur informing him (P.W. 2) that his wife is not interested in living with him and also explaining the threat made by her. He further deposed that he rushed to Tiruchendur after informing the brothers of the first respondent. He also explained the medicine prescribed by him. He further explained that after discussion, all of them went to bed and left to the place of reception on the next day.

17. One A. Namachivayam, the then Executive Director of Indian Overseas Bank was examined as P.W. 3. He was examined only to explain the fact that N. Kannan, second respondent (since exonerated), wrote a letter to him – Ex. P2, wherein he requested him (P.W. 3) to arrange marriage between himself (N. Kannan) and the first respondent by using his good office. Since the petitioner is mainly reciting his case on the ground of cruelty, we are of the view that it is unnecessary for us to consider the evidence of P.Ws. 2 and 3 further.

18. Let us consider the evidence of R.W. 1. She admitted her marriage with the petitioner, which took place on 1.7.1993 at Rajapalayam. With reference to her refusal for cohabitation on 1.7.1993, she has stated that,

“xxx xxx xxx”

She also admitted that even on the second day she did not cohabit with the petitioner. She deposed that,

“xxx xxx xxx”

Regarding the statement of the petitioner that he informed and explained about her attitude on the last two days i.e., on 1.7.1993 and 2.7.1993 to her brothers and parents, she admitted all those events as correct. In chief examination itself she deposed that,

“xxx xxx xxx”

19. She also admitted that even at Tiruchendur, she did not cohabit with the petitioner. Though she has stated in her evidence that after reception on 5.7.1993, the parents of the petitioner had thrown away her articles and requested her to leave the matrimonial home, as rightly pointed out by the learned Senior Counsel for the husband, there is no such plea in the counter statement. We have already referred to the stand taken in the counter statement and in the absence of a specific plea, no amount of oral evidence can be let in. In cross-examination she fairly admitted that though the petitioner is a good man she lived with him for seven days and all the seven days she did not cohabit with him. Though it is stated that due to fear, she was not willing for cohabitation, as rightly pointed out, even before marriage, both of them were talking to each other and discussing so many matters very often. As a matter of fact, after betrothal, even prior to the marriage, she met him at Rajapalayam. In such a circumstance, it cannot be accepted that only due to fear and shyness, she refused to cohabit with him. From the details furnished in the petition and also of the fact that there is no specific denial in the counter statement, as well as the evidence of P.W. 1 and R.W. 1, it is clear that from the date of marriage i.e., 1.7.1993 till her (R.W. 1) leaving the matrimonial home, on 6.7.1993, she did not cohabit with the petitioner, in spite of his desire for the same.

20. With the said factual finding, let us consider whether the refusal for cohabitation amounts to cruelty ? Mr. K. Doraisami, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent-wife, relying on the following case laws, highlighted the standard of proof in these type of cases.

“1. R. Balasubramanian v. Vijayalakshmi Balasubramanian, II (1999) DMC 396 (SC)=VII (1999) SLT 19=AIR 1999 SC 3070; 2. Vira Reddi v. Kistamma, AIR 1969 Mad. 235; 3. K. Narayanan v. K. Sreedevi, I (1989) DMC 505 (DB)=AIR 1990 Ker. 151; 4. V. Bhagat v. Mrs. D. Bhagat, II (1993) DMC 568 (SC)=AIR 1994 SC 710, and 5. Tamizh Selvi v. Arumugam, I (1991) DMC 296=1990 TLNJ 237.”

21. In the light of the facts and materials placed before us, and upon carefully perusing those decisions, we find that there is absolutely no quarrel with regard to the proposition of law laid down in those cases. It is also clear that there must be clear evidence to show that the wife wanted to stop cohabitation permanently with the husband. If the evidence is sleek and slender, decree for divorce cannot be granted on that basis. In our case, we have already referred to the specific averments made in the petition by the husband, absence of specific denial in the counter statement by the wife and the evidence of P.W. 1 and R.W. 1. We have also referred to the admission of R.W. 1 regarding her refusal for cohabitation from the date of nuptial i.e., 1.7.1993 till she left the matrimonial home on 6.7.1993. In such a circumstance, while holding that we do agree with the principle laid down in those cases, in the light of the factual details, we are of the view that the same are not helpful to the case of the respondent-wife.

22. Mr. T.R. Rajagopalan, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner – husband has very much relied on a recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Parveen Mehta v. Inderjit Mehta, IV (2002) SLT 381=2002 (5) SCC 706, which supports the stand taken by the husband. Their Lordships after referring “treating the petitioner with cruelty” in Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Act have concluded.

“14. … Under the statutory provision, cruelty includes both physical and mental cruelty. The legal conception of cruelty and the kind of degree of cruelty necessary to amount to a matrimonial offence has not been defined under the Act. Probably, the Legislature has advisedly refrained from making any attempt at giving a comprehensive definition of the expression that may cover all cases, realising the danger in making such attempt. The accepted legal meaning in England as also in India of this express, which is rather difficult to define, had been ‘conduct of such character as to have caused danger to life, limb or health (bodily or mental), or as to give rise to a reasonable, apprehension of such danger’ (Russel v. Russel and Mullas Hindu Law, 17th Edn., Vol. II, p. 87).

The provision in Clause (i-a) of Section 13(1), which was introduced by the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act 68 of 1976, simply states that “treated the petitioner with cruelty”. The object, it would seem, was to give a definition exclusive or inclusive, which will amply meet every particular act or conduct and not fail in some circumstances. By the amendment the Legislature must, therefore, be understood to have left to the Courts to determine on the facts and circumstances of each case whether the conduct amounts to cruelty. This is just as well since actions of men are so diverse and infinite that it is almost impossible to expect a general definition which could be exhaustive and not fail in some cases. It seems permissible, therefore, to enter a caveat against any judicial attempt in that direction (Mulla’s Hindu Law, 17th Edn., Vol. II p. 87).

15. This Court in the case of N.G. Dastane (Dr.) v. S. Dastane, examined the matrimonial ground of cruelty as it was stated in the old Section 10(1)(b) and observed that any inquiry covered by that provision had to be whether the conduct charged as cruelty as cruelty is of such a character as to cause in the mind of the petitioner a reasonable apprehension that it will be harmful or injurious to live with the respondent. It was further observed that it was not necessary, as under the English law, that the cruelty must be of such a character as to cause danger to life, limb or health, or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such a danger though, of course, harm or injury to health, reputation, the working character or the like would be an important consideration in determining whether the conduct of the respondent amounts to cruelty or not. In essence, what must be taken as fairly settled position is that though the clause does not in terms say so, it is abundantly clear that the application of the rule must depend on the circumstances of each case; that “cruelty” contemplated is conduct of such type that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. The treatment accorded to the petitioner must be such as to cause an apprehension in the mind of the petitioner that cohabitation will be so harmful or injurious that she or he cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent having regard to the circumstances of each case, keeping always in view the character and condition of the parties, their status, environment and social values, as also the customs and traditions governing them.

17. This Court, construing the question of mental cruelty under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Act, in the case of G.V.N. Kameswara Rao v. G. Jabilli, observed : (SCC pp. 303-304, para 12)

‘12. The Court has to come to a conclusion whether the acts committed by the counter-petitioner amount to cruelty, and it is to be assessed having regard to the status of the parties in social life, their customs, traditions and other similar circumstances. Having regard to the sanctity and importance of marriages in a community life, the Court should consider whether the conduct of the counter-petitioner is such that it has become intolerable for the petitioner to suffer any longer and to live together is impossible, and then only the Court can find that there is cruelty on the part of the counter-petitioner. This is to be judged not from a solitary incident, but on an overall consideration of all relevant circumstances.’

19. Clause (i-a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the Act is comprehensive enough to include cases of physical as also mental cruelty. It was formerly thought that actual physical harm or reasonable apprehension of it was the prime ingredient of this matrimonial offence. That doctrine is now repudiated and the modern view has been that mental cruelty can cause even more grievous injury and create in the mind of the injured spouse reasonable apprehension that it will be harmful or unsafe to live with the other party. The principle that cruelty may be inferred from the whole facts and matrimonial relations of the parties and interaction in their daily life disclosed by the evidence is of greater cogency in cases falling under the head of mental cruelty. This mental cruelty has to be established from the facts (Mulla’s Hindu Law, 17th Edn., Vol. II, p. 91).

20. In the case in hand the foundation of the case of “cruelty” as a matrimonial offence is based on the allegations made by the husband that right from day one after marriage the wife was not prepared to cooperate with him in having sexual intercourse on account of which the marriage could not be consummated. When the husband offered to have the wife treated medically, she refused. As the condition of her health deteriorated she became irritating and unreasonable in her behaviour towards the husband. She misbehaved with his friends and relations. She even abused him , scolded him and caught hold of his shirt collar in presence of elderly persons like Shri S.K. Jain. This Court in the case of Dr. N.G. Dastane v. S. Dastane, observed : (SCC p. 346, para 56)

‘Sex plays an important role in marital life and cannot be separated from other factors which lend to matrimony a sense of fruition and fulfilment.’

21. Cruelty for the purpose of Section 13(1)(i-a) is to be taken as a behaviour by one spouse towards the other, which causes reasonable apprehension in the mind of the latter that it is not safe for him or her to continue the matrimonial relationship with the other. Mental cruelty is a state of mind and feeling with one of the spouses due to the behaviour or behavioral pattern by the other. Unlike the case of physical cruelty, mental cruelty is difficult to establish by direct evidence. It is necessarily a matter of interference to be drawn from the facts and circumstances of the case….”

23. In the above referred case, it is seen that right from the beginning, the matrimonial relationship with the parties was not normal; the spouses stayed together at the matrimonial home for a short period of six months, the respondent had been trying to persuade the appellant and her parents to agree to go for proper medical treatment to improve her health so that the parties may lead a normal sexual life; all such attempts proved futile. The appellant – wife even refused to subject herself to medical test as advised by the Doctor and she stayed away from the matrimonial home and the respondent was deprived of her Company. In such a circumstance, Their Lordships have held that,

“22. ….the respondent who was enjoying normal health was likely to feel a sense of anguish and frustration in being deprived of normal cohabitation that every married person expects to enjoy and also social embarrassment due to the behaviour of the appellant. Further, the conduct of the appellant in approaching the police complaining against her husband and his parents and in not accepting the advice of the superior judicial officer Mr. S.K. Jain and taking a false plea in the case that she had conceived but unfortunately there was miscarriage, are bound to cause a sense of mental depression in the respondent. The cumulative effect of all these on the mind of the respondent, in our considered view, amounts to mental cruelty caused due to stubborn attitude and inexplicably unreasonable conduct of the appellant.”

We have already referred to the attitude of the respondent-wife, who is adamant in not having cohabitation with her husband from the date of marriage till her leaving the matrimonial home on 6.7.1993. Undoubtedly, the petitioner-husband due to the conduct of his wife, got frustrated and deprived of the normal cohabitation that every married person, expects to enjoy, and in our considered view, this amounts to mental cruelty caused due to unreasonable attitude of the respondent-wife.

24. In the case of Srikant v. Anuradha, AIR 1980 Kar. 8, a Division Bench has held that,

“Legal cruelty is not confined to causing physical acts of injury by one spouse to another : there may be cruelty without an intention to injure. Failure to comply with one of the essential obligations of the marital life by the husband would amount to subjecting the wife to cruelty. It is one of the essential and principal obligations on the part of the husband to satisfy the sexual urge of his wife which is a natural instinct. Married life without a sexual life will be a curse to the wife. Thus, failure to or inability to or refusal to effectuate the sexual intercourse by the husband without any reason on the part of the wife, would amount to subjecting the wife to cruelty. Although the term “cruelty” is not defined by the Act and to define the said expression is to limit its application which is not advisable inasmuch as it is not at all possible to comprehend the human conduct and behaviour for all time to come; but it may safely be stated that any conduct of the husband which causes disgrace to the wife or subjects her to a course of annoyance and indignity amounts to legal cruelty. False accusation would also amount to cruelty as the same will lead to mental torture.”

25. In the case of Anil Bhardwaj v. Smt. Nirmlesh Bhardwaj, AIR 1987 Del. 111, Their Lordships have held that, refusal to have sexual intercourse amounts to cruelty on the other party.

26. In the case of Radheshyam Sharma v. Kusum Sharma, I (1990) DMC 290, wife lived for 5 days with husband did not allow sexual intercourse, the petition filed by the husband under Section 13(1)(i-a) for divorce on the ground of wife’s cruelty was dismissed by the Trial Court and on appeal, the Madhya Pradesh High Court allowed the appeal and granted divorce on the ground of cruelty.

27. All the above decisions cited by the learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner-husband, clearly show that refusal to have sexual intercourse amounts to cruelty on the other party. A normal and healthy sexual relationship is one of the basic ingredients of a happy and harmonious marriage. No doubt, if this is not possible due to ill-health on the part of one of the spouses, it may not amount to cruelty, depending on the circumstances of the case. But wilful denial of sexual relationship by a spouse, when the other spouse is anxious for it, would amount to mental cruelty, especially when the parties are young and newly married. We have already concluded that the petitioner-husband has established the case that from the date of their marriage, i.e., 1.7.1993 till the date of their separation, i.e., the date of leaving his wife from the matrimonial home on 6.7.1993, she refused to cohabit with him and did not indulge in sexual intercourse; and thus he was deprived of a happy and harmonious marriage. Accordingly, we hold that the petitioner-husband suffered mental cruelty and he has established and proved the same by acceptable evidence. The Family Court considered all these aspects and rightly granted decree for divorce; accordingly, we are in agreement with the said conclusion and there is no valid ground to take a different view.

28. In the light of what is stated above, we do not find any error or infirmity in the order impugned. Consequently, the appeal fails and the same is dismissed. No costs.

29. In view of the dismissal of the main appeal, connected C.M.Ps. are also dismissed.

Appeal and C.M.Ps. dismissed.

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