Caveat India

Cruelty as a ground for divorce

Cruelty as a ground for divorce

Cruelty as a ground for divorce- Cruelty could either be mental or physical cruelty or both. It is important to bear in mind that instances of cruelty may differ from case to case. It is the norm that whoever filed a divorce petition on the ground of cruelty will necessarily allege all the instances of cruelty either mental or physical or both  in the Petition. The opposite party will essentially controvert all the allegations . The written statement will usually term those allegations as false, frivolous, baseless, self created and uncorroborated to create pressure to make them succumb to the illegal demands of the Petitioner .You may refer  for more information regarding the same.

Important Judgments

There are various judgments one may rely upon in cases of Cruelty as a ground for divorce.  In the case of Rajeev Chadha Vs. Shama Chadha Nee Shama Kapoor (2012) 188 DLT 313,  the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi observed that the marriage without sex is an anathema and denial of sex in marriage has extremely unfavorable repercussions and there is nothing more fatal to marriage than disappointment in sexual relationship.

In Shakuntala Kumari Vs. Om Prakash Ghai AIR 1983 Delhi 53,  the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi  has observed that  willful denial of sexual relationship by a spouse amounts to cruelty, especially when the parties are newly married and this itself is a ground for grant of divorce.

In  a landmark Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Samar Ghosh Vs. Jaya Ghosh (2007) 4 SCC 511, the Apex Court laid down various acts which may amount to mental cruelty and one of such an example  was unilateral decision of refusal to have intercourse for considerable period of time without there being no physical incapacity or valid reason.

the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in  Nishi Vs. Jagdish Ram 233 (2016) DLT 50 held that the filing of false complaint against the husband and his family members constitutes mental cruelty. Similar observations has been seen in  K. Srinivas Vs. K. Sunita (2014) 16 SCC 34.

Similarly, it has been held by the Supreme Court in Mangayakarasi v. M. Yuvaraj (2020) 3 SCC 786, that an unsubstantiated allegation of dowry demand or such other allegations made against the husband and his family members definitely exposed them to criminal litigation and therefore such acts when unfounded results in cruelty which is a ground for divorce.


Marital disputes are on the rise these days. There are various mediation cells present in every family court in india. It is always advisable to seek the services of mediator initially when the matter is presented in court for an amicable settlement. As it is time consuming if further proceedings can be avoided then it is best to resolve it. However there is always the right of a person to exercise  his or her  rights   to seek justice in cases which are grave .In case of cruelty as a ground for divorce it is important to note that  cruelty when alleged against husband and filing cases of domestic violence or even filing complaint against husband demanding dowry have many times proved to be false and only creating grounds to suppress the husband however there are instances when they are genuine too but in any case it is always advisable to seek the route of mediation as in  most cases it ends in mediation either both parties start living together or  end up with a mutual consent divorce with a divorce settlement in terms of financial securities , custody etc.

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