Home > Divorce > SC- Suicide threats ground for divorce but still Grants 2 Lacs to Wife. Judgement Copy

SC- Suicide threats ground for divorce but still Grants 2 Lacs to Wife. Judgement Copy

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA 
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION 
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8402 OF 2011 


(Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No. 29641 of 2009) 


Pankaj Mahajan .... Appellant(s) 
Versus 
Dimple @ Kajal .... Respondent(s) 

J U D G M E N T 
P.Sathasivam,J. 
1) Leave granted. 
2) This appeal is directed against the final judgment and 
order dated 06.08.2009 passed by the High Court of Punjab & 
Haryana at Chandigarh in FAO No. M-123 of 2006 whereby 
the High Court allowed the appeal filed by the respondent 
herein and set aside the judgment and decree dated 
29.04.2006 passed by the Additional District Judge(Ad-hoc)cum-
Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court, Ropar filed under 
Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (in short ‘the Act’). 


3) Brief facts: 

(a) The marriage of Pankaj Mahajan-appellant husband and 
Dimple @ Kajal, respondent-wife, was solemnized on 
02.10.2000 at Amritsar. After the marriage, the parties 
cohabited and resided together as husband and wife at 
Amritsar in the parents’ house of the appellant-husband, but 
later on shifted to a rented house in Tilak Nagar, Shivala 
Road, Amritsar. On 11.07.2001, a female child was born, who 
is now in the custody of the respondent-wife. 
(b) After the marriage, the appellant-husband found that the 
respondent-wife was acting in very abnormal manner, as she 
used to abruptly get very aggressive, hostile and suspicious in 
nature. In a fit of anger, she used to give threats that she 
would bring an end to her life by committing suicide and 
involve the appellant-husband and his family members in a 
criminal case, unless she was provided a separate residence. 
On one occasion, she attempted to commit suicide by jumping 
from the terrace but was saved because of timely intervention 
of the appellant-husband. 

(c) Succumbing to the pressure of the respondent-wife, the 
appellant-husband shifted to a rented house on 28.11.2001 at 
a monthly rent of Rs.3,200/-and started living with her, but 
the behaviour of the respondent-wife became more aggressive 
and she repeated threats of suicide even in the rented house. 
On enquiry, the appellant-husband came to know that the 
respondent-wife was suffering from acute mental depression 
coupled with schizophrenia even prior to the marriage and was 
taking treatment for the same. The appellant-husband hoping 
that the respondent-wife would become alright took her to 
various doctors, but her mental condition did not improve and 
she became more and more violent and aggressive. She 
insulted and humiliated the appellant-husband in front of his 
colleagues and relatives several times and even on one 
occasion she pushed the appellant-husband from the staircase 
causing fracture in his right forearm. 
(d) On 23.03.2002, the appellant-husband wrote a letter to 
his mother-in-law stating therein that the respondent-wife was 
repeatedly threatening to commit suicide and even on 
19.04.2002, he wrote a letter to the SSP, Amritsar regarding 

the factum of repeated threats to commit suicide given by the 
respondent-wife. On 24.05.2002, the appellant-husband filed 
a petition under Section 13 of the Act in the District Court at 
Amritsar for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce. By 
order dated 29.04.2006, the Additional District Judge, Ropar, 
granted a decree of divorce in favour of the appellant-husband. 

(e) Being aggrieved by the above-said order, the respondent-
wife filed FAO No. M-123 of 2006 before the High Court of 
Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh. The High Court, by order 
dated 06.08.2009, allowed the appeal filed by the respondent-
wife and set aside the judgment and decree dated 29.04.2006 
passed by the Additional District Judge(Ad-hoc)-cum-
Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court, Ropar. Aggrieved by the 
said decision, the appellant-husband has preferred this appeal 
before this Court by way of special leave petition. 
4) Heard Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, learned senior counsel for the 
appellant-husband and Mr. B.K. Satija, learned counsel for 
the respondent-wife. 

Discussion: 

5) It is not in dispute that the petition for dissolution of 
marriage for granting a decree of divorce under Section 13 of 
the Act came to be filed by the appellant-husband before the 
District Court at Amritsar. The marriage was solemnized 
between the parties at Amritsar on 02.10.2000. Since the 
case of the appellant-husband as well as the respondent-wife 
has already been narrated, there is no need to traverse the 
same once again. The fact remains that it was the appellant-
husband who approached the court for a decree of divorce on 
the grounds of ‘cruelty’ and ‘unsound mind’ of the respondent-
wife which is incurable, hence we have to see whether the 
appellant-husband has made out a case for divorce on these 
grounds. 
6) Section 13 of the Act, which is useful for our present 
purpose, 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 
(i-a) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, treated the 
petitioner with cruelty; or 
(ib) xxx 
(ii) xxx 

(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been 
suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder 
of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner 
cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. 
Explanation .—In this clause,— 

(a) the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, 
arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic 
disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind and 
includes schizophrenia;…..” 
Section 13 specifies the grounds on which a decree of divorce 
may be obtained by either party to the marriage. The onus of 
proving that the other spouse is incurably of unsound mind or 
is suffering from mental disorder lies on the party alleging it. 
It must be proved by cogent and clear evidence. 

7) In the case on hand, since the appellant-husband has 
approached the District Court for a decree of divorce, the onus 
is on him to prove the grounds put-forth by him. As regards 
the ground alleged by the appellant-husband for a decree of 
divorce i.e. the respondent-wife is suffering from unsound 
mind/mental disorder/schizophrenia, apart from his own 
evidence as PW-4, various Doctors, who treated her and other 
witnesses were also examined. From the side of the appellant-
husband, Dr. Paramjit Singh (PW-1), Dr. Ravinder Mohan 
Sharma (PW-2), Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3) and Dr. Gurpreet 


Inder Singh Miglani (PW-7), who had given treatment to the 

respondent-wife for mental disorder, were examined. 

8) Dr. Paramjit Singh (PW-1), Professor and Head Psychiatry 

Department, Medical College, Amritsar in his evidence stated 

as follows:-

“The respondent remained admitted in my Department at 
Amritsar from 17.12.2001 to 28.12.2001. This disease is 
Bipolar Affective Disorder. I treated her during this period. 
She was admitted in Emergency because her disease was in 
quite serious stage. In this disease, the patient can commit 
suicide. When she came, she was aggressive and irritable. If 
the proper treatment is not given to the respondent then her 
aggressive nature can be prolonged. The respondent Kajal 
was treated by me by giving electric shock for four times 
during her stay in the ward M.R.I. i.e. Magnetic Resonance 
Imaging. MRI has got no concern with the disease with 
which the respondent was suffering. This disease is 
treatable but not curable. I have seen the certificate issued 
by me which is Ex.P1. It bears my signatures and is correct 
Ex. P2 i.e. Discharge Certificate. I have brought the original 
record of the Department concerning the respondent both indoor 
as well as out-door. A certified copy of the same 
attested by me is Ex. P3. These are correct according to the 
original record brought by me today in the court. The 
respondent was brought to the Hospital for her admission 
and treatment by Sh. S.K. Mahajan son of later Sh. Gian 
Chand and Pankaj Mahajan. I have seen the receipts today 
in the court which relate to our hospital and the same are 
Ex. P4 to Ex. P7 and Ex. P8 is the receipt regarding room 
rent of our Hospital. On 08.10.2002, father of the 
respondent had brought her to our hospital and she was 
treated by me as well as other doctors of department of our 
hospital from 08.10.2002. After the discharge from the 
Hospital, the respondent was brought to our hospital for 
treatment by her father on 22.01.2002, 02.02.2002, 
09.02.2002, 15.04.2002, 08.08.2002, 08.10.2002, 
21.11.2002, 05.02.2003 and 20.06.2003.” 

(Emphasis supplied) 


In cross-examination, he admitted that when the respondent-

wife was discharged from the hospital, she was not perfectly 

alright, however, she was able to return home. He further 

admitted that in the original record of Ex. P3 some entries 

were made by him and some by junior doctors, who worked 

with him. All the entries made therein are correct. He also 

stated that during the treatment, he did not notice abnormal 

behaviour of the respondent-wife. 

9) Dr. Ravinder Mohan Sharma (PW-2), Senior Medical 

Officer, Punjab Mental Hospital, Amritsar, stated as under: 

“According to file No. 57914 the patient was examined in the 
out door by Dr. Charu Chawla, Senior Resident whose 
handwriting I identified as she has been working with me. 
After examining the patient and recording the history, she 
has diagnosed her to be a case of Bipolar Affective Disorder 
with which I agreed and advised her treatment in my own 
hand. There is another entry dated 16.01.2002 again in my 
own hand where I had advised her treatment. The second 
file No. 58803 is in the hand of Dr. Purnima Singh, who after 
examining presented the case to Dr. Manjit Singh who made 
a diagnosis of depressive episode and advised her medical 
treatment dated 21.02.2002. I identified the handwriting of 
Dr. Purnima Singh and Dr. Manjit Singh as I had been 
working with them. I have seen the original outdoor ticket of 
respondent and the same are Ex. P11 and Ex. P12. As per 
the history recorded in file No. 58803, there is a mention of 
suicide ideas and threats and it is recorded that she had 
attempted suicide once. As per the record, hers is a history 
of abusive and irritable behaviour. On 16.01.2002 she was 
advised injection by me because she was irritable and 
restless. It is not a simple yes or no answer to the question 


whether the disease is curable or not. It is an episodic 
illness which patient getting episodes of mental illness and 
with treatment in between she can remain normal. The 
intensity and frequency of these episodes is highly 
unpredictable and varies from patient to patient. Generally, 
the frequency increases with every episode. The disease of 
the respondent is treatable but cannot be definitely say 
curable. MRI has got nothing to do with this disease of 
respondent.” (Emphasis supplied) 

In cross-examination, he reaffirmed what he had stated in 

examination-in-chief. 

10) Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3), M.D. Psychiatry, 

Dharampur, District Solan, H.P. stated as follows:


“Patient Dimple, aged 23 years, female (single) d/o Shri Prem 
Kumar, village Shivaji Nagar, House No. 810/11 Ludhiana 
was admitted on 22.05.1998 and discharged on 06.06.1998. 
She was suffereing from mental disorder at that time. She 
was diagnosed as Chronic Paramoid Schizophrenia for the 
last four years. She got admitted by her father Shri Prem 
Kumar, and the history of the patient was described to me. I 
have recorded the history as told by her father. He told that 
she was having mental symptoms for the last 4 to 5 years. 
The sleep was less. She was having acute psychotic 
symptoms at the time of admission. I have mentioned the 
history of the patient in the register which I have brought 
today, and the attested true copy of the same is Ex.PW3/As 
she was admitted in-door because she showed acute mental 
symptoms. She had paranoid symptoms. She was suicidal 
and also she could harm herself and others. The patient 
was restless and she could harm and attack others as well, 
and could cause injury. It has been recorded in the history 
of the patient that her Nana had been suffering from the 
mental disease. There was no test for diagnosing this 
disease from which the respondent was suffering. Only the 
history tells about the earlier condition of the patient. I 
cannot say if the disease for which the respondent was 
suffering is definitely curable or not. This disease is known 


for relapses. There is no direct relationship in the stress or 
strain with the disease. This disease is not related to nose or 
throat. There can be no finding in MRI regarding this kind of 
disease. There may be suicidal tendency of such type of 
person suffering from this disease. The respondent was 
admitted in the hospital due to abnormal behaviour. I had 
observed that she passed stool in her cloth, she has visual 
hallucination. During her admission, she also stated that 
she wanted to marry her cousin and she was also laughing 
herself. She was admitted twice in my mental Hospital at 
Dharampur. I got signatures of father of the respondent in 
my register, whenever she got admitted by her father in my 
hospital and the register bears the signatures of her father. 
Second time, she was admitted by her father Prem Kumar on 
28.09.1999 and was discharged on 05.10.1999. That time 
she was more excited and more elated and at that time the 
diagnosis was quarry mania. This time she did not have any 
paranoid symptoms. Her address was recorded this time 
810/11 Shivaji Nagar, Ludhiana. Usually, if patient remains 
symptoms free for two years they can get married, but other 
partner should know the problem so that the treatment 
should be continued.” 

(Emphasis supplied) 

In cross-examination, PW-3 stated that during the treatment 

in his hospital, the respondent-wife responded very well to the 

treatment. No suicidal action was taken by her during the 

treatment in his hospital for the second time. He also stated 

that if the patient remained symptoms free then she is 

manageable. According to him, as per the records, the 

respondent-wife was manageable. 


11) Dr. Gurpreet Inder Singh Miglani (PW-7), Associate 

Professor and Incharge, Department of Psychiatry, Guru Ram 

Dass Medical Hospital, Amritsar stated as under:


“I remained posted in Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Charitable 
Hospital at Ludhiana from 1995 to 1998. I was working 
there as Consultant for Psychiatry. I have seen the original 
file produced in the Court today relating to Dimple d/o Prem 
Kumar r/o Shastri Nagar, H.No. 257-A Ludhiana. Dimple 
was got admitted in our Hospital on 15.06.1996 at 06:50 

a.m. by her father Prem Kumar in the Emergency Ward. She 
was suffering from a very violent behaviour and she has to 
be given Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT) on the same day 
in the operation theater. Subsequently also five ECTs were 
given as her violence was not being controlled along with 
other anti psychotic drugs. A diagnosis of F 2004 was made 
according to ICD 10 at the time of discharge on 15.07.1996. 
She was labeled as suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia 
with incomplete remission and discharged on stable 
condition. Due consent for ECTs in operation theater under 
general anesthesia were taken from the father of the 
patient.” 
(Emphasis supplied) 

In cross-examination, he has stated that he cannot say exactly 

about the disease of the respondent-wife whether it can be 

treatable or not at this stage. He further stated that the 

disease of the respondent can be cured or it can aggravate 

after a lapse of time. 

12) It is relevant to point out that the documents produced 

from the side of the respondent-wife, particularly, medical 


report issued by Dr. Harjeet Singh, Consultant Psychiatrist, 
RW-4 shows as: 

“Impression: Bipolar Affective (Mood) Disorder, currently in 

remission.” 

“Advice: marital therapy for the couple. Follow up as and 

when required.” 
The said Report has been marked as Annexure R10. A fair 
typed copy of relevant extract of Ex. P3 shows that “Mood 
according to patient is euthenics.” The Annexure along with 
the counter affidavit of the respondent-wife filed in this Court, 
particularly, Certificate issued by the Doctor refers “suicide 
threats made by her on some occasions”. 
13) The appellant-husband was examined as PW-4. 
According to him, the marriage with respondent-wife was 
solemnized on 02.10.2000 and it was an arranged marriage. 
After marriage, both of them went to Vaishno Devi, however, in 
the meanwhile he noticed some strange facial expressions and 
behaviour of his wife-Dimple. He subsequently came to know 
that she was suffering from some serious disease. She used to 
become annoyed and angry on petty issues, abuse and fight 
with him, flaunt her father’s status and influence, comb her 
hair throughout the day, cry like children, apply brakes of a 


moving vehicle, call strangers in the house and offer them tea. 
Even once she called a washerman in the house and gave him 
Rs. 200/-unnecessarily and when he said ‘thanks’ she 
immediately snatched the money from his hands and slapped 
him for no reason and, thereafter, she abused him and pushed 
him out of the house. According to him, such things had 
become her everyday chores. She used to wake up very late in 
the morning. Whenever his mother and sister called her to 
join them, she started abusing and insulting them. She used 
to call his mother stupid and his sister as wretched. One day, 
when his friend Sumit came to their house, she insulted him 
when he was sitting in the drawing room on the ground floor 
and when the appellant-husband was coming down to join 
him, she pushed him from stairs and started laughing, as a 
result, he fell down and got fractured. She was in the habit of 
listening to phone calls of Madan Lal, the landlord (PW-5) and 
used to abuse his relatives over phone. One day, when the 
landlord (PW-5) told them that he is fed up with the appellant 
and his family and asked to leave the house immediately 
thereupon, the respondent-Dimple slapped him on his face for 


which he had to apologise him for her acts. Even, one day, 
she threw the infant child towards him. 
14) In order to show that his marriage was an arranged one 
he explained that he knows the father of the respondent-wife 
prior to the marriage as he was his Boss in Life Insurance 
Corporation office, Amritsar Division. He worked under him 
for a period of 6-8 months. He further explained that the 
behaviour of the respondent-wife came to his notice after 1½ 
months’ after their marriage and he immediately disclosed this 
fact to her father. The treatment was given to the respondent-
wife for the first time on 06.09.2001 for her abnormal 
behaviour. 
15) Another important witness examined on the side of the 
appellant-husband is Madan Lal (PW-5), the landlord, who 
rented his house to them. In his evidence, PW-5 deposed that 
he is resident of H.No. 62, Tilak Nagar, Amritsar and his wife 
is also residing with him. He rented out a portion of the 
building to the appellant-husband and respondent-wife which 
was on the first floor. He and his wife were residing on the 
ground floor. According to PW-5, the respondent-wife usually 


remained sitting in the portion of his house during the day 
time where he is residing with his family unless and until the 
appellant-husband return home. She used to sit with his 
daughter and daughter-in-law and remained talking with 
them. She also quarrels with his wife and daughter due to the 
use of telephone. He explained that his daughter-in-law told 
him that the respondent-wife often threatens to commit 
suicide. The High Court, without looking into the evidence of 
Madan Lal (PW-5), erroneously concluded that his evidence 
was of no help. On the other hand, PW-5 has specifically 
narrated the behaviour of the respondent with his wife, 
daughter-in-law and the agony he himself had undergone and 
highlighted all those details in the Court. 
16) Apart from the above oral evidence, the appellant-
husband has also pressed into service a copy of an affidavit of 
the respondent-wife i.e. Annexure-R3. In the said affidavit, 
the respondent-wife has stated that she threatened to commit 
suicide so many times to her in-laws and she even tried to 
commit suicide by way of jumping from the roof of the house 
on the intervening night of 19-20.09.2001 but could not 


succeed due to timely intervention of her husband. She also 
stated that she realized that her attempt to commit suicide 
was at the instance of her parents and now she is repentant 
for her actions for threatening to commit suicide and apologise 
for the same with the assurance not to repeat such type of 
actions in future. 
17) Though the trial Court accepted the claim of cruelty, the 
High Court reversed the said conclusion and completely 
rejected the claim of divorce even under unsound mind. In the 
impugned judgment, though the High Court has adverted to 
the evidence of four doctors, without proper appreciation, 
arrived at an erroneous conclusion that mere evidence of 
mental illness is not sufficient to seek decree for divorce. In 
spite of abundant materials, unfortunately, the High Court 
has erroneously concluded that only wordings of Section 
13(1)(iii) of the Act were merely reproduced without adverting 
to the facts of the case. According to the High Court, 
necessary materials were not pleaded. We are unable to 
accept the said conclusion. Without proper discussion and 
adequate reasons, the High Court rejected the evidence of the 


appellant-husband as PW-4. A perusal of his evidence clearly 
show the agony and treatment meted out immediately after the 
marriage due to mental disorder/unsound mind of the 
respondent-wife. 
18) From the materials placed on record, we are satisfied that 
the appellant-husband has brought cogent materials on record 
to show that the respondent-wife is suffering from mental 
disorder, i.e., Schizophrenia. From the side of the appellant-
husband, various doctors and other witnesses were examined 
to prove that the respondent-wife was suffering from mental 
disorder. We have already extensively quoted the statements 
of Dr. Paramjit Singh (PW-1), Dr. Ravinder Mohan Sharma 
(PW-2), Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3) and Dr. Gurpreet Inder 
Singh Miglani (PW-7) – all the four doctors/Psychiatrists who 
treated the respondent-wife, prescribed medicines and also 
expressed the view that it is “incurable”. Even the respondent-
wife and her father themselves admitted in their cross-
examination that the respondent had taken treatment from 
the said Doctors for mental illness. Thus, it is proved beyond 
doubt that the respondent-wife is suffering from mental 


disorder/Schizophrenia and it is not reasonably expected to 
live with her and the appellant-husband has made out a case 
for a decree of divorce and the decree should have been 
granted in favour of the appellant-husband and against the 
respondent-wife. 
19) The High Court, by impugned order, negatived the plea of 
the appellant-husband under Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act on 
the ground that the appellant-husband has merely reproduced 
the wordings of the Section without applying the same to the 
facts of the case and that it was not pleaded that it was a case 
of continuous or intermittent disorder. The aforesaid 
reasoning of the High Court is completely erroneous and 
contrary to the material on record which we have already 
demonstrated. 
20) Coming to the pleadings before the High Court, the 
appellant-husband had specifically pleaded that the 
respondent-wife was suffering from Schizophrenia, which is a 
kind of mental disorder and he had pointed out specific 
incidents to show that the respondent-wife was not of sound 


mind. The relevant portion of the petition for divorce filed by 

the appellant is reproduced hereunder: 

“4. That the petitioner shortly after his marriage found the 
respondent to be acting in a very abnormal manner. She 
would abruptly get very aggressive, hostile and suspicious in 
nature, ought to hit any body available in her company and 
her suspicion would go to such an extent that she should 
not like to take food without some other member of the 
family consuming the same. The respondent would also in a 
fit of anger declare that she will bring an end to her life by 
committing suicide and would have the petitioner and all the 
family members involved in a false criminal case unless she 
was provided with separate place of residence…….Enquiries 
made in the meantime revealed that the respondent has 
been suffering from acute mental depression coupled with 
Schizophrenia, a mental disorder and illness at intervals 
with Psychopathic disorder since developed into mania, 
which prompted her to become more and more violent and 
aggressive and on one such occasion she repeated threat of 
suicide and attempted jumping from the house of her in-laws 
on 19/20.09.2001 but could not succeed in her attempt due 
to timely intervention of her husband, who is the petitioner… 
……All the same hoping that treatment may cure the 
respondent she was got treated by the petitioner and her 
parents from various places in connection with her mental 
illness but such treatment provided to her including 
administering her electric shocks, did not improve the state 
of affairs. She was so treated as indoor and outdoor patient 
in Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar in Psychiatric 
Department in Dr. Vidya Sagar Mental Health Institute and 
in Bhatti Neuro Psychiatric Hospital till the end of the year 
2001 but all the intensive and costly treatment did not yield 
fruit and she could not be cured of her mental sickness. The 
respondent is, therefore, suffering from major mental 
disorder in which she has suicidal tendency and becomes 
aggressive and violent in her behaviour for which she was 
getting treatment, as referred above, before as well as after 
the marriage. She has been given anti-psychic treatment 
and even electric therapy at four occasions at least to the 
knowledge of the petitioner but the things did not improve 
therewith. The respondent has, therefore, been suffering 
incurably from unsoundness of mind and has been so 
suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder 


of such a kind and such an extent that the petitioner cannot 
reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. 

5. That on one such occasion under the fit of insanity the 
respondent pushed the petitioner from the staircase leading 
to their residential portion causing the petitioner fracture of 
right hand for which he got treatment from, Dr. Hardas 
Singh Sandhu in the last week of November, 2001. Such 
aggressiveness was not first of its kind and in the past also 
the respondent under the fit of insanity ventured to slap the 
petitioner in his face in the presence of his parents…..” 
The above averments make it clear that the appellant-
husband, after narrating specific incidents of abnormal 
behaviour of the respondent-wife had duly pleaded that she 
was suffering continuously/intermittently from ‘incurable’ 
mental disorder of such a nature that he cannot be reasonably 
expected to live with her. It was also stated therein that due 
to her unsoundness, the respondent-wife was not able to lead 
a married life and thus the appellant-husband was entitled to 
a decree of divorce. Apart from this, the appellant-husband 
had brought cogent evidence on record to show that the 
respondent-wife was not in a fit state of mind whereas the 
respondent-wife could not lead any acceptable evidence to 
rebut the same. We have already pointed out that the 
respondent and her father admitted her mental illness and 


periodic treatment from the doctors mentioned above. No 
doubt, it was pointed out that after the marriage, the couple 
was blessed with a female child and at present she is studying 
in a school and there is no dispute about the same. It is clear 
from the respondent’s evidence that from the date of delivery 
of child, the child was periodically taken care of by her grandparents. 
It is also relevant to note that whenever the child was 
with respondent-wife, she (the mother) was not taking 
appropriate care which is clear from the evidence of the 
appellant-husband (PW-4) and their landlord, Madan Lal 
(PW-5). One incident which was referred to was that many a 
times the respondent-wife casually threw the child facing 
opposite to her. Under these circumstances, the High Court 
ought to have accepted the case of the appellant-husband. 
21) The High Court rejected the plea of the appellant-
husband regarding cruelty on the ground that apart from his 
statement, there is no evidence to prove the same and Madan 
Lal (PW-5), being hearsay, his evidence was not reliable. As 
rightly pointed out by Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, learned senior 
counsel for the appellant-husband that as far as Madan Lal 


(PW-5) is concerned, the High Court has only referred to his 

cross-examination without even adverting to the examination


in-chief wherein he had categorically stated about cruelty 

meted out by respondent-wife to the appellant-husband. The 

relevant portion of the evidence of PW-5 is as follows: 

“Thereafter Pankaj Mahajan, his wife Dimple alias Kajal and 
their infant child aged about 4-5 months started living on 
the upper portion of my house. They lived in my house on 
rent upto 30.11.2002. After some days of taking of the 
house on rent by them, I felt that the girl Dimple was not 
taking any interest in household affairs and she used to 
avoid doing household works……….. 

……….She used to sit idle after Pankaj’s going to office and 
was not breast-feeding the child even after child’s 
uncontrollable crying. Not only this, she used to come down 
and sit in our bedroom for long hours unnecessarily and 
talking rubbish and repeating on the same thing again and 
again. Many times when I asked Dimple why she behaves 
like this and whether she is alright or not, then she did not 
reply back and kept mum and whenever she answered to my 
queries, she used to say that I want to die and my heart says 
that I should commit suicide. When I heard this from the 
mouth of Dimple, I become doubly sure that she is mentally 
unsound and due to her unsound behaviour even my family 
too become disturbed and started living in constant fear 
because it appeared from her behaviour that she will do 
something extreme one day and if she does so, then apart 
from her in-laws, all of us too will be unnecessarily 
implicated in the criminal case. Dimple used to come to our 
house during lunch time and demand food for herself and 
used to sit in our house for long hours and whenever Pankaj 
used to come back from his office, she used to tell him that 
we will go to our portion after taking meals from us. She 
used to repeat one thing many times. One day, she even 
went to the extent of saying that you are cooking food every 
day-then why don’t you keep us as your paying guest 
because I cannot prepare food myself and I also cannot look 
after my child. Mostly Dimple used to leave her child with 


my daughter-in-law and request my daughter-in-law that 
she should change clothes, bath the child and give her 
canned milk. My daughter-in-law did all this for 5-6 times, 
but one day my daughter-in-law clearly told Dimple that this 
is your duty and she herself should look after the child. On 
hearing all this, Dimple immediately turned red in anger and 
slapped my daughter-in-law and called her idiot.” 

It is clear from the above that the respondent-wife was not of 
sound mind and she did not look after the household work 
rather she used to give threats to commit suicide. She did not 
even make food for the appellant-husband and he had to 
arrange the same from outside. Apart from this, she used to 
embarrass the appellant-husband before his landlord’s family 
and because of her weird behaviour and threats to commit 
suicide, the appellant-husband was forced to leave the rented 
accommodation. Madan Lal, the landlord, PW-5 has also 
highlighted several instances when the respondent-wife used 
to quarrel with her husband and he had to face humiliation in 
front of others because of her behaviour. Inasmuch as PW-5 
was living in the same house on the ground floor and the 
appellant-husband and the respondent-wife were living on the 
first floor, the said witness being the eye-witness to the cruelty 
meted out by the respondent-wife to the appellant-husband, 


as he had himself seen the behaviour and the activities of the 
respondent-wife including humiliation and threats of 
committing suicide, cannot be thrown out. Under those 
circumstances, the observation of the High Court that the 
statement of PW-5 is only hearsay is liable to be rejected. 
22) In addition to the evidence, the appellant-husband had 
categorically pleaded in his petition for divorce about the 
cruelty meted out to him. He narrated the incidents when she 
used to give threats to commit suicide and had even tried to 
commit suicide by jumping from the terrace and also pushed 
him from the staircase resulting in fracture in his right 
forearm. Due to her mental disorder, on various occasions, 
she even slapped him. She was also most disrespectful to his 
parents and she even forced him to live separately from them. 
His evidence in the form of an affidavit filed before the trial 
Court is available in the paper book wherein he narrated all 
the sufferings meted out by her. It is useful to refer the 
relevant portion from the same: 

“My wife Dimple used to become annoyed and angry on petty 
issues. She used to abuse and fight with me. She used to 
flaunt her father’s status and influence. She used to comb 
her hair throughout the day. She used to cry like children. 


She used to apply brakes of a moving vehicle. She used to 
call strangers in the house and offer them tea. Once she 
even called a washerman in the house and gave him Rs. 
200/-unnecessarily and when he said thanks she 
immediately snatched Rs. 200/-from his hands and slapped 
him for no rhyme or reason and thereafter she abused him 
and pushed him out of the house. In fact, such things had 
become her everyday chores. She used to tell me everything 
about sex lives and relationship of her maternal uncle and 
aunt. She was in the habit of not sleeping throughout night 
and also used to keep me awake throughout night and 
whenever I tried to sleep, she used to insist me to talk to her 
and whenever I told her to allow me to sleep, she used to 
press my neck. She used to wakeup the child from deep 
slumber and start slapping her for no reason. She was in 
the habit of wrapping the child in wrapper throughout 
continuously and due to which child used to weep 
continuously. She used to say that she is obsessed and 
hears outer world’s voices and barking of dogs. She used to 
tell me that she is regularly seeing evil spirits. She used to 
go out for roaming at 2-3 a.m. in the night. Whenever I 
refused to listen or agree to her demands, she used to throw 
dirty clothes upon me. She was in the bad habit or keeping 
the door of toilet opened throughout the day even while she 
was bathing or refreshing herself. She used to doubt 
everything whenever she started eating her food. She also 
used to doubt her mother and sister and used to say that 
both of them have immoral character. She was in the habit 
of opening and closing the central locking system of the car. 
She was in the habit of increasing the volume of TV to the 
maximum unnecessarily. Whenever I used to go to office, 
she used to stop me from going and when I told her that I 
have to go to office, she used to say that she will commit 
suicide. In fact she was in the habit of pressing and coaxing 
me for all her needs and desires. She used to say that I 
want to live with Happy and also used to say that she has no 
interest in living with me. She stressed that she will leave 
me and starts living with Happy. (Happy is the son of my 
wife’s elder paternal uncle.) 

She was in the habit of unnecessarily arguing with my 
parents and used to abuse them and whenever I stopped her 
from doing so, she used to threaten me that she will commit 
suicide. However, I used to request my parents to look after 
her in my absence. But she used to misbehave and insult 
them. She used to say that she will buy her own house and 


will start living in that house because this house is very 
small for her needs and she feels suffocated in this house. 
Although my house is in a very posh colony and it is a very 
spacious, airy, open and large house. I noticed that 
condition of Dimple is becoming worse every day. I became 
sure that she is actually mad and she is concealing her 
madness from me. I noticed that she used to keep some 
medicine in her purse and used to take that medicine often. 
She was actually sex-hungry and was not interested in doing 
any household works. She never showed any interest in 
keeping her bedroom and drawing clean and tidy. She was 
in the habit of wearing the clothes of 3-4 days regularly. She 
used to wake up very late in the morning. Whenever my 
mother and sister called her to join them, she was abusing 
and insulting them. She used to call my mother stupid and 
my sister as wretched. However, I controlled myself and 
kept on tolerating her conduct, because all of us were in the 
fervent hope that one day God will cure her…. 

…..One day, my friend Sumit came to my house. Earlier 
also he used to come to my house as he is also working with 
me in the LIC. He wished Dimple and enquired about her 
and instead of welcoming him, Dimple insulted him by 
saying why are you coming to our house uncalled every day. 
He felt very insulted and sat in the drawing room on the 
ground floor and when I was also coming down to join him, 
Dimple pushed me from stairs and started laughing 
unnecessarily. As a result of aforesaid pushing, I fell down 
and bones of my right arm and wrist got fractured. 
Perchance, Ashok Kumar too had come to my house on that 
day and he was repeatedly asking for meals. But when he 
saw my condition, he immediately took me to the Hospital of 
Dr. Hardas where plaster was applied on my arm and wrist. 
When we came back, to my utter shock and surprise, Dimple 
did not even notice any change in me and did not remotely 
felt that I have received fractures in my arm and wrist and 
plaster has been applied on my arm. One day when we were 
sitting in the drawing room, I called Dimple and asked her to 
bring tea for me. At that time she was wearing very dirty 
clothes. So, I asked her to immediately go and change her 
dirty clothes and wear some good clothes. But instead of 
changing her clothes, she started abusing me and even 
slapped me on my face. Thereupon my mother asked her 
why she is behaving like this, upon which she rose her 
hands to slap my mother too, but my sister stopped her from 
doing so. We narrated all the above incidents of Dimple to 


her father. He expressed his shock and apologized on her 
behalf and advised us to start living separately and said that 
she will start behaving properly and nicely.” 

All the above details in the form of assertion in the affidavit 
clearly show that the appellant-husband faced cruelty at the 
hands of the respondent on several occasions. 

23) It is well settled that giving repeated threats to commit 
suicide amounts to cruelty. When such a thing is repeated in 
the form of sign or gesture, no spouse can live peacefully. In 
the case on hand, the appellant-husband has placed adequate 
materials to show that the respondent-wife used to give 
repeated threats to commit suicide and once even tried to 
commit suicide by jumping from the terrace. Cruelty 
postulates a treatment of a spouse with such cruelty as to 
create reasonable apprehension in his mind that it would be 
harmful or injurious for him to live with the other party. The 
acts of the respondent-wife are of such quality or magnitude 
and consequence as to cause pain, agony and suffering to the 
appellant-husband which amounted to cruelty in matrimonial 


law. From the pleadings and evidence, the following instances 
of cruelty are specifically pleaded and stated. They are:

 i. Giving repeated threats to commit suicide and 
even trying to commit suicide on one occasion 
by jumping from the terrace. 
ii. Pushing the appellant from the staircase 
resulting into fracture of his right forearm. 
iii. Slapping the appellant and assaulting him. 
iv. Misbehaving with the colleagues and relatives 
of the appellant causing humiliation and 
embarrassment to him. 

v. 
Not attending to household chores and not 
even making food for the appellant, leaving 
him to fend for himself. 
vi. 
Not taking care of the baby. 
vii. 
Insulting the parents of the appellant and 
misbehaving with them. 
viii. 
Forcing the appellant to live separately from 
his parents. 

ix. Causing nuisance to the landlord’s family of 
the appellant, causing the said landlord to 
force the appellant to vacate the premises. 
x. Repeated fits of insanity, abnormal behaviour 
causing great mental tension to the appellant. 
xi. Always quarreling with the appellant and 
abusing him. 
xii. Always behaving in an abnormal manner and 
doing weird acts causing great mental cruelty 
to the appellant. 

24) All these factual details culled out from the pleadings and 
evidence of both the parties clearly show the conduct of the 
respondent-wife towards the appellant-husband. With these 
acceptable facts and details, it cannot be concluded that the 
appellant-husband has not made out a case of cruelty at the 
hands of the respondent-wife. We are satisfied that the 
appellant-husband had placed ample evidence on record that 
the respondent-wife is suffering from “mental disorder” and 
due to her acts and conduct, she caused grave mental cruelty 


to him and it is not possible for the parties to live with each 
other, therefore, a decree of divorce deserves to be granted in 
favour of the appellant-husband. In addition to the same, it 
was also brought to our notice that because of the 
abovementioned reasons, both appellant-husband and the 
respondent-wife are living separately for the last more than 
nine years. There is no possibility to unite the chain of marital 
life between the appellant-husband and the respondent-wife. 
25) In the light of the facts and circumstances as discussed 
above, in our view, the impugned order of the High Court 
resulted in grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant-
husband, more particularly, the High Court failed to consider 
the relevant material aspects from the pleadings and the 
evidence, the ultimate conclusion cannot be sustained. The 
appellant-husband established and proved both grounds in 
terms of Section 13 of the Act. In the result, the appeal stands 
allowed. The divorce petition filed by the appellant-husband 
stands accepted and a decree of divorce is hereby passed 
dissolving the marriage of the appellant with the respondent 
from today, i.e. 30.09.2011. The impugned order of the High 


Court dated 06.08.2009 in FAO No. M-123 of 2006 is set 
aside. The appellant-husband is directed to pay an amount of 
Rs. 2 (Two) lakhs as alimony to the respondent-wife in two 
equal instalments within a period of three months from today 
and to deposit Rs. 3 (Three) lakhs in the name of his daughter 
in the shape of three FDRs in a nearest nationalised bank in 
three equal instalments commencing from January, 2012 
ending with June, 2012. On attaining majority, the daughter 
is permitted to withdraw the amount. Till such period, the 
respondent-wife is permitted to withdraw accrued interest 
once in three months directly from the bank from the said 
deposit for the benefit and welfare of their daughter. 

..…....…………………………………J. 

(P. SATHASIVAM) 
.…....…………………………………J. 

(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN) 
NEW DELHI; 
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011.
Categories: Divorce
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