Decided on December 09,1953



Mack, J. - (1.) Appellant Krishnaveni appeals against tile dissolution of her marriage by the learned Subordinate Judge of Guntur in his order dated 27-2-1951 on a petition filed by her husband on 4-10-1950 when she was only 17 years old. She was born according to her admitted birth register extract Ex. A. 1 on 24-9-1933. The petition was founded on Section 5 (1) (b) and (c) of Madras Act 6 of 1949. It may be here convenient to set out Section 5 (1) (a), (b) and (c). "Section 5 (1) (a). That the other party, if a husband, has any other woman as a concubine. (b) that the other party, if a wife, is a concubine of any other man or leads the life of a prostitute or (c) that the other party has, without just cause deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than three years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition,"
(2.) The learned Subordinate Judge, though he framed one point for determination as to whether Krishnaveni was a concubine of any other man or was leading the life of a prostitute, round that there was no sufficient material to sustain a finding of unchastity. He however found in the husband's favour that his wife who was a little more than a girl, left her husband more than 3 years prior to this petition, & on this ground, granted the husband his prayer for dissolution. This appeal raises several interesting and also somewhat difficult points for determination. The facts may be briefly stated. The marriage took place in 1842 when Krishnaveni was only 8 or 9 years old and the husband Brahmareddi was 17. The husband's case is that the marriage was consummated on 14-6-1946, i.e., when Krishnaveni must have been less than 13 years old and that the very next day she left his house on the pretext of indisposition and never returned. There was a serious allegation in the petition further to the effect that she had been leading the life of a prostitute ever, since. Krishnaveni's case on the contrary was that the marriage was consummated only a few months prior to the filing of the petition, that she lived with her husband for four months, and that there were then misunderstandings, which resulted in her being driven out. These are of course, two irreconcilable cases each of which had nonetheless support in evidence.
(3.) The husband examined himself, his father's sister's son Gopireddi (P. W. 2) and one Sriramareddi (P. W. 3), who all swore that after the consummation of the marriage about four years prior to their giving evidence in 1951, the wife went to her parents' house and never returned. P. W. 3 gave general evidence that Krishnaveni has been leading the life of a prostitute ever since. It is common ground that subsequent to the filing of the petition, Krishnaveni's hair was cut off. Her husband Brahmareddi asserted in his evidence that this was done by one Thirupathireddi, a suggested paramour of hers because she was promiscuous with other men. Krishnaveni herself in the witness-box as R.W. 1, on the contrary swore that it was her husband who, when she was in her father's house, came behind her and cut off her hair. She expressed her willingness to go back to her husband. Mr. Rangachari for the husband has laid great stress on the omission of Krishnaveni to file any criminal complaint against her husband if he did indeed disfigure her by cutting off her hair. The resourceful explanation given by Mr. Chinnappa Reddi is that no criminal comolaint was flled in view of the wife's desire to go back to her husband, and not to close the avenue of reconciliation by a criminal complaint which would exacerbate relations. The wife's case that the marriage was only consummated a few months before the petition was filed is borne out by two witnesses, R. Ws. 2 and 3 and her father Raghavareddi (R. W. 4). In her counter to the petition dated 1-12-1950 she pleaded that she was "pregnant about 3 or 4 months" on account of marital intercourse between her and the petitioner. Rather curiously, nothing was elicited in the evidence about this. The learned advocate states that no child was born in consequence of an abortion. A rather extraordinary commentary on the apparently irreconcilable evidence is the evidence in chief "of one Adireddi, whom the husband examined as P. W. 4. It is so remarkable that it may be reproduced here in extenso: "Examination: My house is near Brahmareddi's. He was married to respondent about tour years ago. The marriage was consummated about one year back. She left immediately and never came back to her husband's house. Respondent is living the life of a prostitute. Cross-examination: Respondent left petitioner's house one day after the consummation. Respondent refused to go back to her husband's house." Unless there has been a mistake in recording, this witness has rather hopelessly mixed up truth and deliberate falsehood -- easily explicable if a person sets himself out to depose to a completely false story with knowledge of the true facts. The learned Subordinate Judge seemed oblivious to the strong support given by what P. W. 4 blurted out in the witness box to the wife's case.;

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