PRAKASHCHANDSHARMA Vs. VIMLESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
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(1.)The appellant is the husband. He married the respondent on 24/2/1978. For about 15 months they lived together and thereafter differences arose necessitating a separation. The husband then filed a divorce petition in 1981 seeking dissolution of the marriage on three counts, namely (1 desertion, (2 cruelty and (3 unsoundness of mind. The trial court granted decree for divorce on the first two counts rejecting the third count. The First Appellate court, however, affirmed the decree on the first count only, namely, cruelty, rejecting the second count of desertion. In second appeal the High court reversed the decree holding that the husband had failed to prove cruelty. It is against this order of the High court that the present appeal is preferred.
(2.)We may also mention that after the First Appellate court affirmed the decree of divorce on 29/8/1988 and after the second appeal was preferred by the wife, the husband married again on 21/11/1988 and has a child through this marriage. This is a feature which was highlighted before us in the course of the hearing.
(3.)We have heard learned counsel for the parties and have perused the line of reasoning adopted by the courts below in reaching the conclusion one way or the other. We have seen the emphasis of the trial court as well as the Firstappellate court while upholding the contention that the wife was guilty of cruelty towards her husband. We find that the First Appellate court besides relying on the statement of the husband that the wife did not permit him to cohabit and have sexual relationship, a fact which is denied by the wife in her deposition, placed reliance on two letters 101-A and 102-A, both written by the wife, one to the husband and the other to her uncle. In the letter of 1/8/1981 written to her uncle after the institution of the divorce proceedings, she has poured out her agony and has implored her uncle to visit her immediately to settle the dispute with the husband. She says that her condition is very pathetic as everyone is sick of her and she feels she has made her husband miserable. The second letter is undated and is addressed to her husband. She laments the separation and shows; her disappointment at not having heard from him. She speaks of her faith in religion and tries to blame herself for the unhappiness in the family. From these two letters the First Appellate court concluded that the allegation of the husband that she did not permit sexual relationship was established and that constituted mental cruelty. The High court, however, reproduced both the letters and after evaluating the evidence of the contesting parties came to the conclusion that it was not possible to hold from these two letters that they corroborated the version of the husband. The High court was of the view that the tenor of the two letters indicated that the wife left the marital home because of the atmosphere prevailing there at the relevant point of time which made it impossible for her to live there. If she had left on her own she would not have lamented the separation nor would she have desired a settlement. Emphasis was laid on the fact that she tried to blame herself but it is typical of an Indian wife to take the blame on herself. That does not mean that the factual situation was as alleged by the husband. The High court, therefore, was right in the evaluation of the evidence. The High court was justified in taking the view that it was wholly unwarranted to reach a conclusion that the wife was guilty of causing mental cruelty, on such skeleton material. We, therefore, do not see any merit in this appeal.
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