Gitesh Ranjan Bhattacharjee, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal against the judgment and order dated the 22nd February, 1991 in Matrimonial Suit No. 6/1985 passed by the learned Additional District Judge, 11th Court, Alipore, granting decree of divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in favour of the petitioner- husband and against the wife on the ground of cruelty of the wife. The husband who is respondent herein filed the suit for divorce on the ground of desertion and cruelty. The parties are Sikh by religion and are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. They were married according to Sikh rites and ceremonies on or about 23rd January, 1970 at 2/3A, Panditiya Road, Calcutta-29. Their marriage was consummated and two sons were born in that wedlock, - one on 28th May, 1972 and the other on 17th September, 1974. Both the sons however have, by now, crossed their minority and have attained majority. At the time of the marriage the petitioner was in service in the Security Force as an Assistant Company Commander. It was a negotiated marriage.
(2.)It is the case of the petitioner-husband that after the marriage, the petitioner returned to the place of his posting at Doomdooma (Assam) and the wife refused to accompany him on several pleas and ultimately she went there, but she stayed there only for a period of two months and that as she did not like the service of the petitioner in the Force the petitioner-husband resigned from the Security Force in 1971 and took up civilian life, and came down to Calcutta and started living with his parents at 95A, Bangur Avenue, but as the wife maintained that she disliked living with in-laws and she did not live with the petitioner at his parents place for more than a week at a stretch; the petitioner joined the Western Indian Match Co. Ltd. as Security Officer in August, 1971 and was allotted residential quarters in the factory premises, but the wife had the idea that the job of a Security Officer was a job of Darwan and a sophisticated lady could not live in the Darwan's quarters; that however due to earnest request of the petitioner, the wife lived in the said quarters for a few days on occasions at intervals when she conceived for the first time after more than a year of the marriage; that in 1973 the wife joined B.Ed. Course at Shri Shikshayatan against the wishes of the petitioner and on the plea that the college was near her parents' house she lived mostly with her parents and she neglected her household and partial duties and lived with the petitioner rarely and also almost always, the petitioner had to cook and do domestic chores and she even did not allow the petitioner to spend nights in her parents' house; that as the wife did not like the petitioner's service as a Security Officer he resigned from the job in December, 1973 and rented a separate flat at 112, Bangur Avenue as the wife did not like to live with the in-laws; that the wife lived in the rented flat on rare occasions and by that time she conceived again and later in July, 1974 she left for her parent's place on health ground and during her pregnancy and even after the confinement the wife refused to come and live with the petitioner; that she took up a job of teacher against the wishes of the petitioner and that became an additional plea for her to refuse to come back; that the petitioner had in the meantime started a transport business and his avocation did not leave for him enough time to cook his own food, that the wife always misbehaved with the petitioner and she always used to say that she was not married to serve the petitioner's parents and she habitually insulted the petitioner as being an army brute; that the wife is a westernised lady with individualistic tastes and she hated living a docile domestic life confined within four walls, cooking food and .... for the family; that after the child birth the respondent persistently refused access to the petitioner and she was living with her parents and refused to live with him on one plea or the other and even refused to allow the petitioner to stay at her parent's place even for a single night; that the wife surreptitiously took up the job of the teacher in Shhri Sikshayatan against the wishes of the petitioner in or about January, 1976; that she lived in her parent's house and the repeated persuasion of the petitioner to bring her back failed; that the wife lived a free life behind the back of the petitioner and she made secret trips to different places including Thailand; that whenever she asked for money the petitioner paid; that she refused conjugal access to the petitioner on most occasions; that at long last when the petitioner held out that he would not live a separate life all through his life and would take away the children, the wife returned to the petitioner in or about December, 1982 and initially she lived with the petitioner's parents and subsequently a flat at 52/4, Bangur Avenue was hired by the petitioner and she lived there with the children till August, 1989, but during this period she always misbehaved with the petitioner and also refused conjugal access to the petitioner; that in the morning of the 20th August, 1983 the wife wanted to go to her parent's place to which the petitioner consented; that the wife did not return and the petitioner went to her parent's place in the next afternoon and quite unexpectedly he was subjected to abuses; that subsequently on or about the 20th August, 1983, the wife filed case No. Cr. 1346 of 1983 under Sections 406/403/420, I.P.C. in the Court of the learned S.D.J.M. at Barrackpore against the petitioner and his mother making wild and false allegations; that the wife examined herself on oath in the said Court on 1st September, 1989 when she repeated her allegations and also examined her brother; that upon the said complaint, the learned Court took congnizance under Section 420, I.P.C. against the petitioner-husband and issued process and also issued search warrants for recovery of goods and on the strength of the search warrants the police searched the petitioner's residence at 52/4, Bangur Avenue on the 2nd September, 1983 and seized and removed 21 items of goods including furniture, sewing machine, ceiling fans, refrigerator etc. and in fact all removable articles were seized and removed; that the police also searched the parent's place of the petitioner at 61, Bangur Avenue on the 2nd September, 1983 and seized and removed 19 items of gold and silver ornaments and cutleries in presence and on the identification of the respondent-wife; that by levelling false allegations and by obtaining search warrants and having the goods seized on false allegations the wife has committed cruelty; that the respondent filed a petition for maintenance under Section 125, Cr. P.C. on false allegations that the petitioner misbehaved with her and assaulted and abused her and also drove her out on the 6th June, 1974 etc.; that the respondent wife out of her free Will during the absence of the petitioner left the petitioner's residence on or about the 20th August, 1983 and has since then abandoned the petitioner and has voluntarily withdrawn from the society of the petitioner and thus deserted him without any reasonable cause and without the consent of the petitioner. The petitioner prayed for decree of divorce and for custody of the two children. It may however be mentioned here that the two children have since attained majority and therefore the question of custody does not now survive and has not been pressed also.
(3.)In her written statement the respondent-wife has denied all the material allegations of cruelty and desertion. Her case is that the petitioner resigned from the service in Security Force as well as from the post of Security Officer of the private company, of his own accord and the wife had no role in the matter. It is the contention of the wife in the written statement that in order to have higher education she joined B. Ed. Course at Shri Shikshayatan in 1982 and no question can arise regarding the wish or desire of the petitioner in the matter as the petitioner since June, 1974 cut off all relationship with the respondent wife and the children till December, 1982. She also denies the allegation that she did not discharge her household duties etc. It is stated in the written statement that the petitioner was in the regular habit of intoxication and whenever the wife used to protest, the petitioner used to become furious and even used to torture her and the minor sons and the petitioner created such circumstances which ultimately forced the wife to leave the matrimonial home on account of threat and torture on the part of the petitioner and it was the petitioner who resorted to all sorts of tactics so as to drive away the wife in order to lead a care-free life. It is also the case of the wife that she has been doing the job of teacher in Shri Shikshayatan for having her own livelihood in view of the utter neglect by the petitioner. It is also her case that the statements made in the complaint filed in the Court of the learned S.D.J.M., Barrackpore are correct.