The incidents alleged in a divorce petition should be of recurring nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the filing of the petition.

[Case Brief] Suman Singh vs Sanjay Singh

CASE NAME Suman Singh vs Sanjay Singh
CASE NUMBER Civil Appeal No 7114-7115 of 2014
COURT Supreme Court of India
BENCH Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice RK Agrawal
AUTHOR OF THE JUDGMENT Justice AM Sapre
DECIDED ON March 8, 2017.
RELEVANT ACT/SECTIONS Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 – Section 9 and Section 13
AUTHOR OF THE JUDGMENT Madhuli Kango

 

BRIEF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Appellant and the Respondent got married on 26 February 2000 at Delhi. They subsequently had two children in 2002 and 2006 respectively. On 11.07.2010, the Respondent (husband) filed a petition for dissolution of marriage especially on the ground of “cruelty” under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 against the Appellant (wife). He contended 9 points of the cruelty of which many were about the behaviour of the wife and her family against the husband and for many the dates were not provided.

In the same proceeding, the appellant applied for restitution of conjugal rights by filing a petition under Section 9 alleging that it was the Respondent who has withdrawn from her company without there being a reasonable cause.

ISSUES IN TRIAL COURT

On the basis of pleadings in the case:

  1. Whether after solemnization of marriage, the Respondent has treated the Petitioner with cruelty?
  2. Whether the Petitioner is entitled to the decree of divorce as prayed?
  3. Relief

The following issues were framed based on the pleadings in the petition Under Section 9 of the Act:

  1. Whether the Petitioner is entitled to the restitution of conjugal rights as prayed?
  2. Relief

DECISION HELD

Trial court

Trial Court granted a decree for dissolution of marriage in favour of the Respondent and dissolved the marriage. Since the decree for dissolution of marriage was passed against the Appellant, the petition filed by the Appellant against the Respondent seeking restitution of conjugal rights was dismissed.

High Court

The Appellant filed first appeals before the High Court, but the High Court dismissed the appeals and affirmed the judgment/decree of the Trial Court.

Supreme Court

The Appellant (wife) has filed these appeals by special leave against the judgment of the High Court.

Firstly the court held that none of the grounds for cruelty, in this case, satisfy either individually or collectively the test laid down in Samar Ghosh vs Jaya Ghosh (2007) to entitle the Respondent to claim a decree of divorce

Secondly, even if assuming that one or more grounds constituted an act of cruelty, the court believed that the acts were condoned by the parties as they continued to live together till 2006 and the Appellant gave birth to their second daughter in 2006.

Thirdly, most of the incidents of alleged cruelty belonged to a period prior to 2006 and those pertained to the period after 2006 were founded on general allegations with no details.

The court said that,

A petition seeking divorce on some isolated incidents alleged to have occurred 8 to10 years prior to filing of the date of petition cannot furnish a subsisting cause of action to seek divorce after 10 years or so of occurrence of such incidents. The incidents alleged should be of recurring nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the filing of the petition.

The court also held that the Appellant is entitled to a decree for restitution of conjugal rights against the Respondent.

Therefore the court held that the appeals in front of the Supreme Court succeed and are allowed. As a result, the petition filed by the Respondent (husband) Under Section 13(1) of the Act seeking dissolution of marriage is dismissed. As a consequence thereof, the petition filed by the Appellant against the Respondent under Section 9 of the Act seeking restitution of conjugal right is allowed. A decree for restitution of conjugal right is, accordingly, passed against the Respondent.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu