Skip to content


Smt. Sulochana Vs. Ram Kumar Chauhan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 927 (C) of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1981All78
ActsHindu Marriage Act, 1955 - Sections 13(1), 20 and 21; Allahabad High Court Hindu Marriage and Divorce Rules, 1956 - Rule 4 and 5; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rules 1 and 2(1); Divorce Act, 1869
AppellantSmt. Sulochana
RespondentRam Kumar Chauhan
Appellant AdvocateH.S. Nigam, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.L. Grover, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....marriage. ' 9. a perusal of the aforesaid provisions would show that for seeking relief either of judicial separation or of dissolution of marriage by divorce, a petition is to be presented by a spouse mentioning therein as distinctly as the nature of -the case permits the facts on which claim to the relief is founded. the requirement that the facts on which the claim to relief is founded shall be stated in every petition as distinctly as the nature of the case permits contained in section 20 of the act and as prescribed by the rules framed by the high court, referred to above, is, therefore, of an overriding nature which would clearly rule out the grant of relief on the basis of the allegations contained in the replication which, according to a division bench of the punjab and haryana.....v.k. mehrotra, j. 1. this second appeal is by the wife who is aggrieved by a decree of judicial separation passed by the civil judge, roorkee on april 15, 1978 in matrimonial case no. 126 of 1974 and affirmed by the 5th additional district and sessions judge, saharanpur by his order dated january 23, 1979 in civil appeal no. 132 of 1978. 2. the petition was presented by the husband, respondent in this appeal, on august 12, 1974. in this petition it was prayed that his marriage with the appellant which was solemnised on may 10, 1965 be dissolved by a decree of divorce or, alternatively a decree for judicial separation be passed in favour of the husband. the relief aforesaid was sought by the husband on allegations which were in substance these; the appellant (smt. sulochana) was married to.....
Judgment:

V.K. Mehrotra, J.

1. This second appeal is by the wife who is aggrieved by a decree of judicial separation passed by the Civil Judge, Roorkee on April 15, 1978 in matrimonial Case No. 126 of 1974 and affirmed by the 5th Additional District and Sessions Judge, Saharanpur by his order dated January 23, 1979 in Civil Appeal No. 132 of 1978.

2. The petition was presented by the husband, respondent in this appeal, on August 12, 1974. In this petition it was prayed that his marriage with the appellant which was solemnised on May 10, 1965 be dissolved by a decree of divorce or, alternatively a decree for judicial separation be passed in favour of the husband. The relief aforesaid was sought by the husband on allegations which were in substance these;

The appellant (Smt. Sulochana) was married to him according to Hindu Vedic rites on May 10, 1'965 at village Bishanpura Rohalki, Pargana Jwalapur, District Saharanpur and she has a son aged about two years; the appellant was found to be of extremely harsh temperament and loose character and desirous of living with her parents where she lived for most of the time. She had only passed High School at the time of her marriage but had obtained her Degree of M.A. by the time the petition was presented. She had adulterous connection with various persons. The appellant was in service in village Bongala. Whenever she came to the house of the husband for short, intervals she used to cause mental agony to him and even attempted to administer poison to him and also tried to contact some Siana in order to cause insanity to the husband so as to get rid of him. She assaulted his mother and Bhabhi and there was danger to his life on account of the appellant's ways which she refused to mend in spite of repeated requests. She had also deserted him before two years of the presentation of the petition. The son, it was alleged in paragraph 17 of the petition, was born to the appellant on account of her illicit connection with some other person.

3. The appellant's defence in her written statement, in the main, was that the petition was based upon incorrect allegations and that, in fact, it was the respondent who had been treating her with cruelty. She lived with the husband at his residence and discharged her marital obligations and the son was born of their wedlock; since the respondent had not cared to maintain her, she had to serve for a period of about seven months between February, 1973 and August, 1973 to maintain herself and her minor child on a salary of Rs. 150 per month; false allegation of adultery had been levelled against her even though the truth of the matter was that 'the relations of the petitioner (husband) with his Bhabhi Shrimati Satyabhama are not above board and which were suspected by the respondent (wife). The respondent showed he'r unpleasantness over this whereupon the petitioner beat up the respondent and used abusive language as against the respondent.' That since the respondent (wife) was not able to compromise the situation the petition has been got filed by the said Srimati Satya Bhama'. The husband also had illicit relation with other girls of whom one was Sabita to whom he wrote letters as well. The husband was living in adultery. The husband was also annoyed with her on account of the failure of her father to meet the demands about dowry.

4. A replication was filed by the respondent-husband and in paragraph 14 thereof it was stated that 'the charges of adultery on the part and against the plaintiff are not only false but amount to mental cruelty to the petitioner.'

5. The trial Judge framed the following issues:

'1. Whether the defendant treated the plaintiff with persistent and repeated cruelty so as to cause reasonable apprehension in the mind of the plaintiff that it would be harmful and injurious for him to live with her?

2. To what relief if any is the plaintiff entitled?

3. Whether the petitioner demanded the dowry from the respondent who failed to fulfil his desire. If so, its effect?

4. Whether the petitioner has got illicit relation with girls Savita and others?

5. Whether Jitendra Kumar is son of the petitioner or not?'

5A. Dealing with issues Nos. 1 and 3 to 5 together, the trial Judge found that the husband had failed to establish thevarious reasons put forward by him for seeking relief in the case. He, however, observed that 'the allegations made by the respondent against the petitioner that he had illicit connection with his brother's wife Smt. Satyabhama are also there on the record though these facts are not established on the record as the same has been denied by the petitioner and his brother Banarsi Das (P.W. 4). Yet is does show the actual state of affairs and the condition prevailing in the house of the petitioner so far as the mental and physical condition in which the respondent had to live in the house of the petitioner......It is evident that both the parties have levelled allegations and counter-allegations against each other...... There isallegation and counter-allegation by both the parties alleging the facts of cruelty and adultery against each other. I find that the married life of the parties has now broken and the behaviour of the respondent and the allegations made by her in her statement and also in the pleadings making charges against the petitioner for illicit relations with his brother's wife Smt. Satya Bhama amount to cruelty and there is no chance of reconciliation between the parties. Looking at the allegations and the counter-allegations made by the parties and the fact that the small child aged about 5 years is still there born from their wedlock, in the present facts and the circumstances of the case, I find it reasonable and proper to grant the alternative relief for judicial separation instead of divorce to the parties so that they may try to reconcile their differences in future and may set right their broken married life for their own life and life of the small child'. He, therefore, passed a decree for judicial separation.

6. The wife took the matter in appeal. The appellate court, on consideration of evidence afresh, took the view that the husband had failed to establish the grounds alleged by him in the petition. It, however, held that the husband had made out a case for judicial separation on account of cruelty resulting from the charge levelled against him by Smt. Sulochana (appellant) that he was a man of loose character and that he was having illicit relations with his brother's wife, Sabita and other women and girls....Smt. Sulochana has failed to substantiate her allegation that Ram Kumar (husband) is having illicit relations with his brother's wife named Smt. Satyabhama......The discussion made above, however, shows that Smt. Sulochana levelled afalse charge of adulterous behaviour against Ram Kumar which amounts to cruelty on her part. For this reason alone, as held above, Ram Kumar was entitled to judicial separation'. It thereafter proceeded to endorse the conclusion of the trial court that reconciliation between the parties was impossible and that, therefore, there was no reason to interfere with the decree for judicial separation granted by the trial court.

7. The learned counsel for the parties have, in the first instance, joined issue on the question as to whether on the findings recorded by the two courts below, the decree for judicial separation could be sustained. The principal submission of Sri D.P.S. Chauhan for the appellant has been that it was not permissible in law to grant a decree for judicial separation. on the basis of an accusation of unchaste life on the part of the husband contained in the written statement filed by the wife and upon proof of the falsity of that accusation after concluding that the husband had failed to establish the allegations made by him in the petition, which did not contain an allegation to the effect that the wife was guilty of having treated him with cruelty by imputing an adulterous and unchaste life to him. Sri K.L. Grover, for the respondent-husband, has, to the contrary, contended that the mere absence of any allegation in the petition of the nature upon which the two courts below have founded the decree for judicial separation, cannot be held sufficient to disentitle the husband to the decree, particularly, when that allegation was made in the replication and was subject matter of an issue at the trial. It is obvious that if the contention of Sri Chauhan is upheld, it would not be necessary to consider his other submission that the courts below were not right in their view that a false accusation of unchastity would amount to cruelty or that the finding about the allegation by the appellant being false was vitiated as being based upon evidence which was inadmissible in law.

8. The relevant provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (as amended by the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976 (Parliament Act 68 of 1976), (hereinafter be referred as the 'Act'), in so far as it is material, reads:

'10. Judicial Separation-- (1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act may present a petition praying fora decree for judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 13, and in the case of a wife also on any of the grounds specified in Sub-section (2) thereof, as grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented.'

Section 13, in its relevant part, reads thus:

'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) has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary, sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or

(ia) has after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or

(ib) has, deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or.....'

'13-A. In any proceeding under this Act on a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, except in so far as the petition is founded on the grounds mentioned in clauses (ii), (vi) and (vii) of Sub-section (1) of Section 13, the court may, if it considers it just so to do having regard to the circumstances of the case, pass instead a decree for judicial separation.'

Section 20 of the Act reads:

'20. Contents and verification of petitions.--

(1) Every petition presented under this Act shall state as distinctly as the nature of the case permits the facts on which the claim to relief is founded and, except in a petition under Section 11, shall also state that there is no collusion between the petitioner and the other party to the marriage.

(2) The statements contained in every petition under this Act shall be verfied by the petitioner or some other competent person in the manner required by law for the verification of plaints, and may, at the hearing, be referred to as evidence.'

Section 21 of the Act reads:

'21. Application of Act 5 of 1908-- Subject to the other provisions contained in this Act, and to such rules as the High Court may make in this behalf, all proceedings under this Act shall be regulat-ed, as far as may be, by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).'

Section 23A of the Act reads:

'23A. Relief for respondent in divorce and other proceedings-- In any proceeding for divorce or judicial separation or restitution of conjugal rights, the respondent may not only oppose the relief sought on the ground of petitioner's adultery, cruelty or desertion, but also make a counter-claim for any relief under this Act, on that ground; and if the petitioner's adultery, cruelty or desertion is proved, the court may give to the respondent any relief under this Act to which he or she would have been entitled if he or she had presented a petition seeking such relief on that ground.'

9. A perusal of the aforesaid provisions would show that for seeking relief either of judicial separation or of dissolution of marriage by divorce, a petition is to be presented by a spouse mentioning therein as distinctly as the nature of - the case permits the facts on which claim to the relief is founded. The statement so made in the petition is to be verified by the petitioner (or some other competent person) in the manner laid down for verification of the plaint in the Code of Civil Procedure which is to regulate, as far as may be, the proceedings under the Act subject to the other provisions contained in the Act. The respondent can put forward the ground, inter alia, of cruelty on the part of the petitioner not only as opposition to the relief sought by the petitioner but also by way of a counterclaim for a relief on that ground and it would be open to the court to give relief to the respondent upon such counterclaim in the same manner as if the respondent has presented a petition seeking relief on that ground. In other words, the relief which can be claimed on the basis of an allegation made in defence can be claimed by the respondent to the petition as if the said respondent had made an independent petition for such relief.

10. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, 'pleading' means the plaint or written statement in Rule 1 of Order VI, and as provided in Rule 2 (1) of the same Order 'every pleading shall contain, and contain only, a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim of defence, as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to be proved'. Rule 1 (e) of Order VII requires that the plaintshall contain the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose.

11. Under the Hindu Marriage and Divorce Rules, 1'956 framed by the Allahabad High Court in exercise of rule-making powers conferred under the Act, it has been provided in Rule 4 that the petition made under the Act shall, so far as may be, with necessary modifications and adaptations, be the same as those prescribed in the Schedule to the Indian Divorce Act, 1869. Form No. 8 in the Schedule to the Indian Divorce Act deals with a petition for judicial separation by reason of cruelty. A perusal of this form reveals that specific details of the actions of the respondent on which the claim for relief is founded have to be enumerated with sufficient details. The particulars, which according to Rule 5 of these Rules, should be contained in the petition, in addition to those required to be given under Order VII, Rule 1 of the Code and Section 20(1) of the Act, include the disclosure under Clause (h) of the matrimonial offence or offences charged, set out in separate paragraphs with the time and place of its or their alleged commission. The statements contained in every petition, according to Rule 7, have to be verified by the petitioner (or some other competent person) in the manner required by the Code of Civil Procedure for verificaiton of a plaint.

12. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, as noticed earlier, are to regulate the proceedings under the Hindu Marriage Act subject to the other provisions contained in that Act or the Rules framed by the High Court as provided in Section 21 of the Act. The requirement that the facts on which the claim to relief is founded shall be stated in every petition as distinctly as the nature of the case permits contained in Section 20 of the Act and as prescribed by the Rules framed by the High Court, referred to above, is, therefore, of an overriding nature which would clearly rule out the grant of relief on the basis of the allegations contained in the replication which, according to a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Jag Dutta v. Smt. Savitri Devi 'is a part of pleading'. The submission of Sri Grover that the allegation of cruelty on the part of the wife made in paragraph 14 of the replication could entitle the husband to seek relief on that ground, even though no allegation hadbeen made by him in the petition, cannot be accepted.

13. In Smt. Gurbachan Kaur v. Sardar Sarwan Singh : AIR1978All255 , J.M.L. Sinha, J. observed that 'the allegation made by the appellant in the written statement that the respondent was having adulterous relation with his sister-in-law could not, in the circumstances of the case, constitute an act of cruelty to warrant a decree for dissolution of marriage being passed against her.' The learned Judge made those observations after noticing the circumstance that the wife was provoked into making the counter-allegation of adultery on the part of the husband on account of improper and undesirable conduct of the husband in making accusation of unchastity against her. The submission of Sri Grover is that the observations of the learned Judge have to be read in the context of the peculiar facts of that case and have to be confined thereto. In view, however, of the provisions noticed earlier by me, it has to be held that the observation that an allegation made by the wife in the written statement that the husband was having adulterous relations with his sister-in-law could not constitute an act of cruelty to warrant a decree being passed against her, represents the correct legal position.

14. On the undisputed factual position obtaining in the present case namely, that no allegation of cruelty on the part of the appellant was made by the respondent in the petition filed by him, it, is obvious that the courts below misdirected themselves in law in passing the decree that they have. The fact that the parties led evidence about this allegation or that the courts below gave a concurrent finding in favour of the husband is of no avail for, as provided in Sections 10 and 13 of the Act, relief can be sought by the husband or the wife thereunder by presenting a petition and praying for relief therein on the ground, inter alia, that the respondent to the petition 'has after solemnisation of the marriage treated the petitioner with cruelty.' In the absence of the ground of cruelty being put forward in the petition, no relief on that ground can be granted even though evidence may have been led about it. As observed by this court 'in Moinuddin v. Imam-Uddin Ashraf : AIR1972All25 'it is settled law that though liberal consideration to pleading is to be given in Indian Courts so as to allowevery question to be raised and discussed in the suit yet a plaintiff cannot be entitled to relief upon facts and documents neither stated nor referred to in the pleadings, vide Mohummud Zahoor Ali Khan v. Mt. Thakooranee Rutta Kooer (1866-7) 11 Moo Ind App 468 (PC).' If a case is not pleaded, any amount of evidence led about it cannot enure to the benefit of the party who failed to plead that case and, as held by the Privy Council in Siddik Mohomed Sha v. Mt. Saran , cannot be looked into at all. It is settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleading of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. See, Trojan & Co. v. Nagappa Chettiar : [1953]4SCR789 .

15. The decision of the Supreme Court in Kunju Kesavan v. M.M. Philip : [1964]3SCR634 upon which reliance has been placed by Sri Grover, was not rendered in a case in which there was statutory requirement, as in the present case, that the allegation upon which relief is sought must he made in the petition for such relief. That was a case in which one of the questions was whether the parties to the cause had obtained exemption from Part IV of the Travancore Ezhava Act. 1100 (Act III of 1100) in the matter of succession and partition. It was found by the Supreme Court that even though in the pleadings there was no mention that such exemption had been secured, the parties appeared to have joined issue on that subject, the copy of the relevant Gazette Notification mentioning the names of those to whom exemption had been granted had been filed and evidence was led about such exemption having been applied for and obtained. The Supreme Court, in the circumstances of that case, felt that the parties went to trial fully understanding the central fact whether the succession would be covered by the provisions of Ezhava Act or not. The absence of any issue, in the opinion of the Supreme Court, did not lead to a mistrial, sufficient to vitiate the decision and that the subject of exemption was properly raised between the parties. In a case like the present, however, the fact thai the parties were alive to the issue would not be enough to sustain a decree in favour of the husband because of his failure to put forward cruelty on the part of the wife as a ground upon which he was seeking relief against her, for such a plea had to be made by him in the petition itself in terms of the variousprovisions of the Act noticed earlier. The decree of judicial separation cannot, in these circumstances, be upheld.

18. In the view that I have taken, it is unnecessary to consider the other submissions made before me by the learned counsel for the parties.

17. In sum, the appeal succeeds and is allowed. The decree of the court below is set aside. The respondent's petition is dismissed with costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //