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Parshotam Krishan Vs. Prem Lata - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 79 of 1978
Judge
Reported in15(1979)DLT324
ActsHindu Marriage Act, 1955 - Sections 13
AppellantParshotam Krishan
RespondentPrem Lata
Advocates: C.L. Joseph and; L.D. Garg, Advs
Cases ReferredParihar v. Parihar
Excerpt:
.....were so poor that she should have treated the petitioner and his family with contempt as alleged- only the evidence of rw-7 govind narain touches on this point. this was all and there is nothing to show that the family of the petitioner was so poorly off that the respondent could have developed an attitude of contempt which she is alleged to have developed. i am entirely unable to place any reliance on the evidence in support of this allegation and the plea of cruelty based on this circumstance has to fail. thereupon it is stated that he was con- fined in a room of the premises and left confined there for more than 24 hours where after his father had come and taken him away in a very weak condition. (8) i have gone carefully through the evidence on the petitioner's side as well..........said date. public witness . 1 who was a shopkeeper at gurgaon and neighbourer of the respondent's brother has stated that he used to visit the parties at their residence at sarojni nagar till july 19/1. he used to bring articles given by the respondent's brother to the petitioner. an attempt was made in the cross-examination of this witness to show that he was not even familiar with the features of the petitioner but he has answered the questions put to him and that no attempt his been made to show that his answeres were wrong and that he hid not even met the petitioner at any time and had given his evidence to oblige the respondent's brother who was his neighbour. pv-2 is an advocate. he stated that he had gone to see his sister at sarojini nagar in june, 1971 and that he met the.....
Judgment:

S. Ranganathan, J.

(1) This is an appeal by the husband from an order of the learned Addl. District Judge dismissing his petition for divorce filed under Section 10, 12 and 13 of the Hindu Marriage.

(2) Parshotam Krishan the appellant and Prem Lata the wife were married at Gurgaon on 17th May, 1969 in accordance with Hindu rites. The petitioner is a technician in the Civil Aviation Department of the Government of India. The petitioner's father and mother reside at Karnal and the petitioner is their only son. The respondent lived with her mother and brother (her father was no more) at Gurgoan.

(3) The petition was filed on the 30th September, 1972. According to the petitioner the respondent had been hostile to him from the very beginning. His allegation is that the respondent felt that she belonged to a rich family and that she could not live with the petitioner whose resources were not substan tial. She is alleged to have repeatedly complained that the petitioner was a man of poor means and could not afford a car or a bungalow. She is stated to have called him and the members of his family all sorts of names. It was alleged that within few days of the marriage she took away all the articles which had been brought in dowry, that on 12th August, 1969 she joined the Oriental Training classes at Rohtak without the petitioner's consent in order to be able to have independent income, and that on 11th November, 1969 she again took away all ornaments, jewellery and valuable clothes. The petitioner had been initially posted at Calcutta at the time of the marriage but subsequently he was transferred to Delhi and lived first at Lodhi Colony and then at Sarojini Nagar. It was alleged that when the parties were at Delhi the respondent used to take bath in the balcony and not in the bath-room in order to condemn the petitioner in the eyes of his neighbours. Again in November, 1969, she was stated to have made a demand of a sum of Rs. 10000.00 from the petitioner without specifying any purpose thereforee, and when the petitioner was unable to pay that amount the respondent abused him. On 12 the March, 1970 according to the petitioner the respondent left the house in which they were living when the petitioner was not there and went away to Gurgaon. When the petitioner came back home he made enquiries and came to know that the respondent had left with her brother. On the following day the petitioner is stated to have gone to Gurgaon to ask the respondent to come back with him but it is stated that the respondent refused to do so saying that she did not marry him to put up with him but only to show to the public that she is married and that if the petitioner needed the respondent then he should stay with her at Gurgaon and sever all connections with his parents. It was also alleged that the respondent stated that she is from a family of lawyers and had fully studied the Hindu Marriage Act and it is alleged that she wanted the petitioner to sign a 'Talaknama' which the petitioner refused. The petitioner thereforee stated that the respondent had deserted the company of the petitioner without any cause from 12-3-1970. ltwas thus.on the grounds of cruelty and desertion that a decree for divorce was asked for. The petitioner also made a reference in his amended petition to Section 13(ii') (b) inserted by the Marriage Laws (Amendment Act of 1976) but no facts were pleaded in support of this ground and this ground was also not used either in the lower court or before me.

(4) The learned Addl. District Judge framed two issues, the first regard ing desertion and the second regarding cruelty. The petitioner produced 11 witnesses and examined himself as Public Witness Public Witness 12. On behalf of the respondent also a number of witnesses were examined. The learned Addl. District Judge considered the deposition of these witnesses at length and he came to the conclusion that neither cruelty nor desertion had been proved. He thereforee decided the issues in favor of the respondent and dismissed the petition by his order dated 27-2-1978. Hence the present appeal.

(5) Mr. Josheph, learned counsel for the appellant, has taken me through the pleadings as well as the evidence in the case. So far as the allegations of cruelty, is concerned it is seen that the allegations of the petitioner are very vague and general. It is clear from the evidence that the two families knew each other before the marriage took place because the petitioner's grand-father also hailed from Gurgaon. There is nothing to show that the respondent was so prosperous or so affluent in her circumstances or that the petitioner's circumstances were so poor that she should have treated the petitioner and his family with contempt as alleged- Only the evidence of RW-7 Govind Narain touches on this point.He stated that the status of the respondent's brother and mother was that of a middle class family. They no doubt had a large bungalow at Gurgaon but 25 to 26 members of the respondent family including her mother and brothers were living in that bungalow. There was no domestic servant except a part time maid servant to clean the utensils. The respondent's brother had a car. This was all and there is nothing to show that the family of the petitioner was so poorly off that the respondent could have developed an attitude of contempt which she is alleged to have developed.

(6) Again there is no mention either in the pleadings. or in the evidence of any particular events or circumstances which led the respondent and her to abuse her husband and the members of his family. All that has been stated is that once in the month of November, 1969 she demanded a sum of Rs. 10000.00 from the husband which he was unable to pay. The respondent was fully aware that her husband was an employee in the civil aviation department and it is highly incredible that she would have demanded Rs. l0000.00 from him for no specific purpose whatever.

(7) Mr. Josheph, learned counsel for the petitioner, relied only upon two incidents in order to make out the plea of cruelty put forward by the petitioner The first was the allegation that the respondent used to humiliate the petitioner by taking her bath in the balcony and refused to bathe in the bath-room. I entirely agree with the learned Addl. Distt. Judge that this is a totally incredible version. It is not the petitioner's allegation that there was any mental infirmity from which the respondent suffered. That apart such action appears to be entirely without reason when there was a bath-room in the house occupied by the parties. Mr. Josheph stated that the intention of the respondent was that as a result of this act of hers the water would overflow and would drip on the premises of neighbours and there will be humiliation and harassment to the petitioner. There is no such evidence that as a result of this conduct of the respondent the petitioner had to undergo humiliation and suffering. The only evidence in support of this curious allegation is that of the petitioner's sister's husband and this was in my opinion rightly disbelieved by the learned Addl. District Judge. On the contrary there was evidence led by the respondent to show that the balcony was not open but was covered by a Tirpal so that even if the fact alleged was true it was not either calculated to cause any harassment or embarassment to the petitioner or to humiliate him. I am entirely unable to place any reliance on the evidence in support of this allegation and the plea of cruelty based on this circumstance has to fail. The other point on which Mr. Josheph laid stress was that on the 14th March, 1970 when the petitioner went to Gurgaon to fetch back the respondent after she had left him he was insulted and humiliated by his inlaws. Sri Josheph pointed out that the respondent had told him that she could not live with him and that he should sign a 'Talaknama' in her favor. This again is totally unbelievable. The respondent's brother was a lawyer and the allegation that they tried to obtain a 'Talaknama' from the petitioner is totally meaningless as that would not have helped them in any way. Actually the petitioner's version regarding what had happened on the 13/14th of March) 1973 is highly unbelievable. According to the petitioner the respondent had left him on the 12th March, 1970. He is stated to have gone to Gurgaon on the 13th March, 1970 and called upon the respondent to accompany him to the marital home. Thereupon it is stated that he was con- fined in a room of the premises and left confined there for more than 24 hours where after his father had come and taken him away in a very weak condition. Here again even the admitted facts do not lend any credence to this version. On the 13th the petitioner appears to have resorted to a hunger strike at the residence of the respondent in Gurgaon. It is the evidence of the petitioner's father that a telegram was sent to him stating that the petitioner was on fast and requesting him to reach there immediately. It is also stated in the evidence on behalf of the petitioner that the mother-in-law and the brother of the respondent came all the way to Delhi to the house of an uncle of the petitioner (Public Witness 3) and told him that the petitioner had gone on hunger strike. If it had been really the intention of the respondent's brothers and other relatives to force the petitioner to agree to a divorce and sign a 'Talaknama' as alleged then this conduct on their part is inexplicable. On the other hand the evidence indicates that when for some reason the petitioner refused to take food and made some sort of protest at the residence of the in-laws they immediately took steps to summon his relatives to come to his help and to take him back. It is not possible to believe that in the strained circumstances between the two families if the petitioner had really been confined and an attempt had been made to extract a ' divorce deed from him the petitioner and his father would have taken it quietly. They would have certainly taken steps to bring the respondents to book their illegal action.

(8) I have gone carefully through the evidence on the petitioner's side as well as the evidence led by the respondent. I think the learned counsel for the respondent is right in saying that the petitioner has built up the allegations step by step and that the evidence tendered on his behalf is wholly unbelievable in regard to the allegations of cruelty. I am unable to accept the contentions on behalf of the petitioner that a case of cruelty by the wife has been established neither on the basis of the two incidents above referred to or otherwise.

(9) Mr. Josheph then invited my attention to Ext. PX-1. This was a letter addressed by the respondent to the Director-General of Civil Aviation who is the official superior of the petitioner. The letter is dated 16-1-1976. In the letter it is alleged that the petitioner had remarried one Chandra Kanta whose address was given in the letter and had also got a male child by her. The respondent prayed that she should be helped in leading a peaceful life and that towards that end suitable action might be taken on the latter. PX/2, a letter dated 2ad July, was the reply of the Government of India. This merely states that no evidence was available about the polygamous act of the petitioner, that the petitioner had reported that he had filed a suit for judicial separation and also tiled proceedings for the nullity of the marriage and was paying the respondent maintenance pendete lite and that in view of the above the revisions of the conduct rules were not attracted in this case. Sri Joseph contends that the department had conducted an enquiry into the truth of the allegations and had found them to be false. He urges that the very act of this lady in writing a letter to the offieial superior containing baseless allegations constituted an act of cruelty. Referring to the judgment in Parihar v. Parihar, he contended that the Court could take into account this subsequent act on behalf of the respondent and grant the petitioner relief by way of divorce for this act of cruelty on the part of the respondent. Interesting as this argument is I am unable to accept it for a number of reasons. In the first place though the petition was filed on 30-9-1972 it was subsequently amended on two occasions. The last of such amendments was in December^ 1976 much subsequent to the letter Ex. PX/1. Learned counsel for the respondent rightly points out that if the petitioner intended to allege cruelty on the basis of this letter then he should have amended the petition appropriately to include the said allegation. That was not done. Again it is difficult to agree with the contention of Mr. Josheph that the writing of the letter constitutes an act of cruelty. The letter no doubt alleges that the petitioner had remarried but the truth or otherwise of this allegation doss not appear to have been investigated. The letter Ex. PX/2 does not show that the department had conducted any enquiries and found it to be a false allegation. On the other hand it appears merely that the department rejected the prayer of the respondent for the simple reason that divorce proceedings between the parties were pending. In any event before it can be stated that this was a malicious act of cruelty on the part of the wife she should have been given an opportunity to produce evidence in support of the allegations or the petitioner should have led evidence to demonstrate that it was a false allegation. As already stated even an attempt to amend the petition in this respect was not made. There has been absolutely no opportunity to the respondent to put forward her case so far as this letter is concerned. Moreover this letter was also put to the respondent in the course of hei crossexamination. She again asserted that the contents of this letter were true and this deposition remains uncontroverter. Having regard to these circumstances I am unable to accept the contention of Sri Josheph that the respondent should be held to be guilty of an act of cruelty because of the letter dated 16-1-1976 and that a decree for divorce should bs granted on this ground alone.

(10) The principal ground in support of the plea of divorce that is put forward by Sri Josheph is the plea of desertion. At the outset it may be emphasised that the petition was dated April, 1972 and was filed in September, 1972. In order to be able to maintain the petition the petitioner should be able to show that the respondent had destroyed him for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition. That is why it was alleged in the petition that the respondent had destroyed the petitioner on the 12th March, 1972. If this desertion on this date is not established by evidence then the petitioner's case has to fail. In support of this ground the petitioner had apart from the evidence of himself and his father led the evidence of his sister's husband Public Witness . 7. This gentleman claims to have gone to the petitioners house on that date when he found a three-wheeler scooter waiting outside the residence and only the brother of the respondent was sitting therein with laggage. He asked her if she was going and she replied in the affarmative. She staled that she was not aware wherethe petitioner was and left along with her brother in that scooter. The witness stated that liter onthe petitioner told him that the respondent left the home without his permission or knowledgs and that thereafter the respondent never rejoined the pititioner. But as against this there is considerable evidence on the part of the respondent to show that it was not correct to say that the respondent had deserted the petitioner onthel2th March, 1970 but that they were living together even after the said date. Public Witness . 1 who was a shopkeeper at Gurgaon and neighbourer of the respondent's brother has stated that he used to visit the parties at their residence at Sarojni Nagar till July 19/1. He used to bring articles given by the respondent's brother to the petitioner. An attempt was made in the cross-examination of this witness to show that he was not even familiar with the features of the petitioner but he has answered the questions put to him and that no attempt his been made to show that his answeres were wrong and that he hid not even met the petitioner at any time and had given his evidence to oblige the respondent's brother who was his neighbour. PV-2 is an advocate. He stated that he had gone to see his sister at Sarojini Nagar in June, 1971 and that he met the petitioner and the respondent in Sarojini Nagar and that he had accompanies them to their residence. He was no doubt related to the respondent and her brother there is no reason to disbelieve the evidence of this gentleman that he met the parties in July, 1971 at Sarojini Nagar where he had gone to meet his sister. Public Witness -3 is stated to be a Drawing Master in a school at Tundla Hera near Gurgaon who claimed that he had gone to the petitioner's residence in order to deliver some charts asked for from him in August, 1971 at Sarojini Nagar. Public Witness -4 was again an advocate and a close friend of respondent's brother. He also stated that in August, 1970 he met the parties near the bus stand in Karnal and that the parties had taken him to their house. Public Witness -5, also a relative of the respondent stated that he was residing in Laxmibai Nagar where the petitioner and the respondent used to visit him, and vice versa. He deposed that the petitioner and the respondent livej in the Sarojini Nagarhouse till August, 1971. Thus there is ample evidence to show that on 12th March, 1970 the respondent had gone away once and for all from the petitioner's house. The pstitioner himself followed her onthe 13th March, 1970 and according to the evidence of petitioner's father there was an attempted reconciliation through the intervention of a common friend. All these circumstances indicate that the parties had not parted finally on the 12th March, 1970 as alleged by the petitioner. There is evidence that even after this date the parties were living together till September, 1971 when she found that it was no longer possible to live with him and she was turned out of the house but whether the parties were together till September, 1971 or not there is clear evidence to show that they had not parted finally in March, 1970 as it has been alleged.

(11) Mr. Josheph, counsel for the petitioner, pointed out that the respondent had joined O.T. classes at Rohtak which she was attending in October- November, 1969. He drew my attention to AW9/1 which showed that in the form for admission to this institution the respondent had given her address as care of her brother and that the name of the petitioner had nowhere been mentioned. In myopinion this does not carry the case of the petitioner very far. It is seen that the respondent was studying at Rohtak from 1-9-1969 to January, 1970. It is nobody's case that the parties had parted company even in September, 1969. An Explanationn was also given for mentioning the name of the brother in this application. It was stated that the parties were living in Delhi and that since it would have been more easy to obtain admission in the Rohtak if an address in Haryana was given the parties had given this address. Sri Josheph points out that the petitioner's father was living at Karnal and that if a Haryana address was needed the address of the petitioner's father could have been given. This may be so but at the same time there is a logical Explanationn for the respondent having given the address of her brother at Gurgaon and as I have already stated that it is nobody's case that even in September, 1969 or thereabout, when this application for admission in the Rohtak college had been made the respondent had deserted the petitioner. I am thereforee of opinion that the learned Addl. Judge was correct in coming to the conclusion that the petitioner had not established a case of desertion by the respondent much less desertion in March 1970, and that the petition was rightly dismissed. This appeal also fails and is dismissed. As the petitioner has already paid a sum of Rs. 500.00 to the respondent towards costs and maintenance during the pendency of this appeal, I make no order as to costs.


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