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Smt. Satya Devi Vs. Ajaib Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Civil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Appeal No. 30 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Raj20; 1972()WLN392
ActsHindu Marriage Act, 1955 - Sections 9
AppellantSmt. Satya Devi
RespondentAjaib Singh
Appellant Advocate Mangha Ram, Adv.
Respondent Advocate K.N. Tikku, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Timmins v. Timmins
Excerpt:
.....of the husband there was still a reasonable cause for the wife's not returning to the husband the learned judge considered air 1959 punj 162 for this and came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable excuse for the wife to withdraw from the society of the husband. satya had stated that after the marriage she was treated well by her husband for about a year, but thereafter he started maltreating her saying that she was of a black complexion and. i am, therefore, in agreement with the learned district judge in holding that the wife had failed to establish cruelty on the part of the husband. he pointed out that even if the wife had not been able to make good her plea of cruelty on the part of the husband, it would nevertheless be the duty of the court to see in terms of sub-section..........of the husband there was still a reasonable cause for the wife's not returning to the husband the learned judge considered air 1959 punj 162 for this and came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable excuse for the wife to withdraw from the society of the husband.5. i have been taken through the entire evidence on record by learned counsel and i may first deal with it. in her statement as d. w. 1 smt. satya had stated that after the marriage she was treated well by her husband for about a year, but thereafter he started maltreating her saying that she was of a black complexion and. therefore, he would be taking another wife. she then stated that only two 'rotis' would be given to her to eat for the whole day and she used to be kept confined in the room.6. the incidents between.....
Judgment:

Kan Singh, J.

1. This is a wife's appeal against the judgment and decree of the learned District Judge. Ganganagar dated 31-1-1968 granting conjugal rights to the husband and directing that the wife snail return and live with the husband.

2. The parties were a young couple. They were married according to the Sikh rites on 5-10-1962 at Chak 16, P. S. Tehsil Raisinghnagar. A son was born on 1-7-1964 to the parties. The petitioning husband averred that the wife had gone to see her parents on 28-12-1965, but had thereafter never returned to him. According to him. he went to fetch the wife in the first week of February, 1966. but she refused to come with him without any reasonable excuse. The wife contested the application. She denied that her husband had come to take her away. She pleaded cruelty on his part. According to her. the husband was a drunkard and was not faithful to the wife. He had told her several times that he was not satisfied with her and would marry another girl. The husband wanted the wife's consent for this, but she was not agreeable to the husband taking another wife. It was for this reason that the husband started maltreating the wife. The wife alleged that the husband had on diverse occasions, between November. 1963 and January. 1964 beaten her and treated her with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in her mind that it would be injurious for her to live with the husband. She proceeded to say that in January, 1964 the husband had forcibly sent, her away to her father's home in Chak 16 P. S. She therefore, remained at her father's house for one year. Thereafter on persuasion of certain Panchas the husband took the wife to his own house, but he again started maltreating her. The husband was alleged to have beaten her several times between July, 1965 and November. 1965.

Then the husband sent her back to her father's house and since then she had been residing there. The learned District Judge framed the following two Issues :--

(1) Is the petitioner guilty of cruelty towards the respondent as alleged by her in her written statement?

(2) To what relief is she entitled?

3. The wife examined herself as D. W. 1 and produced D. W. 2 Pritam Singh and D, W. 3 Bidar Singh in support of her version. In rebuttal the husband examined himself.

4. The learned District Judge con-eidered the evidence led by the parties. He held that the wife had failed to prove that the husband was guilty of cruelty towards the wife as alleged by her. Under issue No. 2 he also considered the question whether in spite of the wife's failure to establish legal cruelty on the part of the husband there was still a reasonable cause for the wife's not returning to the husband The learned Judge considered AIR 1959 Punj 162 for this and came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable excuse for the wife to withdraw from the society of the husband.

5. I have been taken through the entire evidence on record by learned counsel and I may first deal with it. In her statement as D. W. 1 Smt. Satya had stated that after the marriage she was treated well by her husband for about a year, but thereafter he started maltreating her saying that she was of a black complexion and. therefore, he would be taking another wife. She then stated that only two 'Rotis' would be given to her to eat for the whole day and she used to be kept confined in the room.

6. The incidents between them would fall in two parts. On the first occasion when prior to the child's birth she was maltreated she left for her father's house. Then she gave birth to the child. Thereafter she lived with her parents for almost 8 months. Then on the persuasion of certain Panchas the husband took her away to his house and then they again lived together for 5 or 6 months. During this period of 5 or 6 months she had again been treated with cruelty and used to be given only two 'Rotis' to eat for the whole day. Then her father and a few Panchas again came to the house of the husband. At that time the husband told the Panchas to take away the wife and then she was taken away to the house of the wife's parents. Now. what is important is whether the behaviour of the husband has been shown to be cruel for the second period, because it is obvious that when the parties had patched up earlier they seem to have forgotten and forgiven each other. Such things do happen in the wear and tear of a normal married life. We have, therefore, to see as to how the husband had treated the wife after she had been taken to the husband's home with the child. Now. regarding the husband or his people under-feeding the wife, it is enough to sav that she has not said anything of the kind in her written statement. One cannot, therefore, put faith regarding this assertion on her testimony. Then let us look to the two witnesses examined by her namely, Pri-tam Singh D. W. 2 and Didar Singh D, W. 3. These witnesses are not at all helpful for showing that the husband was treating the wife with cruelty on the second occasion. Pritam Singh was told by Dolat Singh that the husband was beating the wife. It is nothing but hearsay. He also stated that Smt. Satya had been telling the same thing. That again is hearsay. This is about the incident earlier to the birth of the child. Regard-ins the second period this witness has not said anything. He had only stated that the wife had gone to her husband's home and had lived there for 6 months and thereafter she had again started living with her parents and none had come to take her back. Didar Singh D. W. 3 had also stated that Dolat Singh had told him that the husband was beating the wife and had left her at his house. Thereafter a son was born to the wife. Then the husband had taken away the wife and the wife had lived at husband's house for 5 or 6 months. Then the witness, Dolat Singh and Tej Singh had gone to the husband's home. These persons told the husband not to beat the wife, but the husband said he wanted to have another marriage and. therefore, he would not be keeping the wife. Then these persons had brought the wife to her father's house where she had been living for the last 9 or 10 months. He added that none had come to take back the wife. This witness is also not helpful for showing that the husband had beaten his wife. I am, therefore, in agreement with the learned District Judge in holding that the wife had failed to establish cruelty on the part of the husband.

7. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the whole approach of the learned District Judge was erroneous. He pointed out that even if the wife had not been able to make good her plea of cruelty on the part of the husband, it would nevertheless be the duty of the court to see in terms of Sub-section (1) to Section 9. if the husband had discharged his obligations namely, of showing that the wife was staying away without reasonable cause.

8. The learned Judge has already referred to some observations in AIR 1969 Punjab 1962. which are to the following effect :--

'That even if the conduct of the husband is found short of legal cruelty of the kind mentioned in Section 10(8) of the Hindu Marriage Act his misbehaviour or misconduct towards the wife was enough to justify her separation from him.'

It may be noted that that was no doubt a case under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act and not one under Section 9 thereof, but the learned Judge has considered the question whether there was anv reasonable excuse for the wife to stay away from the husband. The question whether conduct falling short of cruelty or anv other matrimonial offence can justify one spouse in leaving another has been much debated in England and judicial opinion on the question is not wholly uniform. But the more recent and acceptable view seems to be that the 'just cause' must be 'grave and weighty' or as it is sometimes said 'grave and convincing' and that it may be distinct from a matrimonial offence. It may be distinct from cruelty to the extent that it falls short of or is less than legal cruelty but none the less the reasons forj withdrawal from, the society of the petitioner must be grave and weighty. In Timmins v. Timmins, (1953) 2 All ER 187, the husband was not found guilty of cruelty but his conduct was grave and weighty which gave the wife good cause for leaving him and prevented him from obtaining a decree for restitution of conjugal rights unless and until he satisfied the court that, if she returned to him he would behave with conjugal kindness and this was. therefore, held to be a defence to the husband's petition for restitution (vide Mulla's Commentary on Hindu Law, 13th Edition, at page 643). The reasons for a wife to stay away from the husband have nonetheless to be grave and weighty even though they may not amount to legal cruelty. The question then is whether any grave and weighty reasons are there for the wife to stay away from the husband. The learned District Judge has considered the matter under issue No. 2 and has reached the conclusion that the wife had no reasonable excuse for refusing to live with the husband. I have no good reason to take a different view.

9. The appeal has thus no force. Accordingly, I hereby dismiss it, but leave the parties to bear their own costs.


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