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    The Delhi High Court granted a Divorce to a man holding that his estranged wife’s false allegation of the illegitimate relation between her husband and her husband’s widowed sister-in-law amounted to cruelty.

    An appeal was filed challenging a Trial Court Order, Justice J.R. Midha where a couple who were married in 1978 and were residing in London, had granted a decree of Judicial Separation as per Section 13A of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Section 13A says that “A decree of judicial separation does not dissolve a marriage and gives the couple time to introspect about their relationship and decide if they want to get back together, unlike a divorce which marks an end to the marriage.” Both husband and wife had challenged the order of Trial Court by filing separate appeals, the husband has filed an appeal demanding the decree of Divorce, while the wife has filed for setting aside of the order of judicial separation.

    In this case, the husband had inter alia alleged that his wife was very suspicious of him, often abused him for the same reason and threw tantrums and was callous and irresponsible towards his mother. The wife had heatedly opposed the allegations and had pressed the same contentions of her husband for having an extra-marital affair with his widowed sister-in-law. On which the court had opined that the contentions were, in fact, false, and observed that the wife has failed to prove the contentions against her husband’s illegitimate relationship with his widowed sister-in-law which amounts to cruelty.

    The High Court further noted that the reason for refusing the Decree of Divorce by Trial court was that the court was of opinion that there might be a possibility for the parties to live together as a husband and wife.

    The Court on this view set aside the decree of judicial separation and granted a divorce to the couple on grounds of cruelty and it said in addition that “the marriage between the parties is dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty”. It further clarified that the wife can move an application for permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act before the Trial.

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