SC Broadens Definition Of Mental Cruelty For Divorce

This is the Samar Ghosh (IAS) judgment by the Supreme Court broadening the definition of Mental Cruelty.

Here is a detailed analysis

Here is a summary:
The Supreme Court instructed lower courts dealing with divorce petitions on the ground of mental cruelty “to review married life as a whole” and “that a few isolated incidents over a period of years will not amount to cruelty”.

The bench focused on what it called “sustained behaviour”. It said that “mere coldness or lack of affection cannot amount to cruelty” but made allowance for the fact that “frequent rudeness of language, petulance of manner, indifference and neglect may reach such a degree that it makes the married life for the other spouse absolutely intolerable”.

The judges observed: “The concept of mental cruelty cannot remain static; it is bound to change with the passage of time, the impact of modern culture through the print and electronic media and value system, etc. What might be mental cruelty now might not be so with the passage of time and vice versa. There can never be any straitjacket formula in matrimonial matters.”

Mental cruelty, they said, “was a state of mind”; “the feeling of deep anguish, disappointment, frustration in one spouse caused by the conduct of the other for a long time might constitute mental cruelty. So would a sustained course of abusive and humiliating treatment calculated to torture or render miserable the life of the spouse, and sustained unjustifiable conduct and behaviour of one spouse actually affecting physical and mental health of the other

““Unilateral decision of refusal to have intercourse for a considerable period without there being any physical incapacity or valid reason may amount to mental cruelty.” Writing the judgment, Justice Bhandari said if a man underwent sterilisation without medical reasons and without the consent or knowledge of his wife and similarly if a woman underwent tubectomy or abortion without medical reason or without the consent or knowledge of her husband, such an act might lead to mental cruelty.”

Here it is:SC Samar Ghosh (IAS) Judgment



11 Responses to “SC Broadens Definition Of Mental Cruelty For Divorce”

  1. 1 ZAKI AHMED November 18, 2007 at 7:44 am

    i know what is 498a kya khali yah kahne se ke paisa maga ,ghar ke 4 member esi gawahi de dete he to lower court saja de sakta hai ,jabki reprt 6 sal bad ki gaye ho,our ladki kewal 4 month he sasural rahi ho


  2. 2 Ravindran September 1, 2008 at 8:51 am

    My sister Dr. Vijalakshmi, BSc, MBBS, MS(56) and her son Dr. Pravin Kumar BDS were arrested by All Woman Police Station, Tuticurin. The FIR was based on a false case of dowry. Later they got released on bail. The arrest was to satisfy my sister’s daughter-in-law.
    We know that the facts are twisted.
    How to come out of the problem.
    Please answer soon.
    Dr. S. Ravindran.


  3. 4 Chris February 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My sister is a rehabilitated paranoid schizophrenic. Her husband abandoned her 3 years ago and snatched away her girl child and all her belongings.

    He then gave false hope of patching up and during this time filed a court case for divorce against her.

    He comes from a very influential family and even has influenced our advocates.

    I would like to know as to what are the possibilities that we have of first getting her justice namely of getting her child back, second of getting her belongings back third of getting alamony ofr her and finally of getting him punished.


    • 5 Neelesh May 30, 2011 at 4:20 am

      dear friend,
      I feel really sorry to hear all your story .I have gone through your comment today also. Be beliver and believe that you will definately get justice. Your case is fit case where accused would definately get punishment .If you need any help from my side ,feel free to write me.


    • 6 Neelesh May 30, 2011 at 4:23 am

      dear friend,
      I feel really sorry to hear all your story .I have gone through your comment today also. Be beliver and believe that you will definately get justice. Your case is fit case where accused would definately get punishment .If you need any help from my side ,feel free to write me.
      The like your which is prima facie,shows will easily attract attention of court and will punish accused .In addition to 498 A ,you can also take help of women protection act ,it will also serve your purpose.


  4. 7 The Fountainhead August 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    You will not get help here. Men here are trying to defend other men who commit crime. They will not help you to punish him. Go to National Commission for Women.


    • 8 Stop August 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm

      do you believe that an agency headed by a corrupt politician like Girija Vyas, will help any one?, regardless of the bonafides of the case? Keep dreaming.
      Don’t you remember what the NCW did in the Nithari case?. Let me remind you. Nothing !
      Your bitterness is showing in your rantings.
      I feel that you may end up like the woman of My Anecdote – The Saga Of A 498A Woman.


  5. 9 rahul July 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    i feel very sad that i live in this third world country where u have to wait for 20 yrs to get divorce n settle down again in life…….i also got stuck in a bad marriage with a woman who was 12 yrs elder than me with kids.she kept generating all the evidence n i cud not prove my nullity case though lower court gave the nullity bt supreme court reversed the order.its been 12 yrs fighting with her.she is 50 and i am 36….i do not kno wot to do????she does not want to take divorce….wot to do????my life is spoiled…..whereas she is living happily with her kids from earlier husband and taking heavy maintenance from me…..
    pl advice


    • 10 Atul August 11, 2011 at 3:17 am

      Dear Rahul, Indian law is such that you need to maintain your ‘wife’ always. Whether divorced or not! Getting divorce is never the legal solution for getting away from maintenance. Start looking for other options/solutions.


  6. 11 Avoid Foreclosures In St George January 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    You are really a good webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing. It kind of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a magnificent task in this matter!


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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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