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