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Denying spouse sex a ground for divorce, citing mental cruelty: Allahabad HC

  • Allahabad HC redefines mental cruelty in divorce cases: Denying sexual intercourse to spouse without valid reason
  • New grounds for divorce: Long-term denial of sexual relations deemed mentally abusive
  • Allahabad High Court sets precedent: Lack of physical intimacy can constitute mental cruelty in marital relationships

25 May 2023

The Allahabad High Court allowed the husband's petition for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, saying that not allowing a wife to have intercourse with her partner for a long period of time without sufficient reason amounts to mental cruelty.

A bench comprising Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV was hearing the husband's appeal against the family court's decision rejecting his divorce petition.

Since there is no acceptable view that a husband can be compelled to resume life with his wife, there is no point in trying to keep the parties forever bound by marriage before it has actually ceased and rejected the view held by the family court at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. "Undoubtedly, not allowing a husband to have intercourse with his partner for a long period of time without sufficient reason, itself constitutes mental cruelty to such a husband," the bench observed.

Referring to the judgments of the Supreme Court on mental cruelty, the court said that on perusal of the plaint and other available evidence, it must accept the opinion of the court and set aside and set aside the order of the family court.

The couple married in 1979 according to Hindu rites and rituals. "Gauna" was performed after seven years of marriage. The husband stated that at first her conduct and behavior were good, but suddenly she changed her walk and refused to live with him as a wife. He said that he tried hard to convince her, but she did not pursue a relationship with him.

The husband further said that he felt that his marriage to his estranged wife was just an eyewash as serious marital problems developed between them immediately after the 'gauna' which kept growing. The husband, who was stationed at the police department, said that although they lived under the same roof for some time, his wife voluntarily started living separately after some time of "gauna" in her parents' house.

According to the details of the case, the husband went to take his wife to his home. However, his wife refused to accompany him after some time and asked for a divorce based on consent. The husband later applied to the family court for a decree of divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty, long desertion and the divorce agreement between them. The husband also claimed that his estranged wife had contracted a second marriage and they had two sons from the second marriage.

The wife did not appear in court despite sufficient notice by publication and the matter was referred to ex-parte proceedings. It rejected the husband's application earlier in 2005 and the family court said it did not find his case proven. Aggrieved by the family court's order, the husband challenged the decision in the High Court.


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