Divorce Petition-Cogent Evidence Required to Prove Offence of Adultery

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June 17, 2019

In a recent case, the High Court of Punjab & Haryana while deciding a divorce petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act noted that to prove adultery cogent evidence is required and that ordinary wear and tear in married life does not lead to divorce.

In the present case, the Appellant husband has challenged decree passed by the Lower Court, whereby the Court dismissed the appellant’s petition for divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 against respondent wife.

The husband alleged that the respondent wife had an aggressive behavior and she used to quarrel with his parents. The appellant has also alleged that his wife had extra-marital affair.

Bench’s Verdict

The High Court of Punjab & Haryana in view of facts and evidence through witnesses adduced in the case upheld the Lower Court’s order and made the following observations in the case:

Cooling off period- The Court noted that in the case, the wife had left matrimonial home on 13.05.2015 and the divorce petition was filed on 25.02.2016, thus, on the date of filing of the divorce petition, the statutory period of two years as provided under Section 13(1)(ib) had not expired. The Court also opined that the relief of divorce was denied because the legislation in its wisdom had framed the Act on the basis of “fault theory” and “break down theory” which was not proved in the present case.

Charge of Adultery against wife- While deciding this aspect of the case, the High Court made reference to the case of Rajni Goyal versus Amit Kumar[1], wherein the Court observed that “adultery is a serious charge and has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But at the same time it is difficult to procure direct evidence for proving such a charge. It is only from the circumstances that an inference can be drawn that the spouse against whom complaint has been made was leading an adulterous life”. Thus, the court held that in the present case there is ordinary wear and tear of the married life of the parties, which happens in day to day life. Mere aggressive behaviour and sadness of mood of wife does not mean that the wife is spoiling the atmosphere of her matrimonial home.

Cogent evidence required for proving offence of Adultery- In this context, the Court was of the view that no cogent evidence has been placed on record to prove adulterous relationship of respondent-wife with one, Kuldeep Shekhawat.


[1] 2015 (2) R.C.R. (Civil) 871