The Delhi High Court has ruled that filing false complaints against one’s spouse years after the couple’s separation is considered an act of cruelty. The court further stated that such actions can damage a person’s reputation in the community in addition to causing humiliation.
In an order dated December 18, a bench presided over by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait declared that “making false allegations in a complaint filed after years of separation is again nothing but an act of vindictiveness to somehow not only harass the respondent but also cause embarrassment to him in public amounts to cruelty.”
The 19-page ruling also stated that “after separation (in mid-2001), various allegations were made in the complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, which were again held to be acts which would result in humiliation and lower the reputation of the respondent (husband) in the community.”
The woman entered a plea in court challenging a family court order from December 2020 that had been granted in connection with her husband’s divorce petition. The family court determined that the woman’s actions manifestly demonstrated her intention to permanently leave him, noting that she had not only made up and submitted false complaints to the crime against women (CAW) cell following their separation, but also made up claims that he had beaten his son.
In his divorce petition, the husband claimed that his wife was a combative person who not only refused to live with him but also had an affair. He also claimed that she had twice retracted her offer to the couple to divorce by mutual consent.
In addition, the man’s petition claimed that even though they had split up in 2001, his wife had filed a complaint with the crime against women (CAW) cell eight years later, in 2009. She filed a complaint under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, making various allegations, after it was discovered that the complaint had been forged.
Additionally, he claimed that even though he had two heart attacks while they were apart, she had only ever seen him once.
The bench, which included Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, declared that a wife’s callous disregard for her husband in the absence of customary marital kindness is cruel.
Therefore, the appellant’s actions of repeatedly leading the respondent to believe that their disputes were going to be resolved and then withdrawing from attempted settlements can instill in the respondent feelings of cruelty, uncertainty, and unease. It is clear that she turned to filing false complaints in the CAW cell when the issues could not be resolved peacefully, as would be expected of any educated couple, the bench stated.
The wife, represented by attorney Koplin K. Kandhari, stated that she did not desert her husband but rather that she was forced to live outside of the marital home as a result of his cruel behavior. Kandhari further argued that the husband’s nebulous accusations of cruelty against her, which lacked specificity regarding the incidents’ timing or place, could not have been used as support for a cruelty-based divorce.