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Bombay HC says not offering water to husband is not cruelty

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Mumbai: Dismissing a plea by a 52-year-old Santacruz resident seeking to divorce from his wife (40) on the grounds that she treated him cruelly, the Bombay high court recently said that  not taking care of a husband’s needs or failing to even offer him water when he returns home late from work does not amount to cruelty.

One of the allegations levelled by the man, a bank employee, was that his wife would not look after his needs or offer him water when he returned home late from work.

A division bench of Justice Kamalkishor Tated and Justice Sarang Kotwal said it would not amount to cruelty and pointed out that the woman herself was employed as a teacher. “In addition to attending to her job, she was admittedly cooking in the morning as well as in the evening. The evidence shows that on her way she used to purchase vegetables. It is obvious that she herself used to get tired and still she was cooking for the family and doing other household work,” said the bench.

The couple had married in 2005 and lived in their matrimonial home with the man’s parents. According to his divorce plea, the man claimed his wife used to come home late from work and pick up quarrels with his aged parents. He alleged that the food cooked by her was not tasty and she would constantly insist that his parents be driven away from the matrimonial home. In 2006, he claimed that she left home while the wife alleged that she was locked out and driven away. In the family court he called in his father as a witness to substantiate his claims while the woman called in their neighbour and a cousin of the man. The neighbour testified that the woman would be constantly working at home and faced taunts from her in-laws. The family court had dismissed the divorce application in 2012, which the man challenged in high court.

The high court perused the evidence and pointed out that both the man and his wife were out at work during the day therefore there was little time for friction between the woman and her in-laws or for him to have witnessed any fights. The man had also cited a non-cognisable complaint that he had lodged against the woman a few months before his divorce plea accusing her of scratching and twisting his fingers. “It is quite unbelievable that just for scratching and for twisting of fingers the man had to take treatment in a hospital. In our opinion, this was done by him to prepare the ground for filing petition for divorce,” said the high court.

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