The Delhi high court has observed that casting aspersions on the character of a spouse is the worst form of cruelty and amounts to mental torture.
The court made this observation while granting divorce to a woman.
"As per the settled legal position, casting such aspersions on the character of the spouse has the effect of causing deleterious effects on the mind of the spouse and the same is the worse form of cruelty," Justice Kailash Gambhir said, while setting aside a lower court's ruling.
Earlier, a lower court had dismissed the woman's plea for divorce.
"Beatings by the husband on many occasions by itself constitutes cruelty. But scandalous allegations levelled by him, attacking the moral character of the wife or attributing her relationship with some sadhu, certainly amounts to the worse form of cruelty in the absence of any corroboration to such allegations (sic)," the judge added.
The court's ruling came after an appeal filed by the woman, challenging the lower court's dismissal of her plea for divorce on the grounds that her husband had suspected her fidelity and had accused her of having an extra-marital affair with a sadhu.
The high court also censured the lower court for dismissing the woman's plea.
"This court fails to comprehend as to how such a view could be taken by the trial court, as clearly serious and malicious allegations of the wife having relationship with one sadhu and her staying out of the house during nights were levelled by the husband," Justice Gambhir wondered.
The woman told the court that she had gotten married as per the Hindu rites in 1980 and that after two years of the marriage, she had given birth to a daughter.
She alleged that her husband's attitude changed suddenly after the birth of her daughter as he had been expected a son. Besides beating her, he used to accuse her of having an affair with a sadhu, she claimed.