A woman’s inability to discharge matrimonial duties properly cannot be grounds for granting divorce, the Bombay High Court ruled recently.
The court, however, dissolved the marriage of the petitioner, a priest, who had filed the petition on the grounds of his wife’s adulterous nature.
The couple got married on June 2, 1991. Five years later, the husband suspected his wife’s character after he found her in somebody else’s company. In July 1996, he refused to live with her. She filed a petition in the Bandra family court for restitution of her conjugal rights.
The husband, a Telugu priest, filed a counter petition seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty. He said he was frustrated because of his wife’s inefficiency and inability to discharge her matrimonial duties well.
He said his wife chose not to do household work well because she wanted to harass him. He claimed he was compelled to do all the work at home in addition to his work as a priest.
The division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Amjad Syed, however, did not accept the argument. “Something more is required than mere inability of the spouse to discharge his or her matrimonial duties,” the judges said.
The high court, however, reversed the family court’s verdict and dissolved the marriage on the ground of the wife’s adulterous behavior. The judges found the family court had failed to consider evidence in this regard in its totality.
The husband alleged he saw his wife in somebody else’s company and had later noticed that the same person visited his house whenever he was out. The wife, however, maintained merely seeing her in somebody’s company was not enough to prove her adultery.
She also questioned the truth behind the incident saying her husband had not reacted in any manner when he saw her in somebody else’s company. The court, however, held merely because the husband did not react aggressively it does not mean the incident had not taken place.