Odisha family court quashes divorce petition of BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty
The court also rejected the petition of Anubhav Mohanty’s wife and actor Varsha Priyadarshini for restitution of conjugal rights
A family court in Odisha on Friday rejected the divorce petition filed by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member of Parliament (MP) Anubhav Mohanty against his wife and film actor Varsha Priyadarshini as the couple could not prove their allegations and counter allegations.
The actor-turned-politician had filed a petition seeking a divorce from his wife Varsha Priyadarshini at a Delhi-based court in July 2020 citing non-consummation of marriage among other causes. The case was shifted to the family court in Cuttack following the direction of the Supreme Court in March 2021. The court also rejected the petition of Priyadarshini for restitution of conjugal rights.
The court held that Mohanty has failed to establish that his wife refused consummation of their marriage and caused mental cruelty to the petitioner by her conduct towards him and his family members. “As the petitioner has failed to substantiate his pleadings, he is not entitled to get a decree of divorce in his favour in the interest of social justice,” family court judge Swagati Das said in her order. The court also said though his wife Varsha claimed restitution of conjugal rights, she made unsubstantiated allegations against Mohanty.
“She is under protection of police as per the order of domestic violence court. She has filed some other cases against the petitioner(Mohanty) which are sub-judice. Therefore, allowing the prayer of restitution is not safe while the wife is not feeling secured in the house of the petitioner. Marriage of a person may be confined to his family and relatives, but his divorce affects a society. So, law of divorce is a social legislation which does not permit a wrongdoer to take its benefits. Therefore, both parties are not entitled to any order in their favour in view of Section 23 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,” the court said.
Mohanty’s lawyer Lalitendu Mishra said his client would appeal against the order in high court. “At least the case has come to an end. The quashing of divorce petition means they can’t live together. We will analyse the judgment thoroughly and will appeal in the high court,” said Mishra.
Mohanty and Priyadarshini got married in February 2014 in a big wedding ceremony in Bhubaneswar after years of courtship, but the marriage soured in less than 6 years with the MP filing a divorce petition in Delhi alleging that there was no physical intimacy between them even after six years of marriage. He also accused his wife of not staying at her in-laws’ house, frequently going to her parents’ house, failing to discharge her matrimonial obligations and making false allegations by linking him with his co-actresses.
Priyadarshini in August 2020 filed a case of domestic violence against him and his family under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 at a court in Cuttack. She demanded a monthly amount of ₹70,000 towards house rent and maintenance.
The 41-year-old MP had been a famous actor in Odia movies for over a decade before he started his political career in 2013 with the BJD and was made a Rajya Sabha MP in 2014. As his stock within BJD rose, the party pitted him against Baijayant Panda from Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat in 2019 Lok Sabha seat, which he won by a handsome margin. However, his marital strife dented his political stock as the party kept him away from bypoll campaigns in Balasore Sadar, Tritol and Pipili assembly constituencies over the last two years.