1. The Supreme Court of India in a very recent and much-debated judgment of Narendra v. K. Meena has held that the wife’s act of forcing her husband to be separated from the family constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’ to grant a divorce. Setting aside a High Court judgment, The Bench also held that leveling of false allegations of an extramarital affair and repeated threats to commit suicide would also amount to ‘mental cruelty’.
2. In the landmark case of Suman Kapur v. Sudhir Kapur, it was held that abortion by a woman without her husband’s knowledge and consent will amount to mental cruelty and a ground for divorce.
The Apex Court went on to define the concept of mental cruelty as follows:-
“Mental cruelty is a state of mind. The feeling of deep anguish, disappointment, frustration in one spouse caused by the conduct of the other for a long time may lead to mental cruelty. A sustained course of abusive and humiliating treatment calculated to torture, discommode or render life miserable for the spouse,”
3. In Suman Singh v. Sanjay Singh, the Apex Court laid down that no decree of divorce can be obtained on the basis of one isolated incident. The Hon’ble Supreme Court stated that “A petition seeking divorce on some isolated incidents alleged to have occurred 8-10 years prior to the filing of the date of the petition cannot furnish a subsisting cause of action to seek the divorce after 10 years or so of occurrence of such incidents. The incidents alleged should be of recurring nature or continuing one and they should be in near proximity with the filing of the petition.”
4. In another landmark judgment of A. Jayachandra v. Aneel Kaur, the Supreme Court laid down that cruelty does not amount to mere physical violence. Cruelty can have both physical and mental aspect. It was iterated by the Hon’ble Court that “It has to be seen whether the conduct was such that no reasonable person would tolerate it.”
· Narendra v. K. Meena (2016) 9 SCC 455
· Suman Kapur v. Sudhir Kapur AIR 2009 SC 589
· Suman Singh v. Sanjay Singh AIR 2017 SC 215
Jayachandra v. Aneel Kaur (2005) 2 SCC 22