I don’t know how the newspaper terms this as a significant judgment in a divorce case, since the HC judgment is specific to the particular case as given in news below.
The important part I think is that though HC judgment was completely against the allegations, there are no costs at all (leave exemplary) ordered, or any strictures passed for bringing frivolous and vexatious cases to courts.
Mumbai: In a significant judgment in a divorce case, the Bombay high court has held that decision of a father disallowing children from watching television programmes continuously and forcing them to go to bed early could not be termed as “cruelty”.
Dismissing an appeal filed by a 37-year-old housewife from Pune against a family court’s order refusing to grant her divorce, justice AP Deshpande and justice RP Sondurbaldota observed recently that such conduct cannot amount to harassment leading to mental cruelty.
The housewife examined her 12-year-old daughter to prove
the charges of cruelty.
She alleged that her husband wanted his two children to watch Marathi programmes and not Hindi serials. She further alleged that the children were asked not to watch television continuously and to go to bed early.
The judges cross-examined the daughter who did not support her mother’s allegations of cruelty.
The bench disagreed with the appellant that her husband had indulged in cruelty by stealing toys of their children, beating them in front of their friends, not allowing daughter to operate computer at home and disconnecting television wire to prevent them from watching serials.
In the cross-examination, the daughter admitted that their father beat her and brother often but it was only to discipline them by preventing them from watching television.
She further said that he kept the toys in cupboard to give to
her cousin, Rohit. She also told the court that at the relevant time she did not know how to operate the computer.
The judges noted, “the four complaints made in the examination-in-chief which would otherwise make the respondent (husband) a villain, stand completely explained in the cross-examination which would show father to a good parent who wanted children to be disciplined, to be able to share toys with other children and not get addicted to television and also not use the electronic items that they cannot handle”.
“One fails to understand how this conduct can amount to harassment leading to mental cruelty. The appellant has failed to establish that her husband had treated her with cruelty after solemnisation of marriage”, the bench remarked.
The court also noted that the allegations made by the appellant were of general nature and she had not cited any specific instances of cruelty.
The respondent denied all allegations and claimed that both had not at all separated and were living together as husband and wife in the matrimonial home with their children.
The couple had married on August 15, 1991, at Mumbai and had two issues from the marriage, daughter Apporva and son Achintya.