MUMBAI: It’s a serious allegation, the Bombay high court observed on Friday, while hearing an appeal against a family court’s order granting divorce to a man after his wife alleged that he had illicit relations with his two unmarried sisters.
A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and A R Joshi was hearing a petition filed by Naina Patel challenging the family court’s December 1, 2011, order dissolving her marriage with Nilesh. The family court had said she levelled “wild allegations without truth” against her husband and his sisters who are in the “noble professions of advocacy and medicine”. The court held that it was mental cruelty on her part and she deserted her husband.
Nilesh and Naina got married in February 1990; they had a daughter in 1992. Naina left her matrimonial home in Byculla in June 2005 and went to live with her father in Vasai. In July 2006, she filed an application for maintenance for herself and their daughter. In June 2007, Nilesh filed a divorce petition.
The family court, allowing his petition, also said Naina had not proved evidence that she was tortured or harassed as “falsely claimed” by her or in support of her “alleged contention” against her husband.
Naina’s advocate argued that the family court passed a “one-sided judgment, overlooking circumstances that forced her to leave home”. He said she did not want divorce but a separate house and maintenance. The judges asked if Naina had any material to substantiate the “serious” allegation against Nilesh. “She saw her husband having illicit relations with his sisters,” her advocate said.
Justice Khanwilkar said, “You reiterate the allegation, but you have no evidence to prove it.” Her advocate replied, “It is oral. She has made the statement out of her inner feeling.” But the judges said it was not sufficient to prove cruelty on Nilesh’s part. Her advocate submitted that Naina did not refer to the allegation when she filed for maintenance. “It is privileged communication between a man and his wife,” he said.
Naina’s advocate claimed the sisters-in-law harassed and taunted her. The judges said it was at best humiliation but she had to prove that the cruelty was of such nature that staying with Nilesh was harmful for her. The judges reserved their order.
(Names have been changed to protect identities)
Source: The Times of India