Wife files false dowry case, husband granted divorce on grounds of cruelty

Filing of false criminal complaints amounts to cruelty under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Bombay High Court observed while granting divorce to a man who was accused of dowry harassment by his wife.

Santosh (name changed) had approached the high court challenging a September 2006 order passed by a family court in Pune dismissing his petition seeking divorce from his wife on the grounds of cruelty.

Santosh had married Rekha (name changed) in November 2001. However, soon thereafter disputes and differences surfaced between the couple. The wife then lodged a complaint of harassment and causing hurt against Santosh and his family with the Pimpri police.

According to the husband, a lower court quashed the criminal complaint filed by his wife after observing that there was insufficient evidence. After this Santosh moved the family court seeking divorce on grounds of cruelty, which was dismissed.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode after perusing the evidence and judgement of the lower court observed that the complaint lodged by the wife was false in nature.

"In our view, filing of a false criminal complaint itself amounts to cruelty within the meaning of section 13 (i) (a) of the Hindu Marriage Act," the bench said.

Quashing and setting aside the Pune family court's order, the high court allowed Santosh's appeal and granted him divorce.

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