Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wife calls spouse 'hijra', court grants him divorce

Two cases in the family court have shown how all-encompassing 'mental cruelty' can be in divorce matters. A husband called a 'hijra' by his wife for his inability to appease her in bed and a woman whose husband often deliberately switched off the fan in her room both got divorce from their spouses recently, with the woman in the second case getting a Rs 10 lakh alimony.

In the first case, the man said he had married the woman in 2011. He alleged that she was not interested in household work but only in sex and had threatened to harm herself and falsely implicate him and his family members in police cases. The court said his case had been proven, entitling him to get divorce on grounds of cruelty.

In the second instance, the woman filed a petition in 2012 seeking the end of her 14-year marriage. She alleged that her husband would not allow her to use the fan even during summer months, saying it would lead to inflated power bills.

The man who complained of cruelty because his wife called him a 'hijra' said the woman had always felt superior to him and would tell him that marrying him had been a mistake. He said that due to continuous mental torture and humiliation, ?he could not concentrate on his work, and his health too deteriorated.

In May last year, his wife's brother forcibly took her away to their parents' home, after which she did not return to their matrimonial home. Stating that his dream of a happy married life had been shattered due to the woman's behaviour, he filed the divorce petition before court in October last year.

The woman sought time to reply but failed to appear before the court on several occasions after that. The court, while passing an ex-parte order, observed that it had no other option but to accept his evidence. In the second case, the woman, while seeking the end of her marriage, also sought custody of her two children.

Alleging cruelty, she said that while her husband demanded dowry of Rs one lakh on the day of the wedding, the following day, she was forced to take over all the kitchen responsibilities. She alleged that while the man showed no love towards her, she was forced to wash the clothes of all the family members, prepare all their meals and was restricted from calling her parents.

The woman alleged that she was not allowed to take up a job and had to beg for money for even medicines and doctor's expenses. She said she was taunted when her first child, a girl, was born, and was even blamed for bringing ill-luck to the family when her father-in-law, a diabetic, died in 2002 after suffering a heart attack.

She alleged that when she was finally allowed to take up a job, in her absence, her mother-in-law and sister-in-law would torture her daughter and bite her. Citing that it was an unhealthy environment in which to raise her minor children, the woman left the house in 2006. She claimed that in the five years she stayed away, the man did not take any responsibility for the minors even when they were seriously ill, forcing her to file for divorce.

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