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The Chhattisgarh High Court, in an important order, held that if a wife leaves her matrimonial home on account of the fact that her husband has taken another woman (concubine) with him and causes her (wife) physical and mental torture, it shall be treated as wife. cannot be construed as abandonment.
With this observation, a division bench of Justice Gautam Bhaduri and Justice Rajni Dubey dismissed the appeal filed by the husband/appellant against the decision of the Family Court. The family court had dismissed the suit filed by the husband, in which he had sought a decree of divorce on the ground of abandonment.
Case in a nutshell
The appellant/husband had filed a suit for decree of divorce before the Family Court, stating that he had married the respondent/wife 26-27 years ago according to Hindu customs and according to her, last about 25 years Over the years, his wife has abandoned him and is living separately.
On the other hand the respondent/wife has denied the arguments of the plaintiff and stated that her husband (appellant) has kept a woman as his wife and asked her to stay in his native village. Because of this and because of his atrocious acts, he was forced to stay in his native village.
After hearing the parties and considering the evidence presented by both the parties, the family court dismissed the suit filed by the appellant/husband. Therefore, he filed the present appeal before the High Court.
The High Court took note of the facts admitted by the husband/appellant during the cross-examination in which he has admitted that he has three daughters and the respondent is their mother. In these circumstances, the question of wife abandoning her for the last 25 years appears to be completely wrong.
The court said,
"When the marriage took place between the two parties 26-27 years ago and after that three children were born, then how can it be assumed that the wife has left the husband for the last about 25 years i.e. immediately after the marriage." While observing that the appellant has accepted the fact that he has kept a woman as second wife and has two children from that relationship, the Court observed that it is clear that during the marriage with the respondent, The appellant has kept another woman as his wife.
The Court also held that as per the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, it is illegal to have a second woman during the first marriage, However, the court decided not to discuss the status of the other woman. Therefore, having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court held that there was no desertion on the part of the wife.
The Court also significantly observed that "the evidence shows that the appellant has kept a woman as a concubine and the respondent was subjected to physical and mental cruelty." Thereafter, he was forced to leave his matrimonial home, so the respondent/wife had reasonable cause to stay in the village with her parents. Although he had no intention of doing so, therefore, it cannot be said that there was abandonment by the wife.
If the husband keeps, gives shelter to another woman, and the said woman bears children to him, and for that reason if she leaves her matrimonial home due to physical and mental torture inflicted on the first wife, it shall be deemed to be the wife's cannot be construed as abandonment. With this, the court dismissed the husband's appeal. Case Title - Uttam Ram Vs Smt. Kayaso Bai Case Quote - 2022 Live Law (CHH) 12