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Denying sex to spouse is mental cruelty, says Allahabad HC

Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court, hearing an appeal by a man against the dismissal of his divorce petition by a family court, on Thursday observed that denying sex to a spouse for a long time without sufficient reason amounts to mental cruelty.

The high court said that it was evident from the record that, for a long, the parties to the marriage had been living separately, and the wife had denied discharging the obligation of marital liability.

The couple had got married in 1979. After seven years, the wife’s ‘gauna‘ ceremony was performed and they started living as a couple.

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According to the petitioner, his wife refused to fulfil her obligation of marital life and then she left for her parents’ home.

The husband claimed that he made several attempts to convince her but the woman did not establish any physical relationship with him. The man was serving in the police department and had to reside at the place of his posting.

In July 1994, the couple got mutually separated before a panchayat after the man paid alimony of Rs 22,000 to his wife. She later married another man.

Then the husband approached a court seeking divorce on grounds of mental cruelty and desertion. However, the trial court refused to grant a divorce on the grounds of cruelty.

Feeling aggrieved, he filed an appeal before the Allahabad High Court against the order of the family court which dismissed his divorce plea.

A bench of Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV, while granting the husband a decree of divorce, on Thursday said: “Undoubtedly, not allowing a spouse for a long time to have sexual intercourse with his or her partner, without sufficient reason, itself amounts to mental cruelty. Since there is no acceptable view in which a spouse can be compelled to resume life with the consort, nothing is given by trying to keep the parties tied for ever to a marriage.”

Terming the approach taken by the family court “hyper-technical”, the bench said, “It is evident from the record that since long, the parties to the marriage have been living separately, according to plaintiff-appellant, defendant-respondent had no respect for marital bond, denied discharging obligation of marital liability. There has been a complete breakdown of their marriage.”

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