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Friday, 25 September 2009

'Wife suspecting husband of affair doesn't amount to cruelty': High Court of Mumbai

'Wife suspecting husband of affair doesn't amount to cruelty': High Court of Mumbai
Kartikeya, TNN 26 September 2009
MUMBAI: "After marriage, no wife may tolerate the company of another lady friend in her husband's life,'' observed the Bombay High Court on Thursday while setting aside a divorce order granted to a Pune techie and his lecturer wife.

Sameer Zagade (33) got a divorce from his wife, Rupali, this May after alleging that her suspicion and constant questioning of his "friendship'' with another woman amounted to an act of cruelty. The family court had also agreed with Sameer that Rupali's filing of a complaint against him and his parents under the Domestic Violence Act was a reasonable ground to grant a divorce.

Sameer, an IT firm employee with a monthly salary of Rs 70,000, was married to Rupali, an engineering college lecturer, in 2002. They had a daughter a year later but, according to Rupali, things took a turn for the worse when Shubha -- an old friend of Sameer -- got a divorce and started visiting their house regularly.

Sameer argued that Shubha was a "family friend'' and he was not having an affair with her. He said Rupali was extremely suspicious and would even call up his office and friends to enquire if he was having a relationship with another woman. He explained his absence from home till late at night saying he was caught at work.

Rupali, on her part, alleged that Sameer would spend hours chatting on the net with Shubha, she would come regularly to their house and that she had even seen the duo eating from the same plate.

While hearing the appeal against the divorce, Justices P B Majmudar and R V More ruled that Rupali's suspicions were justified. They observed that a "housewife would normally expect her husband to be at home within reasonable time at night''. Siding further with Rupali, they said that any wife would have a "reasonable apprehension'' about the "character of her husband'' if he regularly got back home after midnight.

As far as Rupali's complaint filed under the Domestic Violence Act in November 2007 was concerned, the high court held that merely filing of such complaints could not be treated as an act of cruelty by a wife. The judges observed that if it were so then no woman would ever be able to complain under the law.

Finally, ordering Sameer and Rupali to get back together, the court advised that they work upon their marriage and learn to adjust with each other, especially since they had a child to bring up as well.

(Names have been changed to protect identities of those involved.)

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