Petition to Conduct CBI Enquiry into Murder of Dr J A Mathan

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Extracts of News-9 Interview with Roshni Mathan: Debate about Cruelty as a Ground for Divorce (Too much Sex as Cruelty)

Extracts of News-9 Interview with Roshni Mathan: Debate about Cruelty as a Ground for Divorce (Too much Sex as Cruelty)

“Unlike vitamins, there are no daily minimum requirements,” 

Fewer than 10 times a year is considered a sexless marriage, having sex once or twice a week is considered average. But, there is no definition for too much Sex.

1Cor 7:3-4  The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

1Cor 7:5 Do not refuse one another, unless perhaps it is just for a time and by mutual consent...

See entire TV programme on youtube: 

Picture: Vivek Deveshwar (SIFF member), Roshni Mathan (CRISP counsellor), Sakshi (TV-9 anchor),  Advocate S Srivinas after TV-9 Programme debate 

News-9 Television conducted a debate about Too much Sex as a ground for Cruelty in a Marriage.
Cruelty as a Ground for Divorce is applicable under the following sections:

Section 13 of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, provides for dissolution of a Hindu marriage by a decree of divorce on 13 grounds. One of them is cruelty.

Section 27 of The Special Marriage Act, 1954, provides for 12 grounds for divorce. One of them is cruelty.

Section 2 of The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, provides for 8 grounds on which a woman married under the Muslim law is entitled to obtain a decree for dissolution of her Marriage. One of them is cruelty.

Section 32 of The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, provides for 11 grounds for divorce. One of them is cruelty.

Section 10 of The Indian Divorce Act, 1869, provides for 7 grounds of dissolution of marriage of Christians. One of them is adultery coupled with cruelty.

The idea, the meaning and the concept of cruelty changes from time to time, varies from place to place and differs from individual to individual. It is not the same for persons situated in different economic conditions and status.

Perhaps this is the reason why the Legislature has not, in any of the Acts, defined as to what cruelty is and has left it to the best judgement of the Judiciary to decide as to what amounts to cruelty to a particular person in a particular set of circumstances.

The question of cruelty is to be judged on the totality of the circumstances. In order to term a conduct as cruel it should be so grave and weighty that staying together becomes impossible. A conduct to be cruel must be more serious than the ordinary wear and tear of marriage.

Out of 100 cases of divorces, in 95 cases, the ground for divorce is cruelty and in the majority of them the cruel conduct complained of is physical violence. However, cases of mental cruelty are also not unknown to our Courts and, at times, complaints are made of a spouse afflicting cruelty upon another, without physical violence, just by his or her conduct of saying something or refraining from doing something.

A wife's conduct of :

- humiliating her husband in the presence of family members and friends,

- taunting her husband on his physical incapabilities,

- denying him access to physical relationship,

- neglect,

- coldness and insult,

- deliberately wearing clothes which her husband dislikes,

- purposely cooking food which her husband is not fond of,

- visiting her parent's family off and on against her husband's wishes,

- undergoing an abortion despite her husband asking her not to do so,

- threatening to commit suicide,

- refusing to do household work,

- keeping husband outside the door of house,

- complaining to husband's employer,

- disobedience,

all these are not acts of physical violence but yet it has an effect on the husband's mind and due to this, the husband's health suffers and therefore these acts can be termed as cruel.

Similarly, a husband's conduct of:

- humiliating his wife,

- calling her frigid or cold fish, making excessive sexual demands,

- comparing her with the maid servant,

- taunting her for not having any child or giving birth to female children,

- demanding dowry,

- asking her to bring money or articles from her parents,

- objecting to her visiting her parents, insulting her relatives when they visit her,

- deliberately removing all servants and making her do all household work,

- denying any medical treatment when she is ill

are also acts of mental cruelty by the husband upon the wife.

The following landmark decisions pertain to situations in Hindu marriage where a wife was held as ‘cruel’ to the husband and the Hindu divorce law was applied by the Supreme Court:

* A wife who aborts a baby child against the wishes of her husband and other family members - Satya v. Suri Ram AIR 1983 P&H.
* A wife who refuses to prepare tea for the husband’s friends. – Kalpana v. Surendranath AIR 1985 All 253.
* A wife who burns the husband’s doctoral thesis. – Shanti Devi v Raghav AIR 1986 Pat. 13.
* A wife who refuses to have sexual intercourse with the husband without giving any reason. – Anil Bharadwaj v Nimlesh Bharadwaj AIR 1987 Del 111.
* A wife who makes complaints against the husband to the police about their matrimonial differences. – Krishna v Ashok Ranjan 1985 Cal 431


Demand for too much sex is cruel, grounds for divorce: SC
Oct 21, 2010
NEW DELHI: Persistent demand for excessive sex causing injury can be ground for seeking divorce, the Supreme Court has ruled. 

Dealing with the undefined term "cruelty" under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, which provides grounds for divorce, a Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said the onus was on the one seeking divorce to prove with evidence that a particular conduct of the other partner had caused him/her cruelty.

The ruling came on a plea by an aggrieved husband.

While dealing with the whole gamut of what can be called "cruelty", entitling a spouse to move court for divorce, the Bench said even a single act of violence which was of grievous and inexcusable nature could fit the definition.
"Persistence in inordinate sexual demands or malpractices by either spouse can be cruelty if it injures the other spouse," said Justice Sathasivam, who wrote the judgment for the Bench.

However, a few isolated instances of cruelty over a certain period of time would not amount to cruelty as married life should be assessed as a whole, the Bench said while rejecting one Gurbux Singh's appeal seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty.

"Making certain statements on the spur of the moment and expressing displeasure about the behaviour of elders may not be characterised as cruelty. Mere trivial irritation, quarrels, normal wear and tear of married life which happens in day to day life in all families would not be adequate for grant of divorce on the ground of cruelty," the Bench clarified.

Having failed to prove cruel behaviour of his wife, Singh tried to impress the apex court to grant him divorce saying the marriage had broken down irretrievably as he and his wife were living separately since 2002 and there was no chance of their reunion.

The Bench said divorce has to be granted strictly under the grounds provided in Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act though the apex court might have dissolved marriage on account of irretrievable breakdown in one case.

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