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Denying child's affection to other spouse cruelty: Delhi High Court

Updated on: 27 September,2023 03:56 PM IST  |  New Delhi

The calculated act of a spouse of denying the child's affection to the other parent amounts to mental cruelty, the Delhi High Court has said while upholding the divorce of an estranged couple.

Denying child's affection to other spouse cruelty: Delhi High Court

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The calculated act of a spouse of denying the child's affection to the other parent amounts to mental cruelty, the Delhi High Court has said while upholding the divorce of an estranged couple.

The court dismissed an appeal by the wife against a 2018 family court order granting divorce and observed that in the instant case, the daughter was "totally alienated" and used as a weapon against the husband, an army officer.

"The learned Principal Judge, Family Courts has, therefore, rightly concluded that such child alienation is an extreme act of mental cruelty towards a father who has never shown any neglect for the child," said a bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna in a recent order.

The court said discord and the disputes were between the couple, who got married in 1996 as per Hindu customs and rites, and no matter how bitter the relationship was, it was not appropriate to involve the child or embitter her against the father or to use her as a tool against him.

"Any act of any parent calculated to deny such affection to the other parent, amounts to alienating the child which amounts to mental cruelty...Nothing more can be more painful than experiencing one's own flesh and blood i.e., the child, rejecting him or her. Such wilful alienation of the child amounts to mental cruelty," the court said.

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The court also rejected the appellant wife's objections with respect to daily consumption of alcohol by the husband, saying "merely because a person consumes alcohol daily, it does not make him an alcoholic or add up to a bad character" when there was no untoward incident.

It also said making friends at workplace, when the parties were living separately due to work exigencies, also cannot be termed as cruelty.

The wife alleged that the husband used to be withdrawn whenever she visited him and would always remain busy on phone with his friends, both male and female.

"A person who is essentially living alone, may find solace by having friends and merely because he used to talk to his friends, it can neither be held to be an act of ignoring the appellant nor a cruel act.

"It has to be appreciated that both the parties having been essentially living separately because of their work exigencies, were bound to make friends at their place of work and otherwise; and such friendships without anything more, cannot be termed as cruelty," the court stated.

It said when an "intimate relationship" of the husband with another woman had been earlier "condoned" by the wife, it cannot be taken as an act of cruelty while deciding the petition for divorce.

It also said the conduct of the wife in making complaints to the department against the husband "cannot be expected from an educated spouse" and "proves her vengeance to bring down the respondent (husband)".

"Once vindictiveness has crept in and the appellant had marched on to the war path and not only filed complaints in the Department but also initiated various civil/legal cases since 2011, i.e., for about 12 years and has even alienated the daughter from the respondent, it leads to irresistible conclusion that various acts of cruelty have been committed towards the respondent," the court said.

The husband sought divorce from the wife before the family court on several grounds including that being an Army officer, he used to get posted at different places, but she never displayed any inclination to join him at his place of work and did not allow him to interact with the daughter.

He also claimed that the wife shifted to Pune and withdrew the daughter from the school in Delhi to snap any contact between the father and the child.

The husband also alleged that the wife unilaterally ceased cohabitation in June 2008 and made false complaints before Army authorities, and levelled scandalous allegations against him.

The court said in its order that although the ground of desertion was not made out against the wife, it upheld the divorce on the ground of cruelty. PTI ADS ADSMaha: Gorhe calls for rehabilitation of child labourers, oppressed women

Maharashtra legislative council's deputy chairperson Neelam Gorhe has stressed the need for the rehabilitation of child labourers and oppressed women, PTi reported.

Speaking at an event in Vasai area of Palghar district, Gorhe also said the responsibility of implementation of social legislations rests with social organisations. She said the problems of the society can be solved by understanding the global, universal and constitutional frameworks.

The mentality of the society is to underestimate women, hence they lack courage, Gorhe said, adding that courage comes from interacting with people.

She underlined the need for the rehabilitation of child labourers and oppressed women which, she said, is a big challenge faced by the government.

Although the administration helps from time-to-time, there is also pressure on them at times. It takes time for them to get justice, she added.

After alert from Interpol about 'suicide' search online, Mumbai police save man from ending life

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police traced a 28-year-old man and saved him from ending his life following an alert from the Interpol that he was searching about the 'best way to commit suicide' on Google.

The man, who hails from Rajasthan, was rescued on Tuesday from suburban Malvani after the police traced his location on the basis of his mobile number shared by the Interpol, he said.

The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, is an international organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.

"The rescue operation was conducted by the Unit-11 of the Mumbai police's crime branch based on the information given by the Interpol on Tuesday afternoon," the police official said.

"The victim, a resident of Malvani in Malad west is a native of Rajasthan. During the probe, the police found that he was under pressure as he was not able to secure the release of his mother from jail in Mumbai since her arrest in a criminal case two years ago," he said.

The man earlier stayed in Mira Road locality (in neighbouring Thane district) with his relatives before shifting to Malvani, a western suburb, he said.

"He has been jobless since the last six months. Since he was not able to secure the release of his mother from a jail, he was under depression. As the thoughts of ending life came to his mind, he started an online search to find ways to commit suicide," the official said.

He searched 'Suicide best way' on Google several times, which caught the attention of Interpol officials, who sent an email about it to the Mumbai police along with his mobile phone number, he said.

On the basis of that information, the crime branch found that the user of the mobile phone was in Malvani, he added.

"Accordingly, the police rushed to the place. The victim was then taken into custody and counselled," he said.

He was asked to go to his relatives' place in the city after being counselled by professional counsellors, the police official said.

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