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Slandering husband as 'womaniser', 'alcoholic' sans proof 'cruelty', says Bombay High Court (HC)

Bombay HC has ruled that defaming a husband by labelling him a “womaniser” and “alcoholic” without proving the allegations tantamount to “cruelty”

Slandering husband as womaniser, alcoholic sans proof cruelty, says Bombay High Court (HC)

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Oct 2022 4:36 AM GMT

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has ruled that defaming a husband by labelling him a "womaniser" and "alcoholic" without proving the allegations tantamount to "cruelty". A division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh also upheld the November 2005 divorce order by a Pune family court of the couple - the 50-year-old widowed woman and her retired army major husband who died during the pendency of the trial - after which his legal heirs were made party in the case.

She claimed that her late husband was a "womaniser" and an "alcoholic" and due to these vices, she was deprived of her conjugal rights. The husband's lawyer informed that court that the petitioner had caused mental agony by making such false and defamatory allegations against him, including before the members of a social institution where he was doing social work.

In the order, the division bench noted that the woman's conduct in making such unwarranted and false allegations against her husband's character resulted in damaging his reputation in society and amounted to "cruelty".

Besides her own statements against her husband, the woman could not produce any evidence to substantiate her allegations, including from her own sister, especially since he was an ex-army officer belonging to the upper strata with a standing in the society. The bench also referred to the husband's deposition in the family court in which he stated that his wife had separated him from his children and grandchildren, and how her "unwarranted, false, and baseless" allegations resulted in shredding his reputation in the society.

It said that "cruelty" is broadly defined as a conduct that inflicts upon the other party such mental pain and suffering to make it impossible for them to live with each other, and it was a fit case for granting the divorce.

The former army officer had moved the Pune family court seeking divorce on grounds of mental agony inflicted by his wife and it granted this in 2005, but the woman challenged the decision in the high court. (IANS)

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