Dastane v Dastane case gave a landmark judgment after which cruelty was added to the ground for divorce.
AIR 1975 SC 1534
Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud
Hon’ble justice Y.V. Goswami
Hon’ble Justice P.K. Untwalia
Section 10(1)(b) and Section 23(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
FACTS OF DASTANE VS DASTANE CASE
- The parents of respondent i.e. Sucheta, made the proposal for marriage to the appellant in April, 1956.
- The respondent was B.Sc. graduated from Delhi University and has obtained Master’s Degree in Social Work.
- The appellant, i.e. Dr. Narayan Ganesh Dastane, had master’s in M.Sc. in Agriculture field. Before finalizing the marriage proposal, the respondent father send the letter to appellant to inform him about the incident that respondent was suffered from a ‘severe attack of sunstroke’ which affects her mental condition for some time and now she was recovered from that attack.
- Further, the father of respondent stated she was cured at Yeravada Mental Hospital.
- No further enquiries raised by the appellant after confirming the incident with Doctor.
- They performed the marriage on 13th may, 1956. The two daughters have been born from this wedlock. In the year 1961, the appellant asked for the Police Protection by stating that respondent is a threat to his life.
- The respondent asked for the maintenance for herself and for her two daughters and addressed a letter to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture stating the cruel behavior of appellant.
- The appellant moved a petition to the court for revoking the marriage under section 12(1)(c) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 because his consent has been obtained by fraud.
- Further, he requested the court for granting a divorce under section 13(1)(iii) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. On the other hand, he also claimed for judicial separation under section 10 (1)(b) of HMA, 1955.
- Whether the facts established beyond reasonable doubt in the matrimonial disputes?
- Whether the act of sexual intercourse amounts to treat as cruelty?
- Whether the burden of proof of cruelty lies upon appellant or on respondent?
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Appellant–The appellant argued that the respondent’s family fraudulently described the condition as she got the treatment of schizophrenia. She was used to behaving badly with her husband and also with their daughters.
Respondent- The respondent argued the appellant forced her to behave in this manner by expecting rigid standards of behavior from her. Further, she stated the appellant had sexual intercourse by deserting her and which leads to treating her with cruelty.
RATIO DECIDENDI OF DASTANE V DASTANE
The Court contended that the appellant’s intentions regarding his wife of unsound mind were fabricated by him. The act of the appellant engaging in sexual intercourse with the respondent leads to condonation of cruelty in the eyes of law. Respondent was willing to return to the matrimonial home by realizing her mistakes.
DECISION OF DASTANE VS DASTANE CASE
The respondent was held liable for cruelty by the Trial Court and later on; the husband was ordered to pay maintenance of Rs. 400 per month as interim maintenance and also to pay arrears. The court granted custody of children to the wife until the age of the majority of children with their interests.
After the decision of the Trial Court, the appellant filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court, and the same was dismissed. Hence, the court observed that the allegations of the appellant were false and since the respondent wishes to stay back with the husband after the respondent realizes her mistake. Hence, the divorce will not be granted.
RELEVANCY IN TODAY’S TIME
Dastane vs Dastane case is the one in which the cruelty was discovered as a ground for divorce and a wife who suffers shall be entitled to be maintained by her husband. Even mental agony is also covered under the concept of cruelty.
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