Cruelty – Wife used to harass her husband by closing outer gate, hiding the keys of scooter and crunching his clothes when he would get ready to go to factory – It is cruelty.

Cruelty – Wife publishing notice in newspaper making baseless allegations that her husband was womaniser and drunkard – It is cruelty.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 13(1)(ia) – Mental cruelty – Law enunciated in various judgments of Supreme Court summed up :-

(i) Section 13(1)(ia) does not define ‘ cruelty ‘ and the same could not be defined – The ‘ cruelty ‘ may be mental or physical, intentional or unintentional – If it is physical, the court will have no problem to determine it – It is a question of fact and degree – If it is mental, the problem presents difficulty. 1988(1) SCC 105, relied.

(ii) The expression ‘ cruelty ‘ has an inseparable nexus with human conduct or human behaviour – It is always dependent upon the social strata or the milieu to which the parties belong, their ways of life, relationship, temperaments and emotions that have been conditioned by their social status.

(iii) Conception of legal cruelty undergoes changes according to the changes and advancement of social concept and standards of living – To establish legal cruelty , it is not necessary that physical violence should be used. 1988(1) SCC 105, relied.

(iv) A set of facts stigmatized as cruelty in one case may not be so in another case – The cruelty alleged may largely depend upon the type of life the parties are accustomed to or their economic and social conditions. 1988(1) SCC 105, relied.

(v) Each case may be different – New type of cruelty may crop up in any case depending upon the human behaviour, capacity or incapability to tolerate the conduct complained of. 1966(2) All England Reporter 257, relied.

(vi) Mental Cruelty in Section 13(1)(ia) of Hindu Marriage Act can broadly be defined as that conduct which inflicts upon the other party such mental pain and suffering as would make it not possible for that party to live with the other.

(vii) What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in the other case – The concept of cruelty differs from person to person depending upon his upbringing, level of sensitivity, educational, family and cultural background, financial position, social status, customs, traditions, religious belief, human values and their value system. 2007(2) RCR (Criminal) 515 : 2007(2) RCR (Civil) 595 : 2007(2) Recent Apex Judgment (RAJ) 177, relied.

(viii) Mental cruelty cannot be established by direct evidence and it is necessarily a matter of inference to be drawn from the facts and circumstances of the case. 2002(3) RCR (Civil) 529, relied.

(ix) Question of mental cruelty has to be considered in the light of the norms of marital ties of the particular society to which the parties belong, their social values, status and environment in which they live. 2005(1) RCR (Civil) 309, relied.

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