The Bandra family court recently rejected the divorce petition of a 46-year-old man from Marol, who had claimed that his wife was mentally unstable and “extremely violent”.
The petitioner, a senior manager with a multinational company, moved court in 2007 alleging his wife would beat up their sons, then aged 13 and 7, and didn’t bother to keep the house clean.
Seeking divorce citing cruelty, the man said that his wife’s mental condition had deteriorated to such an extent that she underwent shock therapy at a south Mumbai hospital in 2004.
The woman, 46, however, said that her husband was so desperate to end their 21-year marriage that he tricked her into seeking the treatment. “I realised that I was being labelled insane only through the petition copy. I was told that the treatment is for a minor ailment. The truth is, my husband wanted me out of his life without paying alimony,” she said.
The couple fell in love while working for a multinational courier company, and got married after a two-year courtship. “A few years into marriage, we realised there were irrevocable differences. In 2007, my husband left our Kalina house and shifted to Marol after filing a divorce petition. My children also went to live with him after a few years. For three years, between 2004 and 2007, he continued to torture me, and it is a miracle that I’m still alive,” she said.
The woman, who resides in the couple’s Kalina apartment with her ailing mother (she is the joint owner of the property), said that her elder son had started smoking and consuming alcohol and that the boy supported her husband because of money.
The woman, who was represented in court by advocate Anita Dalvi through a non-government organisation called Human Rights Law Network, said that her husband was “never around” when their children were growing up.
“I was the one who took care of them. In fact, it was me who informed him that our son had started smoking and drinking while in his custody. My children told me that they wanted to be with my husband because he spent money on them,” she said.
The man got the couple’s elder son to testify against her in court, where he said that he had been thrashed by the woman on several occasions. However, during cross-examination, the boy was confronted with several letters he wrote to his mother from boarding school, wherein he said how loving and caring she had been.
The man alleged in his petition that his wife’s “extremely violent nature” led to an “irretrievable breakdown of their marriage”. He further said that his wife’s nature had made her psychologically ill, and their sons’ suffered “indelible scars on their personalities” due to physical and mental abuse.
The court, however, said that the man couldn’t prove that his wife was mentally unstable, despite medical certificates. He didn’t even question her testimony, the court noted, adding: “The couple’s son’s testimony makes it clear that the respondent was caring and loving to both her children. Hence, the story stated by the petitioner regarding the respondent’s misbehaviour with their children is not worthy of acceptance,” Judge S Kafre said.
The court further said that unwashed utensils and a messy house didn’t amount to cruelty.