Sonal Bhargava | Prabhat Bandhulya
In the case of Mohit Preet Kapoor v Sumit Kapoor, the Allahabad High Court held that a wife visiting her parent's home without the husband's permission would not amount to cruelty or desertion. As a result, a division bench of Justices Sunita Agarwal and Krishan Pahal overturned a family court ruling which granted a husband's divorce on the grounds of desertion and cruelty. When his wife left her matrimonial house while she was in the early stages of pregnancy and refused to return, the husband filed a divorce petition. The husband said that this happened "without any rhyme or reason" and consequently accused her of desertion. Another reason for getting a divorce was that the woman refused to complete domestic chores, misbehaved with the husband's relatives, and went to her paternal home without telling him. The judges concluded that the wife's actions could not be construed as desertion because her parents' house was only 400 metres away and she was pregnant at the time she left. The Court observed that - "It cannot be inferred that the appellant had deserted her husband (respondent) with the intention to bring cohabitation permanently to an end.. Further, the act of the appellant in visiting her parent's house frequently without taking consent of her husband and other family members cannot constitute the offence of desertion on her part". Furthermore, the High Court dismissed the trial court's decision that the wife was cruel to her husband since she went to her parent's residence without alerting him and did not perform daily duties. According to the Bench, the husband could not prove any of these activities. The Court concluded that the divorce judgement was unsustainable based on these findings.