Sanjeev Gupta v. Ritu Gupta, 2019

Published On: 18th March, 2024

Authored By: Rishabh Krishan
Amity University Jharkhand

Sanjeev Gupta v. Ritu Gupta, 2019 SCC Online All 2255

Appellant

Sanjeev Gupta

Respondent

Ritu Gupta

Date of Judgment

24 May 2019

Judges

Honourable Pradeep Kumar Srivastava and Honourable Shashi Kant Gupta.

Background of The Case

Under Section 13(1) in the Hindu Marriage Act, a divorce petition filed against the respondent-petitioner was granted in favor of the appellant-opposite party. The judgment and decree, on 29.03.2018, were issued by the Additional District Judge, the Fast-Track Court-II, Ghaziabad, within Case No. 2274 in 2013 (Ritu Gupta versus Sanjeev Gupta). This appeal has been filed against that decree.

Facts

On July 1, 2012, the respondent-petitioner filed a divorce petition, requesting that the Hindu Marriage Act’s Section 13(1) dissolve the parties’ marriage. The respondent-petitioner claims that on July 1, 2012, both partners were legally married under Hindu customs and traditions at the Arya Samaj Hindu Temple in Aryanagar, Ghaziabad. The next day, they became legally married before the Ghaziabad Sub-Registrar. During the marriage, the respondent’s father paid sufficient money spent and gave an appropriate dowry to the petitioner.

 The respondent has two children from an earlier marriage with Omkar Chawla, who passed away in a car crash in June 2011, before being married to the appellant. The respondent was honest about having two children before getting married, and she would only marry the appellant if both of them had been accepted. He was not convinced at first, but in the end, he did, and they were married. On the first night of their marriage, the appellant-opposite party treated her cruelly, forced her into having unnatural sexual relationships, and engaged in a horrible, inhumane physical interaction that was worse than being with an animal. When she attempted to frighten his father, he carried her into his bedroom with force.

Following her sister’s marriage, the appellant attempted to engage in inappropriate sexual contact with the respondent once more. He got quite upset and began to physically attack her when she refused. He also objected to the reality that her parents did not give her a car as a down payment. She explained to him that, despite his situation, her father was unable to provide her with a car and that, again, he had used cruelty towards her. After informing her family members about what had happened on July 3, 2012, they reached her house. Later that day, she traveled to her parents’ home in Ghaziabad. She declined to see him because of his actions described earlier.

 He then went to her residence and requested to find a middle ground. However, she stated that she could only join him if he stopped having inappropriate sex with her and stopped being brutal to her. The appellant’s opposing party made a compromise in front of her family on July 17, 2012, and provided a declaration that he carried with him after filing it in Faridabad. As a result, she joined him. He brought her and her children there, but he continued to act the same way. Additionally, he indicated unhappiness about the insufficient dowry and demanded she bring Rs. 40 lakhs to buy a residence in Indrapuram, Ghaziabad.

She was resting with her son one day when the appellant arrived over and began abusing her, pressuring her for sexual participation but she refused. Her son had a fever. He manipulated her into practicing unethical sexual activity and made romantic threats. He would establish an intimacy with her 5-year-old daughter if she refused to obey him. A few days later, he went back to his office, and she was surprised to learn that his mother had been hospitalized in an identical hospital as his father a few days earlier for the same injuries. Two hours later, she went back there because no one was there to maintain surveillance on them. She told him about it over the phone, and he started abusing her, screaming her name, as she was ending the route to meet her friend. She moved in with her parents because she was being harassed physically, mentally, and sexually, and it became too hard for her to maintain a relationship with him.

In response to her husband’s actions, the respondent filed an official lawsuit for violations of sections three and four of the Dowry Prohibitions Act of 1961 as well as Section 498A, 323, 504, along 377 of the Penal Code of 1860. Because her husband had repeatedly forced her into having unnatural sex after they were married, she submitted a divorce petition.

Issue

Whether charges of forced, unnatural sexual relations with the wife sufficient grounds for dissolving the relationship?

Argument Proposed by Appellant

The appellant claims that there was no proof of unnatural sex, dowry demand harassment, or unnatural sex and that the respondent-petitioner’s statement on the subject is incorrect. Further, a criminal case is still pending for the offenses of unnatural sex, dowry demand, and harassment. Additionally, he argues that there is no medical evidence to support the claim of unnatural sex, and the laboratory tests and medical report that completed abdominal pain—and which the defendant-husband filed—do not support this argument. The plaintiff-wife is additionally charged with not questioning any of the witnesses.

Argument Proposed by Respondent

Respondent-wife claimed that her husband repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct and unnatural sex, forcing them to participate in sexual relations against their will like a beast and going beyond the laws of nature. During her cross-examination, the appellant’s husband avoided asking any questions or suggesting that she was lying about it. Additionally, the respondent-wife claims in both her affidavit and petition that her appellant-husband had a prior marriage to Priyamvada, who divorced her for the same reasons.

Cases Referred

  • In the Mayadevi versus Jagdish Prasad[1] case, the Supreme Court observed that human conduct or behavior about marital duties and obligations has been included in the definition of “cruelty” under Section 13. A course of conduct or a person’s behavior that causes harm to another is considered cruelty. The brutality may be physical, psychological, or mistaken.
  • In Anjula Verma versus Sudhir Verma[2], the Supreme Court held that respect, acceptance, and flexibility are essential elements of a successful marriage. The initial phase in any marriage should be learning to accept each other’s flaws to a reasonable level.
  • According to the judgment in the Ravi Kumar vs Julmidevi[3] case, cruelty in a marriage is defined as an absence of respect and comprehension between the partners, which strains the bond and frequently leads to different acts of behavior that fall under this category.
  • A marriage can be terminated by a divorce judgment on a petition submitted by any the husband as well as the wife if the other party treats the Petitioner harshly after their marriage was performed, as per the decisions of the Supreme Court in the matter of K. Srinivas Rao versus D.A. Deepa[4]. Cruelty is when one partner treats the other so badly or feels terrible about the other that the other partner fears being in danger or getting hurt while living with them. Physical and mental abuse are both forms of cruelty.
  • It has been decided in the cases of Grace Jayamani versus E.P. Peter[5] and Bini T. John versus Saji Kuruvila[6] that committing sexual activity against nature’s order, sodomy, unnatural sex, or oral sexual activity is a marital offense and a reason for the dissolution of the marriage.

“The sex is an important component of married life,” according to Bini T. John. judgment Thus, how one spouse acts toward the other during sexual activity is an essential element of married life. The promotion of unnatural sexual relations, constant pressure for oral sex, and injury to the body caused by intimate activity force the wife into agreeing to such unnatural sexual activity will be considered cruelty.

Judgment

In this particular case, it was decided that having sex that is not only against the law but also against the choices of a woman, her husband, or anybody else, as well as sexual misconduct, oral sex, and sexual activity against the natural order constitutes valid grounds for divorce because they represent cruelty and are also marital offenses. Anything like that, which humiliates the woman and causes pain and suffering in her body and mind, is cruelty. Regardless of whether it is natural or unnatural, forcing a woman into having sex is cruel to her and is against the law.

As a result, the appeal was rejected, and the appealed judgment was confirmed.

 Reference(s):

[1] Mayadevi vs. Jagdish Prasad, [2007] AIR SC 1426

[2] Anjula Verma vs. Sudhir Verma, [2002] AIR SC 1447

[3] Ravi Kumar vs Julmidevi, (2010) 4 SCC 476

[4] K.S Sriniwas Rao vs D. A. Deepa (2013) 5 SCC 226

[5] Grace Jayamani vs E.P.Peter, (1982) AIR Kant. 46

[6] Bini T. John vs Saji Kuruvila, (1997) AIR 1 Ker. 217

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