High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Ravinder Singh v. Harbans Kaur - FAO-22-m-2000  RD-P&H 4290 (18 July 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
FAO No. 22-M of 2000
Date of Decision: 19.7.2006
Ravinder Singh .....Appellant.
Smt. Harbans Kaur ....Respondent
Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta.
Present: Shri Gulzar Mohd., Advocate, for the appellant.
Shri S.S. Rangi, Advocate, for the respondent.
The present appeal has been filed by the husband aggrieved against the judgment and decree passed by the learned trial Court on 24.10.2000, whereby his petition for dissolution of marriage under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for short `the Act'), was dismissed.
The marriage between the parties was solemnised on 19.10.1993. It is the case of the appellant that the marriage was not consummated because the wife did not allow the appellant to have sexual relations with her. It is further alleged that on the night of 19.10.1993, when the parties had tied nuptial knot, the appellant came to know that the respondent was already married to one Baghel Singh and the said fact was concealed from the appellant. Said Baghel Singh was shot dead in an encounter on 17.8.1992. It is alleged that after a week of the marriage, brother of the respondent took her alongwith him to village Aluna Tola, where she remained for two months but when she returned to matrimonial FAO No. 22-M of 2001 (2)
home, she did not allow the appellant to have physical relations with her. It was on 4.6.1996 that the matter was brought to the notice of Panchayat and a compromise was effected in writing but again brother of the respondent took her alongwith him to his house. Brother and father of the respondent used to visit her matrimonial home within a span of 4/5 days and taking the respondent alongwith them. On 12.5.1998, the respondent lodged an FIR under Section 498-A, 342, 546, 406, 120-B IPC. pursuant to which the appellant was arrested and thus he was harassed publicly. It is, thus, alleged that the respondent has treated the appellant with cruelty and on that ground the marriage between the parties be dissolved.
The wife has controverted the allegations and alleged that the petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed as a counter blast to an FIR registered against the appellant and his family members. It was denied that the respondent refused to allow the appellant to have sexual intercourse with her. It was her stand that on the second day of marriage, the same stood consummated. It is alleged that the appellant and his family members started taunting the respondent and treated her with cruelty. She was kept without meals. In May/June, 1996, an application was moved by the respondent to the police of Police Station Sadar Khanna against the appellant and his family members but due to intervention of the Panchayat, the matter was got compromised in writing on 4.6.1996. The respondent was brought to the house of the appellant again, but the appellant again started torturing the respondent raising demands of more dowry. A few days earlier to 20.2.1998, the respondent has been locked in the room by the appellant and his family members so as to pressurise the respondent to bring Scooter and T.V. On 20.2.1998 she was given beatings and locked in a FAO No. 22-M of 2001 (3)
room. A complaint was made on 21.2.1998 and an FIR was lodged against the appellant on 12.5.1998. The respondent has also sought maintenance in terms of provisions of Section 125 Cr.P.C. It is further pointed out that the factum of the first marriage and death of Baghel Singh was disclosed to the appellant and his family members. The distance between the villages of the parties is only three kilometres and the family members of the parties have known to each other. Therefore, there could not be any question of concealing the fact of first marriage of respondent with Baghel Singh.
After considering the evidence led by the parties, the learned trial Court found that the appellant has miserably failed to prove that the respondent has committed any cruelty against the appellant. Consequently, the petition for dissolution of marriage was dismissed.
Learned counsel for the appellant has vehemently argued that while appearing as a witness as RW5, the respondent has not been able to give any details of having any physical relationship with the appellant.
Thus, the allegation that the marriage between the parties was not consummated, cannot be said to be unreliable as has been found by the learned trial Court. Learned counsel for the appellant has referred to Praveen Mehta Vs. Inderjit Mehta AIR 2002 Supreme Court 2582, Jhabar Mal Vs. Guddi @ Kamla 2002(2) Civil Court Cases 15 (Raj), Vinita Saxena Vs. Pankaj Pandit 2006(2) RCR (Civil) 302 and Pothapragada Sri Lakshmi Maruthi Hara Gopal Vs. Smt. P. Seshu Kumar 2005(1) RCR (Civil) 622 to contend that denial of physical relationship is an act of cruelty.
I am unable to accept the said arguments raised by the learned counsel for the appellant. It is the case of the appellant that the marriage FAO No. 22-M of 2001 (4)
was not consummated at all. Once the parties have entered into a settlement (Exhibit P.1) before the Panchayat, it is not open to the appellant to make a grievance that the marriage was not consummated as there is nothing in the said compromise about the non consummation of the marriage. It is unbelievable that the parties would enter into a compromise on 4.6.1996 to live together even though the marriage was not consummated for long time.
The story set up is wholly unreliable and has rightly not been believed by the learned trial Court. The appellant has not produced any member of Panchayat in whose presence, the parties have entered into settlement dated 4.6.1996 to prove that the grievance was made regarding non- consummation of marriage. Merely because the respondent has not been able to give any details of physical relationship with the appellant, is no ground to draw any inference about non-consummation of marriage. The manner in which the allegations have levelled, does not inspire confidence, which may have any iota of truth. The judgments referred to are not applicable to the facts of the present case as on facts, it has been found that the plea of the appellant that the respondent has denied to have physical relations with him is not proved. Therefore, the said stand of the appellant is found wholly unreliable and consequently, the same is rejected.
Learned counsel for the appellant referred to the statement of PW4 to the effect that she was visiting her parental house after 4/5 days. It could not be denied that the village of the respondent and that of the appellant are at a short distance. If the respondent was visiting her parents after 4/5 days to a village which is at a distance of 3 kms that itself cannot be a ground on the basis of which any inference can be drawn that the appellant has been treated with cruelty.
FAO No. 22-M of 2001 (5)
Learned counsel for the appellant has lastly argued that a false FIR has been lodged against the appellant. Admittedly, the trial arising out of the said FIR is pending before the competent Court. The allegations levelled in complaint Exhibit P.2 on the basis of which FIR was lodged and the statements made by the witnesses are yet to be examined by the competent Court. Hence, lodging of an FIR, a right given to a victim for the redressal of grievances, cannot be said to be an act of cruelty.
In view of the above, I do not find any merit in the present appeal, which is dismissed with costs assessed at Rs.10,000/-.
19.7.2006 (Hemant Gupta)
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