Wife's Filing of Criminal Complaints Against Husband, In-laws Not Deemed as Cruelty: Madras High Court

Madras HC: Filing complaints by spouse not cruelty without acquittal. Court stresses factual determination post-trial. Marriage discord led to disputes, wife filed complaints; husband sought divorce, wife sought restitution. Court nullifies restitution but affirms denial of divorce.

In a recent ruling, the Madras High Court clarified that filing criminal complaints against a spouse doesn't constitute cruelty unless resulting in acquittal [A Rajendra Babu vs C Ramba]. Justices R Suresh Kumar and K Kumaresh Babu emphasized that mere filing of complaints doesn't imply mental cruelty until proven otherwise.

The court highlighted that the complaints in question led to calendar cases, indicating a formal process after police investigation. Until completion of trial and acquittal, it's premature to conclude cruelty by the wife. The judgment stressed the need for factual determination post-trial before inferring cruelty.

The court noted the wife's acknowledgment of filing complaints, using them as evidence of harassment by her husband. The marital discord arose from disputes post-wedding, with the wife alleging mental and physical torture, prompting her to seek police intervention in Chennai.

The husband, in turn, accused the wife of subjecting him to mental anguish and pressuring him to abandon his family. Despite efforts for marital reconciliation, the husband persisted in seeking a divorce, prompting the wife's counteraction with pleas for conjugal rights restitution.

While the family court upheld the wife's plea for restitution, it dismissed the husband's divorce petition due to insufficient evidence of cruelty. However, the High Court scrutinized the sequence of events, highlighting the husband's early attempt at divorce in 2012 and subsequent criminal cases filed by the wife.

The court deemed these circumstances reasonable grounds for the husband's withdrawal from matrimonial life, underscoring the oversight by the family court. Consequently, it nullified the restitution order but affirmed the denial of divorce.

Advocate C Shankar represented the husband, while the wife appeared as a party-in-person.