Hindu Marriage Act Sections 13(1) (i-a) and (i-b) and 23 Divorce Cruelty by wife-Wife had gone to extent of threatening him that she would commit suicide and would put blame upon him Ground for relief in a matrimonial cause should be strictly proved-Corroborative evidence should be led in order to satisfy Court that allegations made are well-founded-Acts of appellant/wife are of such quality or magnitude and consequence as to cause pain, agony and suffering to respondent husband which amounted to cruelty in matrimonial law impugned common order confirmed. (Paras 33, 37, 46, 53, 54 and 55)*_
33. Doubtless, burden must lie on the respondent/husband to establish his case of cruelty, as contemplated under Sections 3, 101 to 104 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Ordinarily the burden lies on the party who affirms a fact, and not on the party to deny it. This principle accords with a common sense as it is so much easier to prove a positive than a negative. The respondent/husband must therefore, prove that the appellant/wife had threatened him as well as his parents with cruelty within the meaning of Section 13(1)(i-a).
37. It is also his case that she had gone to the extent of threatening him that she would pour kerosene on her and set her on fire and thereby commit suicide and would put the blame upon him. In order to substantiate his case, ten documents were marked on his behalf. Ex.P1 is the legal notice dated 19.02.2003 and Exs.P2 to P9 are the letters said to have been written by the appellant/wife. Ex.P10 is the copy of the complaint lodged by him in C.S.R.No.181 of 2005 dated 09.06.2005 on the file of All Women Police Station, Mayiladuthurai.
46. Section 23 of the Hindu Marriage Act contemplates that:
”Decree in proceedings.- Sub Section (1) enacts that: In any proceeding under this Act, whether defended or not, if the court is satisfied that-
(b) where the ground of the petition is the ground specified in clause(i) of sub-section (1) of section 13, the petitioner has not in any manner been accessory to or connived at or condoned the act or acts complained of, or where the ground of the petition is cruelty the petitioner has not in any manner condoned the cruelty;
Section 23 contains some vital clauses of considerable importance and consequence relating to the power and duty of the court in the matter of granting any of the reliefs recognised under the Act.
The initial words of the section adopts the well-established principle of matrimonial law that decrees of dissolution of marriage are to be made only upon strict proof.
It is a firmly established rule that the ground for relief in a matrimonial cause should be strictly proved. The standard of proof in case of all proceedings under the Act is that the court must be satisfied on a preponderance of probability that the ground for relief is proved and normally, the court requires that the evidence of a spouse who charges the other spouse with a matrimonial offence should be corroborated. While the analogies and precedents of criminal law should have no authority in matrimonial causes, the court would ordinarily, be justified in requiring, not as a matter of law but as a rule of prudence, that where possible, corroborative evidence should be led in order to satisfy the court that the allegations made are well-founded.
53. In the given case on hand also the main allegation against the appellant/wife is that she had made repeated threat to commit suicide by pouring kerosene on her by putting blame on her husband (respondent). This matrimonial offence as alleged by the respondent/husband has been proved sufficiently through his oral evidence as well as documentary evidences under Exs.P2 to P9. This kind of cruelty postulates a treatment of the appellant with such cruelty as to create reasonable apprehension in the mind of the respondent/husband that it would be harmful or injurious to him to live with her. Therefore, the acts of the wife (appellant herein) are of such quality or magnitude and consequence as to cause pain, agony and suffering to the respondent/husband which amounted to cruelty in matrimonial law.
54. We have carefully perused the materials placed before us including the grounds of appeals. We have also weighed and balanced the submissions made by both the learned counsels with the given fact situation and found that the learned I Additional Family Court has come to a correct conclusion which resulted in granting divorce to the respondent/husband on the ground of cruelty which according to our considered opinion does not require our interference to exercise our appellate jurisdiction.
55. In the result, both the appeals are dismissed and the impugned common order dated 17.08.2015 and made in H.M.O.P.Nos.2853 of 2007 and 1288 of 2003 respectively, on the file of the I Additional Family Court, Chennai are confirmed. However, considering the nature of the case, there shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.