‘Mental Cruelty’ A Mechanism for Divorce: An Analysis of Judicial Interpretation by Anand Pawar

About the Author: Dr. Pawar is an Associate Professor of Law at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, Punjab, and had been Acting Vice-Chancellor in Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. He can be contacted via email at ap.rgnul@gmail.com

“I must be cruel only to be kind; Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.” 

  William ShakespeareHamlet


It is indeed a misfortune that the law which was enacted to protect the interest of a particular group of people is now being used by the same group of people in a fallacious manner. Earlier it was believed that only women can be subjected to cruelty by their husband and relatives but now the whole conception and presumption has undergone a drastic change. Women often use the backing of law as a tool to satisfy their personal hatred towards their husband and his family members. Huge backlog of cases in courts and frequent petition under section 498A of IPC shows us the reality of the situation. As cruelty is a ground for divorce under different laws, in order to get rid of the marriage wife uses this section as a powerful weapon against their husband.

The concept of cruelty has varied from time to time, place to place and from individual to individual. The cruelty alleged may largely depend upon the type of life the parties are accustomed to or their economic and social conditions, their cultural and human values to which attaches importance.[1]

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