Woman’s tobacco addiction not sufficient for Divorce: HC dismisses petition

A woman’s habit of chewing tobacco by itself is not sufficient to grant divorce to her husband, the Bombay High Court held last week and dismissed plea for dissolution of marriage filed by a Nagpur resident.

The division bench comprising of Justice AS Chandurkar and justice Pushpa Ganediwala dismissed appeal filed by the 42-year-old after noticing that all the allegations levelled by him were general and omnibus in nature.

“The major allegation among them is with regard to her habit of chewing tobacco or kharra, which alone is not sufficient to grant a decree of divorce,” said the bench while dismissing his appeal.

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The man had moved the HC in appeal after a family court at Nagpur in January 2015 dismissed his divorce petition. He said he married in June 2003 in accordance with Buddhist rites and rituals and had a daughter and a son with his wife. However, he alleged that his wife didn’t perform her duties as a housewife, would often quarrel with him and his family, and leave the matrimonial house without informing him.

He added that his wife was addicted to chewing tobacco and had developed a cyst in her abdomen because of that, and he had to incur heavy expenses for getting that surgically treated.

The family court had, however, rejected his petition, concluding that the allegations were not sufficient to grant decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty.

Concurring with the family court, the high court bench said careful perusal of the pleadings and the evidence submitted by the husband revealed that the allegations were nothing but “normal wear and tear in married life”.

The judges said that so far as the treatment meted out by the spouses to each other was concerned, the woman was on a better footing than her husband, as she cohabited with him for about two years even after he was found HIV positive in 2008.

The court said that if the marriage was dissolved, the children would suffer, and it was in the best interests that the marital tie remains intact.

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