Chhattisgarh High Court Rules Wife’s Affair Constitutes Mental Cruelty to Husband: Divorce Granted

In a landmark judgment, the Chhattisgarh High Court has ruled that a wife’s extramarital affair amounts to mental cruelty towards her husband, thus justifying a divorce. This ruling overturned a lower court’s decision and granted the husband’s plea for dissolution of marriage under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Case Background

The case, adjudicated by a division bench comprising Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice Radhakishan Agrawal, involved a husband appealing against a February 2020 ruling by the Family Court in Raigarh. The Family Court had dismissed his application for divorce despite his allegations of his wife’s infidelity.

Grounds for Divorce

The appellant-husband claimed that his wife’s behavior had drastically changed post-marriage, leading to frequent quarrels and threats to leave him. According to his testimony, in May 2014, his wife left their home with their three children without informing anyone. He later discovered her living with a friend in another village. He further alleged that on June 7, 2017, he caught his wife in a compromising position with a man named Harikishan Bareth, which prompted him to seek a divorce on the grounds of adultery and cruelty.

Evidence Presented

The husband’s account was corroborated by testimonies from witnesses, including a family friend who confirmed the adulterous incident. The wife admitted in court that a male friend visited her in her husband’s absence, but denied any improper relationship. However, her earlier statements and the testimonies presented indicated otherwise.

Court’s Findings

The High Court found that the wife’s actions constituted mental cruelty. It noted that her admission of a male friend’s visits in her husband’s absence, combined with witness testimonies, substantiated the husband’s claims. The Court emphasized that even a single instance of extramarital sexual intercourse is sufficient to invoke the provision for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

The Court also highlighted the fact that the couple had been living separately since 2017, indicating an irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. This prolonged separation, according to the Court, had created an unbridgeable distance, rendering any reunion impossible. Citing Supreme Court precedents, the High Court concluded that when a marriage is beyond repair, the continued legal bond only perpetuates cruelty.


The Chhattisgarh High Court’s decision underscores the severity of adultery as a ground for divorce under Indian law. It affirms that infidelity by a spouse, causing mental agony to the other, is sufficient to grant a divorce. This ruling not only provides relief to the appellant-husband but also sets a significant precedent in family law jurisprudence.

The case reinforces the principle that marriages, fraught with unresolvable conflicts and mental cruelty, must not be sustained artificially by legal constraints. The judgment is a reminder that the sanctity of marriage is contingent upon mutual respect and fidelity, and any breach thereof warrants legal intervention.

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