Questions Legal

How to prove mental cruelty in divorce?


Pranet Sharma

Justice is truth in action

As per Indian law of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, mental cruelty is considered as any activity that causes severe pain or agony and suffering caused because of the mental stress given by the opposite spouse. Such sufferings cause draining of the ability to pursue living with each other, bounded all the liabilities of marriage. 

The Hindu Marriage Act-1955 has given the judicial terms for divorce based on of cruelty under section – 13(1)(a) as follows;

“Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty”.

The concept and extent of mental cruelty can differ depending on different social norms, classes, and mindset of society. The definition given to the severity of mental stress is based on cultural norms.

What falls under mental cruelty? 

  1. Considering the marital life, mental cruelty concludes acute mental pain, agony, and suffering that make a living with each other difficult.

  2. The intense deep pain, distress, disappointment, etc caused by the conduct of the other party for an extended period of time.

  3. The rude and harsh behavior of a spouse which result in intense physical and mental agony.

  4. The emotional and mental attack from spouse based on jealousy, possessiveness, selfishness, etc.

  5. The unipartite decision of any one of married couples to not have children without the consent of other parties.

  6. Unilateral decision to depart from physical relation with spouse even under the consideration that the opposite party needs it.

How to prove mental cruelty in a court?

Proving mental cruelty in court is not as easy as we expect it to be. The level of mental stress considered in the court can depend upon the behavior of the case.

  1. Oral testimony of spouse against the other one is considered as a valid legal base for taking the case for mental cruelty on your spouse. The mismatch in opinions, clashes following that, abusive discussions, physical pain caused, possessive behavior, etc are written down as per the complaint of a wife/husband.

  2. Video or audio evidence acting as a support for your oral testimony is considered as prominent evidence for mental cruelty.

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