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Man Ordered To Pay ₹3 Crore Compensation For Calling Wife ‘Second Hand’

The Bombay High Court dismissed a divorce petition, upholding compensation of ₹3 crore, emphasizing domestic violence's impact on the wife's self-esteem, considering the couple's social status and educational background.

Edited By : Aniket Raj | Updated: Mar 27, 2024 10:13 IST
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Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court dismissed a divorce petition filed by a person residing in America, stating that domestic violence affects the self-esteem of the woman, referred to as “second hand” on her honeymoon, who was subjected to physical abuse by her husband. Additionally, the High Court upheld the lower court’s order directing the husband to pay ₹3 crore as compensation to the separated wife.

Actually, both the husband and wife are citizens of America. They got married on January 3, 1994, in Mumbai. They also had another marriage ceremony in America, but around 2005-2006, they came to Mumbai and started living in a house together. The wife also found a job in Mumbai and later moved to her mother’s house. Around 2014-15, the husband went back to America, and in 2017, he filed for divorce in the court there and sent summons to the wife. That same year, the wife filed a petition under the Domestic Violence (DV) Act in the Mumbai Magistrate Court. In 2018, a court in America granted the divorce to the couple.

The wife’s case was that during their honeymoon in Nepal, the husband harassed her by calling her ‘second hand’ because her previous engagement had broken off. Later, in America, the wife alleged that she was subjected to physical and emotional abuse. The husband tarnished her character and also accused her brothers of having illicit relationships with other men. Allegedly, the husband didn’t let her sleep at night until she confessed to having illicit and adulterous relationships.

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The wife was subjected to physical abuse in 1999.

In November 1999, the husband allegedly beat her so brutally that neighbors, hearing the commotion, called the local police, who arrested him on charges of domestic violence. The wife claimed she didn’t file a complaint with the police, but they noticed marks of injury on her face and took action on their own. After her brother’s request, she was granted bail, and the husband had to undergo counseling.

The woman also mentioned that in 2000, when her parents went to America, her father suffered a heart attack, but her husband didn’t allow her to stay with her father. She claimed that even when the couple returned to India, the husband accused her of having illicit relationships with other men, even reaching out to milkmen or vegetable vendors to give evidence. When she discussed this with a psychiatrist, it was revealed that the husband was delusional, although he refused to take medication.

In 2008, there was an attempt to suffocate the wife

The woman alleged that in 2008, her husband attempted to suffocate her with a pillow, after which she went to her mother’s house. She also accused her husband of marrying another woman during their marriage. The husband opposed the allegations, but since he didn’t provide any evidence to the contrary, the Magistrate Court dismissed his claims. On the other hand, the woman’s mother, brother, and uncle testified in support of her case.

In 2023, the Magistrate passed an order stating that the woman was a victim of domestic violence. While the trial court had denied the wife permission to use the jointly owned flat in Mumbai, the court directed the husband to make alternative arrangements for her accommodation or pay her ₹75,000 per month as rent for the house.

The court had issued this order in 2017

The court had directed the husband to pay the wife ₹1,50,000 per month as maintenance from 2017, along with a compensation of three crore rupees to be paid within two months. Additionally, he had to bear expenses of ₹50,000.

Subsequently, the husband challenged the lower court’s order in the Sessions Court, which dismissed his challenge. He then filed a review petition before the High Court. However, while upholding the compensation of three crore rupees, the High Court emphasized that the act of domestic violence had affected the wife’s self-esteem.

Justice Sharmila Deshmukh stated, “In the present case, it is acknowledged that both parties are well-educated and hold high positions in their workplaces and social lives. Due to social status, acts of domestic violence would be felt more by the wife as it would affect her self-esteem. This does not mean that the person affected by domestic violence would not be affected by it in other aspects of life. The cumulative impact on each case’s facts should also be considered.”

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First published on: Mar 27, 2024 10:13 AM IST

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