How To Prove Mental Cruelty?

How To Prove Mental Cruelty?

Being a part of this society we all understand the importance of marriage in the life of every human being.  Marriage not only defines the bond between two person that is husband and wife, but it also describes that how two different families and their society engage with their marriage. So if any marriage become unsuccessful it not only affect the life of husband and wife but it also leaves deep impact on their families, relatives and any other person who is connected with them. Failed marriages lead to divorce. Basically divorce is a legal action between married couples to terminate their marital union. It happens when both the persons that is husband and wife have differences and they decides not to live together and legally end their relationships.

There are various reasons behind the fail marriages; it may be due to both husband and wife. Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act 1955, explains the grounds of divorce. These grounds are Adultery, Cruelty, Desertion, Conversion, Insanity, Leprosy, Venereal disease, Renunciation and Presumption of Death. Courts always try to find a solution other than the divorce but however the objective of marriage cannot be dispensed out so there is no point to continue the same. This article takes special look on cruelty as a ground of divorce and How to prove mental cruelty in a court?

What is Cruelty?

In simple words cruelty means an unreasonable behavior, torturing or we can say that extremely unkind and intentionally causing pain physically or mentally or danger to life. It includes child abuse, abuse towards elder, domestic violence etc. In matrimonial relationships we cannot say any act which cause annoyance to others, cover under offence of cruelty. In day-to-day marriage life there are many trivial quarrels and irritations happened between spouses, it may not come under cruelty. Cruelty can be subtle or brutal both . It may be violent or non violent, by words, gesture, by mere silence.  Both male and female can file a case of cruelty against their spouse, if the conduct done is “grave and weighty” in nature and the petitioner spouse have no options to resolve itself out of the court.  No one can live in this situation for a long time. In this type of cases court has to consider various factors such a social status of parties, their physical and mental conditions , their education, customs and traditions because it varies from person to person and it is not possible to give  decision based on only one factor. As we see the history of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 , cruelty is only the ground for judicial separation and not for divorce. Supreme court also upheld this in the case of “Narayan GaneshDastane  Vs.  Sucheta Narayan Dastane” in 1975. But after the 1976 amendment in Hindu Marriage Act 1955, cruelty is also considered as a ground for divorce. And Court should decide case in a specific manner because whether a spouse has suffered cruelty or not is a subjective matter.

Kinds of Cruelty

As our society were changed with time the situation become worst and good simultaneously, because nowadays the cases of cruelty for divorce have increased very much as compared to past years. So our Justice system always keeps on amending and widening the ambit of cruelty with respect to both men and women.

  • Cruelty is classified into two types :-
  • Physical Cruelty
  • Mental Cruelty

Physical Cruelty

Physical cruelty accounts the physical violence that occurs inside the home in matrimonial relationships. The bodily injury, danger to health and life, which cause fear in the mind of aperson, comes under the physical violence. Different religion followsdifferent Marriage Act but all of them considerassault or physical violence as a ground for divorce and this is the most common reason for dissolution of marriage.

Mental Cruelty

It is the course of conduct done by one spouse toward the other spouse who may cause endanger to their mind, health or life. It has same weight age as compare to physical cruelty. Because the nature of cruel treatment and its impact on mind of husband or wife, make their life worse for long period. Proving mental cruelty is more difficult than physical cruelty, because the situation is subjective in nature and it depends on the power of tolerance of person that at what extent he or she can manage their marital union. The degree of cruelty is differing from case to case.

There are various situations which considered as mental cruelty for wife

Demand for dowry.

Demand for boy child.

Drinking habit

Husband having affairs

Aggressive behavior of husband


Insulting the wife in front of family and society.

It is not true that cruelty always done by husband sometimes it is on the part of wife also.

There is a case of :-

Jay Dayal Vs. Shakuntala Devi

Where court said that making a false allegation of mental and physical torture  against husband cover under mental cruelty.

Other reasons of mental cruelty for husband .

Making false allegation of adultery.

Wife having external marital affair.

Not ready to make martial physical relationship without any reason.

Uncontrollable behavior.

Ill – treatment to the husband parents and relatives.

Abort infant without husband consent.

Cruelty as a ground for divorce

Nowadays the base of matrimonial relationships is not that much strong . Most of the women’s are educated and they know very well about their rights and freedom . In ancient period husband was treated as god by his wife ,and they called them“ pati parmeshwar” . And because of this concept wife have to suffer cruelty in form of physical and mental both .Earlier people thought women have no right to raise their voice and act like cruelty against wife was a normal scenario of all marriages.  But now most women’s know that the concept of pati parmeshwar is a myth and no one has right to ill- treat other person. Therefore there are various reasons which amounts cruelty as a ground for divorce.

How to prove mental cruelty in a court?

Basically, mental cruelty affects the status of mind which leaves deep impact on different parts of body. So it become more tough for petitioner to show his or her mental condition which is disturbed by the act of respondent and their family members.

Case of mental cruelty depends upon the different circumstances and facts. One can prove mental cruelty by different ways in a court :-

  • By oral or written statement.

Petitioner should have focus on strengthening the oral and written evidences,  by showing aggressive behavior , denying from marital physical relationship,  abusing in front of family or relative, demand for dowry, force to give birth boy child on the part of respondent.

  • Sobha Rani Vs. Madhukar Reddi (1988)

Here in this case Supreme Court held that repeated demands for dowry by the husband or his family member was a form of mental cruelty.

  • According to many judgements, audio and video evidence are the best evidence in case of mental cruelty.
  • Or any witness who is ready to give statement in front of court is also very helpful.


In India marriage is a very pure Bond or we can say that a bond of love and care. People don’t want to break this bond , so everyone tries their best to save their relationship by keeping aside all the differences. Therefore lower number of cases lodged for divorce  on grounds of cruelty .In spite of suffering physical and mental cruelty people try to solve the matter on their own level without going to court. But there is need to understand the role of judiciary system that they are working for us. So,  in my opinion, there is no need to suffer unreasonable pain because it violates the basic right of dignity and liberty given under the Constitution of India . At last we can conclude, that cruelty  of any kind physical or mental the innocent spouse can move to court for their protection and better future .

This Article Written by Gunjan Karn, Student of IIMT AND SCHOOL OF LAW, GGSIPU.

Also Read – How To Prove Mental Cruelty In Divorce?

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