The Delhi High Court has ruled that if a woman refuses to have physical relations with her husband for a longer time without any clear justification, the act of hers will be treated as mental cruelty and is a ground for divorce.

The court gave the judgement after hearing a petition by a man seeking divorce on grounds that his wife treated him cruelly by denying him sex for four-and-a-half years despite having no disability.

“In view the foregoing discussion, we are of the considered view that the husband has fully established that he was subjected to mental cruelty by the wife by denying sex to him for a long period despite living under the same roof, without any justification and though she was not suffering from any physical disability,” PTI quoted the  bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani as saying.

The husband had appealed against a trial court verdict in March which had dismissed his divorce petition. The court had cited that the instances of cruelty claimed by him did not fulfill the standard of cruelty according to the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The man told the court that his marriage took place on November 26, 2001 in Haryana. The couple had two sons aged ten and nine years at the time of filing the petition in the trial court three years ago. In his petition, the man accused his wife of subjecting him and his family members of mental cruelty as she was not involved in household chores.

His parents later told the woman to live separately in the same house. In its judgement, the bench referred to the settled legal position that “denial of sex to a spouse itself amounts to causing mental cruelty”.

via GIPHY

“The appeal being well founded deserves to be allowed,” it said, adding “we grant a decree of divorce in favour of the husband on the ground of cruelty by dissolving his marriage with the wife that had been solemnised”.

This is not the first instance when the Delhi High Court has issued such a verdict. On September 11, the court had annulled a nine-year-old marriage wherein a woman had refused sex to her husband due to medical problems.

The petitioner had claimed that his wife did not allow him to have physical relations since getting married in 2007. On the other hand, the woman accused him and his family members of harassing her.