Madhya Pradesh: High Court Grants Divorce, Cites Physical Intimacy Denial as Grounds for Separation

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Jabalpur, 16th January 2024: In a momentous development, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has weighed in on the issue of marriage refusal, asserting that both the denial of marriage and the withholding of physical relations constitute mental cruelty, serving as valid grounds for divorce.

The verdict, delivered by a division bench comprising Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Vinay Saraf on January 3, stemmed from a case in which a man sought divorce due to his wife’s refusal to continue the marriage and engage in physical relations.

The bench declared, “We understand that unilateral refusal to have sexual intercourse for a long period due to physical disability or without a valid reason can amount to mental cruelty.”

Furthermore, the High Court overturned the Family Court’s decision, stating that the lower court had erred in holding that the wife’s failure to consummate the marriage could not be a valid ground for divorce.

According to the details presented in the appeal, the man got married in July 2006. Post-marriage, the wife expressed her refusal to cohabit and continue the marriage, citing her love for someone else. The petitioner claimed that he went to the United States for work in 2006, after which the wife went to live with her family and never returned. In 2011, the husband filed a divorce petition in the Family Court in Bhopal, which was initially rejected.