Husband Vishwanath Agrawal's situation had become similar both inside and outside the court. While he faced disappointing judgements at the High Court, he would have to face mental agony at the hands of her wife at home. Had it not been for this newspaper advertisement, he would have to face the sluggish judiciary God knows for how many more years. And so the bench concluded: “It was a case of extreme mental cruelty for a long period capped by the offensive public advertisement.
The court also rubbished wife's claims that advertisement protected the interests of the children. Calling it 'incredible and implausible', the bench said it was mala fide and the intention was to tarnish the reputation of the husband in society by 'naming him as a drunkard, womaniser and a man of bad habits', according to The Times of India.
Entitling him to a decree of divorce, the bench said that the cumulative effect of the evidence brought on record clearly establish a sustained attitude of causing humiliation and calculated torture on the part of the wife to make the life of the husband miserable.
Though it is a landmark judgement but one thing that has irked people is Rs 50 lakh permanent alimony to be paid to the woman in four months by the husband. As one person, Kishnendu reacted to the alimony: “Why does Supreme Court give Rs 50 lakh to the wife when the guilty party was the woman herself. Is it a compensation of the sin made (committed) by the man by marrying this woman? She was trying to make by this and that is simple since the newspaper incident.
Thowing a slew of one-liners, as the judges are known for, the bench said that conduct of the wife and her actions must have made the husband's 'brain and bones to feel the chill of humiliation'.
This sordid tale is a reminder that contrary to recent judgment and new reports, getting a divorce is still a difficult and messy proposition, and that gender inequality and bias still persists in the dispensation of justice in cases of divorce and spousal harassment. It seems, people have to resort to desperate and self-harming advertisements to hasten the judgement's delivery.
But what's positive is that the court's judgment will lay a precedent for future such cases, as the court in its order has defined under what circumstances, with reference to the case in question, can cruelty be used as a seperation.