The Madras High Court on Thursday ruled that the refusal of a spouse to cooperate in a conjugal relationship after 16 years of marriage cannot be grounds for granting divorce or dissolution of the marriage.
A division bench of Justices R Subbiah and C Saravanan gave the ruling while dismissing an appeal by Krishnaraj of Erode district against the family court order issued on October 2016, declining divorce on that ground.
The bench observed that it's not a case of the appellant stating that the marriage wasn't consummated and that the respondent refused sexual intercourse soon after the marriage.
The appellant cannot contest after 16 years of marriage that he was denied conjugal bliss and subjected to cruelty, it said, adding he had subjected his wife to cruelty by having an "extra-marital relationship" with his aunt's daughter.
Pointing out that the appellant had sent 200 to 300 text messages to his cousin, the court said it was evident that the appellant had insisted his cousin to marry him, hence he was a "wrong-doer."
Confirming the lower court order, the bench said the family court had correctly concluded that the appellant has been the wrong-doer and dismissed the appeal filed against it.
Noting that the wife would not have consented for sexual intercourse owing to physical inability or commitment to children as it was natural due to ageing, the bench said the appellant refused to accept the change associated with ageing.
There's lack of acceptance on part of the appellant, it said.
The bench held that physical relationship between the couple would slow down in normal married life and it cannot be regarded as grounds for dissolution of marriage.
Krishnaraj married Sathya in June 1997 and they have a daughter.
In 2014, he sought divorce but the family court had refused, and declined maintenance to his wife as she had concealed the fact that she was working as a school teacher.
However, the lower court had ordered a maintenance sum of Rs 7,500 for the petitioner's daughter, who was a minor completing plus-two.