Karnataka high court, divorce, dark-skinned
Karnataka High Court

Bengaluru man gets to divorce wife after she brands him ‘dark-skinned’

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The Karnataka High Court has granted a man divorce on his appeal that his wife had subjected him to cruelty by repeatedly calling him “dark-skinned”.

The court ruled that insulting a man for being dark-skinned by his wife constitutes ‘cruelty’.

A division bench accepted the appeal filed by K Murthy (44) of St Thomas Town in Bengaluru challenging a family court’s order refusing to allow him to divorce his wife, V Kalaivani (41) of Coxtown in the city.

Their wedding took place on November 15, 2007, and they have a daughter who was three-and-a-half years old when the divorce petition was filed in 2012.

Justices Alok Aradhe and Anaant Ramanath Hegde recently gave the ruling after hearing the husband’s complaint that his wife humiliated him on the basis of his skin colour. A copy of the judgment was made available last Friday (August 4).

The wife left for her hometown without the husband. She instead accused her husband of having an illicit relationship.

Also read: Squeezing of testicles is not ‘attempt to murder’: Karnataka High Court

Court observations

“It is stated that the wife has not made any attempt to join the company of the husband and the evidence on record would establish that she was not interested in the marriage because of the dark complexion of the husband,” the judges said.

To cover up this aspect, (she) has levelled false allegations of illicit relationships against the husband. These facts certainly will constitute cruelty, the HC said.

“By referring to these contentions, it is urged that the Family Court ought to have granted a decree for the dissolution of marriage,” the court observed.

Denied divorce earlier

On January 13, 2017, the Second Additional Principal Family Court of Bangalore denied the prayer of divorce to Murthy, forcing him to move the high court.

The husband told the court that he bore his wife’s insults because of their daughter. In 2011, he said his wife also filed a case against him and other family members for harassment and domestic violence.

“Police harassed me a lot regarding that complaint,” he said. “I wandered in the police station and courts for many days. Later, my wife left me and went to her hometown and never came back.”

Also read: Abusive words against PM Modi derogatory, not seditious: Karnataka High Court

Man’s anguish

He said she was not interested in continuing to live with him. The wife also complained to her husband’s boss. “Her behaviour caused me mental anguish. I got depressed because of it,” said the husband.

The wife, who sought a dismissal of the appeal, said her husband had an illicit relationship with another woman and that a child was also born to them.

She also accused her husband of abusing her in filthy language and behaving harshly with her. “He always came home late at night,” she said.

The high court, after examining the records, concluded that the wife’s allegations were baseless. She had also filed many criminal cases against her husband and family members. She had also clearly stated that she will not withdraw the cases.

The judges said it was thus clear that the rift between the couple was too big and therefore the husband can get the right to separate.


At the same time, the high court said that if the wife applies for maintenance, the Family Court should review and decide.

Former advocate general BT Venkatesh told The Federal that if a wife keeps calling her husband black or dark-skinned and this is proved by him, the charge will amount to cruelty.

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