Delhi High Court grants divorce to Chef Kunal Kapur on grounds of cruelty

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed an appeal of celebrity chef Kunal Kapur against a trial court order and granted him a divorce from his wife on the ground of cruelty, saying the conduct of his estranged wife towards him was devoid of dignity and empathy.

A bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, while allowing the appeal of Chef Kapur, said that It is a settled position of law that making reckless, defamatory, humiliating and unsubstantiated allegations in public against a spouse amounts to cruelty.

What did the High Court say?

“In the light of the afore-noted facts of the present case, we find that conduct of the respondent (wife) towards appellant (chef Kunal Kapur) has been such that it is devoid of dignity and empathy towards him. When such is the nature of one spouse towards the other, it brings disgrace to the very essence of marriage and there exist no possible reason as to why he should be compelled to live while enduring the agony of living together,” the High Court said.

What did Chef Kunal Kapur submit?

Chef Kunal Kapur, who was a judge in television show “Master Chef”, in his plea, said that met his respondent wife through a matrimonial website and prior to their marriage, he had set a pre-condition before his respondent wife that he would stay with his parents to take care of them, to which she had agreed. However, she never respected his parents and used utter disrespectful language by calling names. She could not handle his fame and picked up fights on menial reasons and she was a constant source of humiliation and public embarrassment and called the police not only at the matrimonial home but also barged into Yash Raj Studios when he was shooting in Mumbai for television show “Master Chef”, Chef Kunal Kapur submitted.

Chef Kunal Kapur further said that he had made all his efforts to keep her happy by taking her out on trips and vacations, both domestic and international, while doing his shoots or even otherwise, which included places like USA, Seychelles, Singapore, Macau, New Zealand and Switzerland and also Goa, Jaipur, Shimla, Nainital, Mumbai, Kolkata and Jim Corbett within India. However, on each of the trip, she behaved in such a way which would sour the entire trip.

Chef Kunal Kapur further said that since he had started gaining public attention, the respondent wife threatened him to spread false humour to the media and register false criminal complaint against him and his parents and on one such occasion she even slapped him just before he was to leave for his shoot. He further alleged that she was an uncaring mother, who left her child at the mercy of the maids to enjoy her life.

What did Chef Kunal Kapur’s estranged wife submit?

The respondent wife, on the other hand, refuted the claims of Chef Kunal Kapur and submitted that her estranged husband, in a collusion with his parents, has enacted sordid drama to get rid of daughter-in-law by either forcing her to commit suicide or by taking divorce and that she always tried to communicate with her husband like a loving spouse and was always loyal towards him. However, the appellant husband, with ill intentions, kept her in dark and concocted fabricated stories to obtain divorce from her. She alleged that she was tricked into situations hoping for a targeted response and she was ignorant that those incidents were being video recorded by the appellant husband and his family members to use at a later stage.

The High Court, after hearing submissions of the parties, said that though discords are an inevitable part of every marriage, but when such conflicts take the form of disrespect and inconsideration towards a spouse, the marriage itself loses its sanctity. The court also noted that Chef Kunal Kapur appellant husband has established himself as a celebrity chef within two years of marriage, which is a reflection of his hard work and determination.

The High Court further said that the respondent wife has made such wild allegations without any sound basis purely with the intention to disrepute the appellant husband in the eyes of this court to get a favorable outcome. and such baseless arguments when made about a person who is regularly in the public eye has long lasting effects on his reputation and tarnishes his image among his peers and therefore, such an act amounts to cruelty.

“In our considered opinion, the conduct of the respondent (wife) has been such which brings it into the ambit of Section 13 (1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the learned Family Court has gravely erred in disallowing the petition preferred by the appellant,” the High Court said while setting aside the trial court order and granting divorce to chef Kunal Kapur.

The estranged couple got married in April 2008 and a son was born out of the wedlock in 2012.

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