Delhi HC grants divorce to celebrity chef Kunal Kapur on grounds of “Cruelty” by wife 

In a verdict delivered on Tuesday, the Delhi High Court granted divorce to celebrity chef Kunal Kapur, citing cruelty inflicted by his estranged wife. This decision comes after Kapur appealed a family court ruling that had previously denied him a divorce.

The presiding judges, Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna found that Kunal’s wife had exhibited a pattern of behaviour lacking in dignity and empathy, ultimately causing a breakdown of the marriage. The couple, married in April 2008 and parents to a son born in 2012, have been separated since 2015.

Kunal, known for his role as a judge on the popular television show Master Chef, accused his wife of persistently disrespecting his parents and subjecting him to public humiliation. His wife, however, denied these claims, stating that Kapur fabricated stories to obtain a divorce and kept her uninformed about his intentions.

The court stated that enduring disrespect and emotional distress constitute grounds for divorce. The judgement noted, “When such is the nature of one spouse towards the other, it brings disgrace to the very essence of marriage and there exists no possible reason as to why he should be compelled to live while enduring the agony of living together.” 

Marital discord, according to the court, is to be expected to some degree, but it crosses a line when it manifests as disrespect and disregard for a spouse. The court specifically highlighted that the wife’s unsubstantiated allegations, made just two years after Kapur achieved celebrity status, tarnished his reputation and constituted legal cruelty.

The judgement detailed specific accusations of misconduct, including the wife’s alleged refusal to allow Kapur access to their son and her demand for financial support despite hindering his access to the child. Evidence, including WhatsApp messages, reportedly showed that despite continued financial support for the household and their child’s education, Kunal was repeatedly denied visitation with his son under various pretexts. The court determined that such actions caused Kunal emotional distress and undermined the marital bond.

The court further condemned the use of derogatory language and physical harm as unacceptable behaviour within a marriage, stating that they constitute further forms of cruelty. The court ruled that the wife’s conduct fell under Section 13 (1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and that the Family Court had erred in rejecting Kapur’s initial divorce petition.

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