Supreme Court order on divorce: In a significant order, the Supreme Court on Monday held that it can dissolve marriages on the ground of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’. The five-judge Constitution bench said that it can invoke special power granted to it under Article 143.
The mandatory waiting period of 6 months for divorce through mutual consent can be dispensed with subject to conditions, the apex court bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, AS Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari, added.
Article 142 of the Constitution deals with the enforcement of decrees and orders of the apex court to do ‘complete justice’ in any matter pending before it.
“Article 142 must be considered in light of the fundamental rights. It should contravene a non-derogable function of the Constitution. Court under the power is empowered to complete justice,” the Bench said.
‘Matrimony that grows bitter inflicts cruelty on couple’
Hearing a petition of a man last week, the Supreme Court observed that matrimonial cases before the courts pose a different challenge, unlike any other, as they involve human relationships with their bundle of emotions, faults and frailties.
A bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and JB Pardiwala said, “A marriage which has broken down irretrievably, in our opinion spells cruelty to both the parties, as in such a relationship each party is treating the other with cruelty. It is therefore a ground for dissolution of marriage under Section 13 (1) (ia) of the Act (Hindu Marriage Act)”.
“In our considered opinion, a marital relationship which has only become more bitter and acrimonious over the years does nothing but inflicts cruelty on both the sides. To keep the façade of this broken marriage alive would be doing injustice to both the parties,” the bench said, noting that the couple was living separately for the last 25 years and was childless.
The top court passed the verdict on an appeal by the husband against an order of the Delhi High Court which had ruled that mere filing of criminal cases against him by his wife does not constitute cruelty.
(With inputs from PTI)
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To be updated.