Supreme court upholds Divorce : irretrievable breakdown ground for marriage dissolution

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of ending a married union. It entails cancelling or restructuring the legal obligations and responsibilities of marriage, essentially dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law in a specific country or state. Divorce laws in India differ depending on the couple religions and the laws that govern the marriage. The divorce procedure begins with the filing of a divorce petition. This can be initiated by either spouse (in the event of one-sided divorce) or by both spouses filing a combined petition (in the case of mutual divorce).

The present case of the Supreme Court of India in a civil appeal resulting from the appellant Prakash Chandra Joshi’s divorce suit against the respondent Kuntal Prakash Chandra Joshi.
The appellant and respondent married on January 5, 2004, after eight years of dating, and they obtained Canadian citizenship for financial advantage. They had a boy born on May 21, 2010.The appellant began experiencing medical problems in Canada and lost his job due to the recession. The family returned to India on January 29, 2011, and stayed at the appellant’s mother’s home in Mumbai. On February 20, 2011, the respondent left her matrimonial home and moved in with her parents. She refused to live with the appellant until he split from his family and moved to a separate residence. She also wished to return to Canada, which the appellant refused owing to health concerns. The appellant filed a plea for restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, which was uncontested by the respondent. He eventually withdrew the petition and filed a divorce petition citing cruelty and desertion. The Family Court and the High Court both dismissed the divorce petition, concluding that the appellant had not established a case of cruelty or desertion. The appellant then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The hon’ble bench on justice B.R Gavi and Prashant Kumar Mishra of the Supreme court held that “to accord satisfaction as to whether the present is a fit case for exercise of power under Article 142 (1) of the Constitution of India to dissolve the marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown, we see that the parties are residing separately since February, 2011 and there has been no contact whatsoever between them during this long period of almost 13 years. The respondent-wife is not even responding to the summons issued by the courts. It seems she is no longer interested in continuing the marital relations with the appellant. Therefore, we have no hesitation in holding that the present is a case of irretrievable breakdown of marriage as there is no possibility of the couple staying together.  For the foregoing reasons, the appeal is allowed and we dissolve the marriage between the parties on the ground of irretrievable breakdown in exercise of powers under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India. Accordingly, the marriage between the parties solemnized on 05.01.2004 is dissolved by a decree of divorce. A decree to this effect be drawn accordingly.”

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Written by- Namitha Ramesh

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