Published on: September 14, 2021, at 15:54
The Supreme Court granted a divorce petition against a spouse on Monday, ruling that successive lawsuits filed by a wife can amount to “cruelty” under the Hindu Marriage Act.
In a case, a Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy sought special power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant a divorce on the grounds of the irrevocable breakdown of marriage and cruelty, and to file several cases in the courts against her husband in light of the wife’s conduct.
The court observed that the law has not been amended despite the recommendations of the Law Commission to recognize irrevocable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce and the matter is also pending in the Apex Court. However, it is said that it would not serve any purpose of keeping the matter pending and would dissolve the marriage by using its exclusive power to do justice.
As per the background of the case, the wife refused to live with her husband on the first day of marriage. Thereafter the husband issued a notice U/S 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty. Later, the divorce petition was allowed by the Trial Court on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The appellate court, later allowed the petition filed by the wife for restoration of conjugal rights, quashed the decree of divorce. After that, an appeal was filed by the husband for restoring the decree of divorce. The wife filed a review petition on the ground, inter alia, that it was not within the jurisdiction of the High Court or the lower court to grant a decree of divorce on the ground of irrevocable breakdown of the marriage. The Court however granted the divorce after 5 years and the husband remarried within a week.
Further, the Court noted that after filing the divorce petition, the wife had filed multiple complaints against her husband.
The bench said that the Trial Court and the High Court did not find sufficient material to conclude that the husband was entitled to divorce on the ground of cruelty and that the conduct of the wife should be inquired into during the pendency of the case. The Court said that by filing those complaints the wife not only resorted to litigation but also threatened him publicly in his office.
The Family Court order was set aside by the Madras HC and the husband approached the Apex Court, which ended the two-decade trial during which the two parties were living separately.