SC: We Do not Operate Under Western System Where You May Get Married Today & Get Divorced Tomorrow; Marriage is Not Casual Thing

Supreme Court Law Insider

Bhuvana Marni

Published on: October 14, 2022 at 23:13 IST

On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard a dramatic turnabout in a transfer petition that a woman had filed with the Top Court to save her marriage.

In addition to hearing some insightful comments about marriage and how one shouldn’t demand the impossible from one’s partners given by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, the hearing also witnessed a wide spectrum of exaggerated claims made by the estranged husband-wife duo.

The husband attempted to dismiss the transfer petition, claiming that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, even though the wife informed the Bench that she was eager to give her marriage another go.

The pair was only together for 40 days before deciding to live apart for over two years, the husband said. “We are nothing but strangers now.”

During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner told the court that, She is willing to give the marriage one more try.”

“We are more than happy to hear this. But both parties should want to save the marriage. We (the Court) can’t save the marriage”, the Bench replied.

The Bench stated this at the beginning of the hearing because it believed that both parties desired to split ways. “Why force two young people who have their life ahead of them to something that is not working out?”

The husband claimed that his marriage was a “honey trap” and that his wife was just interested in his money during his virtually appeared before the Court, “The motivator here was always money.” She had requested a settlement of Rs 2 crore, he informed the court.

Narrating her part of the story, the wife submitted that she had been working in Canada and came to India during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“He has ruined my life and my career”, she said.

After hearing the submissions for a while, Justice Kaul remarked, “What to do when two good people cannot get along?” The Court further said that it cannot get along?” The Court further said that it can’t force two people to stay together.

As the hearing progressed, the husband continued with his submissions. “Your Honour, I live with my parents and I believe in the virtues of taking care of elders in their old age. And she’s getting a Canadian perspective saying that we should not live with our parents. This is not part of my value system and culture.”

But the Bench had a different view.

“See, ultimately looking after your parents is one thing. Either you should not get married and only look after your parents, Or, you should get married in a scenario where the woman is not working and will look after your parents. You marry somebody who is living in Canada, you ask her to wind up everything and come here, how is it possible……?”

Further, the Bench remarked that this was not a case where the powers under Article 142 could be used.

“Not a case where parties have lived separately, where marriage has failed and we can exercise powers under Article 142. This is not a case where we can suo-moto exercise 142. Very difficult to record satisfaction that there’s a total breakdown of marriage unless both parties say there’s a breakdown of the marriage.”

After going through the affidavits filed and various arguments by the parties, the Court recorded that all allegations appeared to be “silly” in nature.

“Actually, from both sides, if I may use the word “silly”, there are some differences, but not even reached a stage of breakdown in marriage. And marriage is not such a casual thing. We are not under a western system where you say, you marry today and divorce tomorrow”

“We can’t impose those methods here…Both parties have not reached a stage where there’s nothing left in the marriage. I honestly don’t believe that a try has been made.”

“If both parties want to separate, if they wanted to adopt a western philosophy, we would have allowed it. But it can’t be one-way,” the Bench said while urging the couple to go for private mediation proceedings.

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