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IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF MARRIAGE CAN NOT BE A GROUND FOR DIVORCE – DELHI HC

Team SoOLEGAL 9 Jul 2019 2:00pm

IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF MARRIAGE CAN NOT BE A GROUND FOR DIVORCE – DELHI HC

On July 9, 2019, the Delhi High Court held that the irretrievable breakdown of marriage can’t be the sole ground for divorce, it can only be considered if cruelty is there in the facts and circumstances.

The petition was filed by the respondent for challenging the decree of divorce passed by the Family Court. The appellant and respondent were married as per Hindu rites since 1989, have two issues but they are living separately due to some difference from 2008. The Husband filed the petition under section 13(1)(ia) of the Act for dissolution of marriage on the basis of the ‘cruelty’. The respondent pleaded that the respondent was never interested in living with her in-laws so they got separated but even after that she was not happy and used to harass appellant by mocking him about his low educational qualifications and also used to beat respondent with the help of her brother for the transferring of property. These incidences led him into depression and he filed a petition of divorce.

The appellant while contesting the petitioner, submits that her in-laws never treated her properly and were not satisfied with the stridhan and have also been bearing physical abuse for insufficient dowry and even her husband did not use to support her financially. She also submits that appellant and her children have been through a lot and that have mentally affected them giving some major traumas due to the behavior shown by the petitioner and said that for three years her brother have taken care of them. She also alleged that the petition before the Family Court was a reply to her case against the respondent under the Domestic Violence Act 2005.

The Family Court after examining all the issues ruled out in favor of the respondent and observes that he was deprived of household or emotional support from the petitioner and on the point of his not supporting the wife financially is also valid as the husband did not earn quite good. While cross examining the appellant has alleged that respondent had extra marital affair with the sister-in-law and in that matter Court sum it up that these types of allegations lead to mental cruelty. Also the Court submits that both of them were living separately since 2008 so the marriage is considered to be dead and to let it continue will be the misrepresentation of justice. While concluding it the Court have given reference to many cases where cruelty was merged with the irretrievable breakdown of marriage to pass decree of divorce.

Justice G.S. Sistani and  Justice Jyoti Singh comprised the Delhi High Court bench for this petition and they noticed that there non-fulfillment of duties were there from both sides of the parties and the respondent was also not able to prove any of his allegations due to which decree of divorce cannot be sustained. The Family Court judgment was majorly questioned as there were no evidence in order to prove cruelty by appellant. The Bench also observed that the Family Court has also miscalculated the allegations of petitioners of having extra marital affair and also her response were also taken out of context since her answers actually involved sister-in-law in acts of abuse against her in the same manner as of her husband. The Bench, however added that her submissions in cross examination and concluding them as mental cruelty are considered to be inaccurate by the Bench. Furthermore, the Bench added that all the other allegations of not cooking food and not providing financial support are just the normal “wear and tear” of every married life.

Additionally, Bench also observed that in order to dissolve marriages beyond repair on the basis of the judgments added by the Family Court all those conditions which are required for dissolution were absent in the present case. And Bench held that in any case irretrievable breakdown of marriage cannot be the sole ground of divorce and it can only be considered if the cruelty part should also be mended together. So as the cruelty ground is not proved so decree of divorce can’t be passed only on account of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

The appeal was allowed and the order of Family Court was set aside.

Tagged: delhihighcourt   divorce   ground   hindumarriageactJusticeG.S.Sistani   JusticeJyotiSingh  
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