Supreme Court uses extraordinary powers to grant divorce

“Irretrievable breakdown of marriage” is yet to be recognised by the divorce law.

Updated - December 25, 2019 01:11 am IST

Published - December 24, 2019 03:25 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Marriages are said to be made in heaven and broken on earth, the Supreme Court said while using its extraordinary powers to do “complete justice” and grant divorce to a couple whose marriage has irretrievably broken down to the state of a “dead letter”.

A Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph said the ground of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” was yet to be recognised by the divorce law. Hence the court had to resort to its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to dissolve irreparable marriages. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage had remained outside the statutes despite two reports by the Law Commission of India to the government recommending its insertion .

In this case, the Bench, in a recent judgment, realised that the relationship had deteriorated to an extent that neither saw good in the other. Their days were filled with rancour for each other. No good would come of a marriage filled with bitter memories.

The court said it could, for the time being, employ its special powers under Article 142, to dissolve marriages which were “totally unworkable, emotionally dead, beyond salvage and has broken down irretrievably”.

Continuity of such a marriage was fruitless, the court said.

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