Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Can’t use ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ to fault spouse

Can’t use ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ to fault spouse

Published: Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010, 0:39 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Even as the government is anxious to make “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” a ground for divorce, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that if a spouse, by his or her conduct, brings marriage to a point of breakdown, s/he can’t be allowed to seek divorce on this ground.

“That would simply mean giving someone benefit of his or her own misdeeds,” justices B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam said while rejecting a husband’s appeal against a Madhya Pradesh high court order rejecting his claim for divorce.

SC found that Neelam Kumar couldn’t prove his case against wife Dayarani for divorce under section 13(1) (IA) of the Hindu Marriage Act and set aside the family court’s decree granting him divorce.

The issueless couple married on December 7, 1986, and lived together first at Ankleshwar and later in Vadodara. Kumar alleged that after 8-9 months of their marriage, Dayarani became aggressive and started treating him and his family in a cruel manner.

He tried to make adjustments in the hope that she would correct herself, but when it became impossible to carry on, he filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on grounds of cruelty. Kumar listed many other allegations against Dayarani, including making a suicide attempt, throwing tantrums and refusing to live with his family.

Dayarani refuted the charges and said she was in a job before marriage and had a clear understanding with Kumar that she would be allowed to continue. But he changed his mind and demanded she quit the job. Her refusal seemed to hurt his pride and he finally filed for divorce.


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