Irretrievable breakdown of marriage case
Here is a case that I have been working on for a moot court, I would really appreciate some help in constructing arguments on Respondent side (Ranee) only.
Ranee got married with Manish on 16th January 2000according to Hindu rites and ceremonies in the presenceof relatives. Soon after the marriage there were temperamental differences and clashes between the parties.Ranee did not stay for more than five months in the matrimonial home. She left the matrimonial home when she was three months pregnant and gave birth to son in her parental home. Manish visited her in the hospital at the time of the birth of their son but she refused to let him see the child and did not accept the sweets and presents he took.
After staying apart for six years Manish filed the case in the District Court seeking divorce on the ground of desertion and cruelty under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and irretrievable breakdown of marriage. He pleaded that his marriage was solemnized at an early age without his consent and at the persuasion of parents. In reply to the petition,Ranee stated that Manish’s family members had been abusive to her due to cultural differences between her and them. She was a well-educated girl brought up in a family with modern values; while Manish’s family was very conservative. She bore with the abuse for five months and things crossed the limit when his family members beat her up and his brother kicked her in the stomach. It was on that day that she left her matrimonial home despite being three months pregnant. It is Manish who is guilty of desertion and cruelty.
The District Court found in favour of Ranee and held that Manish was guilty of desertion and cruelty. It refused to consider the plea of irretrievable breakdown of marriage as no such ground existed in the Hindu Marriage Act. In addition, the District Court said that Manish’s plea could not be entertained as he was the wrong doer.
Manish appealed against the non granting of divorce by the District Court to the High Court. He took the plea that both the parties to the marriage are living separately for the last ten years and there was no use in keeping such marriage intact. He pleaded that divorce be granted on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Manish argued that in recent years Courts have exercised their discretion in many cases to dissolve the marriage on the ground ofirretrievable breakdown of marriage. On this ground, it was not necessary for the Court to go into the question of which party was at fault for granting the decree of divorce. Only thing that was needed to be proved before the court wasthat relations between the husband and wife had reached such a breaking point that there was no possibility of reconciliation.
Ranee took the plea that under the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 divorce could not be granted on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. She also pleaded that divorce would cause hardship to her and her son and it was the principle of natural justice that one should not be allowed to take advantage of one’s own wrong.
The High Court upheld the decision of the District Court and held that the law relating to grant of divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage was not settled.
Manish appealed to the Supreme Court with the permission of the High Court.
The case is listed for arguments before the division bench of the Supreme Court.