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Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

Shalini Kashyap ,
  10 July 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Family Court
Brief :
The Court found the wedding bond between the parties to be destroyed beyond repair. Public interest and interest of all concerned lie in the acknowledgment of this reality and to proclaim defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto.
Citation :
Appellant: Naveen Kohli Respondent: Neelu Kohli Citation: Appeal (civil) 812 of 2004.
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955- Case law-Naveen Kohli vs Neelu Kohli.
  • Bench: B.N. Agrawal, A.K. Mathur, Dalveer Bhandari

Facts:

  • The appealing party Naveen Kohli got hitched to the respondent Neetu Kohli on November 20th, 1975. Three children were born out of the wedlock.
  • Soon, the appealing party and the respondent fell out. Loads of allegations and counter-accusations were made by the appealing party and the respondent.
  • The Family Court directed cancellation of marriage between parties under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and guided the litigant to pay to the respondent Rupees 5 lakhs as her livelihood recompense.
  • Nonetheless, this direction of the Family Court, Kanpur City was excused on appeal by a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court. From that point, the issue was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Issues:

  • Whether decree of divorce should be granted in the instant case?

Contentions of the Appellant:

  • As indicated by the appealing party, the respondent is awful tempered and a lady of inconsiderate conduct.
  • After marriage, she began quarreling and getting into misbehaviour with the appealing party and his folks and at last, the appellant was constrained to leave the parental living arrangement and began to dwell in a rented premises from May 1994.
  • As per the version of the appealing party, the respondent in conspiracy with her folks got sufficient business and property moved in her name.
  • The appealing party claimed that in May 1994, when he alongside the respondent and their kids visited Bombay, he saw that the respondent was indulging in an indecent manner and found her in a compromising position with one Biswas Rout.
  • The appealing party endured extreme physical and mental torment.

Contentions of the Respondent:

  • The respondent in her argument had referenced that she had filed a FIR against the appealing party under Section 420/468 IPC at the Police Station, Kotwali.
  • In a similar articulation, the respondent had conceded that she had filed a FIR No.100/96 at the Police Station, Kohna under Section 379/323 IPC against the litigant.
  • The respondent had additionally filed a complaint against the appealing party and his mom under Sections 498A/323/504/506 IPC at Police Station, Kohna.
  • As per the respondent the appealing party had kept Smt. Shivangi with him as his concubine.

Background:

The Family Court after thoroughly going through the issue directed the cancellation of marriage between the parties under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act which was solemnized on 20.11.1975 and ordered the appealing party to pay Rs.5 lacs as her livelihood remittance. The applicant deposited the sum as ordered. The respondent feeling wronged by the said judgment filed First Appeal before the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court. Subsequent to hearing the parties the appeal was permitted and the order passed by the Family Court, Kanpur City seeking annulment of the marriage and divorce was dismissed. The appealing party not satisfied by the said judgment of the High Court had filed special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The Court granted special leave to appeal to the appellant.

Judgment:

As indicated by the findings of the Trial Court, the appellant was mentally, physically and financially harassed and tortured by the respondent. The Trial Court held that there is no cordiality left between the parties and there is no possibility of their living together. Thus, there was no other option left but to dissolve the marriage between the parties. Nonetheless, the High Court held that activities of the litigant added up to misconduct, un-condonable for the purpose of Section 13(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act. Consequently, the appeal was permitted and the judgment of the Trial Court was set aside.

The appealing party filed a Special Leave Petition under the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court saw that the petition for annulment of marriage was filed essentially on the ground of cruelty. To build up legal cruelty, it isn't important that physical violence should be present. Mental torture can be legal cruelty as well. The Court refered to Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi (1988 AIR 121), in which it was expressed that cruelty might be physical or mental, purposeful or inadvertent.

In the event that the aim to harm, harass or hurt could be surmised by the nature of the conduct or brutal act complained of, cruelty could be established. Cruelty for the purpose of Section 13(1)(a) is to be taken as conduct by one mate towards the other, which cause reasonable apprehension in the mind of the other that it isn't alright for her/him to proceed with the marital relationship with the another.

A persistent course of conduct incurring endless mental agony and torment may establish cruelty. However, each marital conduct, which may cause exasperation to the other, may not add up to cruelty. The unusual advance of conceding divorce is to be taken when only to clear up the insoluble wreck  the Court finds it in light of interest for both the parties.

The Court found the wedding bond between the parties to be destroyed beyond repair. Public interest and interest of all concerned lie in the acknowledgment of this reality and to proclaim defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto.

Appeal disposed of. Marriage between the parties was to be dissolved as per the arrangements of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Court prescribed the government to incorporate irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for awarding divorce.

 
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Published in Family Law
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