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When a marriage has literally become a ‘deadwood’, divorce is the only viable option before the court

Shalini Kashyap ,
  11 July 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Cuttack Family Court
Brief :
The facts and circumstances of the case show that recovery is impossible. There is no doubt that the applicants and the accused have lived separately for the past 14 years. It is also true that a good part of the lives of both sides were involved in this case. As the court indicated, there was no end in sight. During the trial, women's assertion seemed unrealistic. It is also a matter of record that dislike for each other was burning hot.
Citation :
Petitioner: Durga Prasanna Tripathy Respondent: Arundhati Tripathy Citation: Appeal (civil) 5184 of 2005
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955- Case law-  Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage- Durga Prasanna Tripathy vs Arundhati Tripathy
  • Bench: Ruma Pal and Dr. AR. Lakshmanan

Facts:

  • Durga Prasana from the village and Arundhati Tripati from the city with a government job got married in March 1991 for a lasting and happy partnership in life.
  • After only a period of seven months, the gap between them became a monster due to Arundhati’s sheer irresistibility against giving up his government.
  • Durga Prasana rejected the wife's plea to leave  the village and join the city, where she could continue her job.
  • The wife took a revenge by deserting him. She landed back at her parents’ home in the city and resumed government service.
  • Since then, all her husband’s convictions to bring Arundhati to the village failed, and she even refused to join him in the rituals to be together to mark the demise of his father. In addition, she refused to go to sasural to participate in the marriage of his younger brother.
  • The situation lasted seven years without any qualitative changes, and, relying on “desertion” and “cruelty” on wife's side, the husband turned to the Family Court with a request to divorce under Section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Issues:

Whether the dissolution of such a marriage where it is found that the marriage between the parties has irretrievably broken down and has been rendered a dead wood, the only viable solution before the court?

Contentions of the Appellant:

  • After the marriage, the defendant wife tried to  convince the appellant to live in Bhubaneswar, her place of work and her parent's place as well.
  • It was alleged that the wife abused her husband and in-laws.
  • She left the appellant on 22 October 1991 and remained at her father's house.
  • The husband along with his parents tried to take the wife to the family home, but all attempts were unsuccessful.
  • Then, on 26 May 1996, the appellant's mother went to bring the respondent, for the marriage ceremony of the appellant's younger brother, but the respondent misbehaved and insulted her mother-in-law.

Contentions of the Respondent:

  • The wife denied the allegations.
  • Her statement also says that as a result of the cruelty of her mother in law and brother-in-law, she returned to his parents' house.
  • She also said that she was ready to live separately from her mother-in-law and brother-in-law. Therefore, prayed for dismissal of the proceedings.

Background:

The Cuttack Family Court ruled divorce in support of the petitioner's claim in accordance with Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Unhappy with the decision of the family court, the defendant filed a civil suit with the High Court of Orissa in accordance with Section 19 of the Family Court Act 1984. High Court, in it's decision dated December 23, 2003, quashed the divorce decision made by the family court and upheld the defendant's appeal holding that the appellant had failed to prove cruelty and desertion as against the respondent.The applicant appealed against the decision of the High Court and preferred to apply for special leave petition.

Judgment:

The facts and circumstances of the case show that recovery is impossible. There is no doubt that the applicants and the accused have lived separately for the past 14 years. It is also true that a good part of the lives of both sides were involved in this case. As the court indicated, there was no end in sight. During the trial, women's assertion seemed unrealistic. It is also a matter of record that dislike for each other was burning hot.

The court ruled that:  Marriages are made in heaven. Both parties have crossed the point of no return. A workable solution is certainly not possible. Parties cannot at this stage reconcile themselves and live together forgetting their past as a bad dream. We, therefore, have no other option except to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court and affirming the order of the Family Court granting decree for divorce.

Given the status of the parties and the economic situation of the applicant who is unemployed, and facing criminal prosecution and also considering the status of the wife, the court asked the appellant to pay a sum of Rs 1 lakh as alimony to the respondent.

 
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Published in Family Law
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