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  • In N Rajendran vs. S Valli, the Hon'ble SC observed that consent of the parties is not necessary to dissolve a marriage under Article 142 of the Constitution based on irretrievable breakdown.
  • In this case, the HC overturned a couple's marriage dissolution ruling. The husband's petition for divorce based on cruelty was previously allowed by the Family Court. However, the Supreme Court bench stated that no evidence was presented to support a cruelty-based decree of dissolution of marriage. The court found that the couple lived apart for over 22 years, commencing on January 18, 2000. As neither party is willing to quit their marriage due to an irretrievable breakdown, the question was whether the parties' consent was required to decree the dissolution of marriage based on irreversible breakdown.
  • Regarding previous rulings, the court stated that the parties' consent is not required to proclaim a marriage dissolved. In R. Srinivas Kumar, the court noted that even if article 142 of the Indian constitution is applied, the marriage cannot be dissolved on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of marriage unless both parties’ consent. If both sides consent to a separation or divorce, they can petition the court for a divorce order by mutual consent. If one of the parties does not give consent, then Article 142 of the Indian Constitution must be invoked to ensure that both parties are treated fairly. However, the wife's financial interests must also be secured so that she does not have to suffer financially in the future and does not have to rely on others.
  • The court ruled the marriage dissolved, seeing that "Not even the smallest chance of a reunion between the appellant and the respondent exists for reasons wholly owing to the appellant's acts and for which the respondent cannot be faulted." The appellant and respondent's marriage is no longer alive. It is referred to as a point of no return. There is no possibility of the appellant and respondent forming a good relationship because the tie between the parties has been severed beyond repair. Thus, given the facts of this case, we would think that it would be in the interest of justice and doing complete justice to the parties that the court should pass a decree dissolving the marriage between the two parties.
  • Thus, the Hon’ble SC confirmed the HC decision but declined to award a decree of divorce based on cruelty. Instead, it proclaimed the marriage to be dissolved under Article 142 of the Constitution.
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