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Case title

Sivasankaran Vs Santhimeenal

Key takeaways

  • • This case was heard by the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy.
  • • After the divorce decree, repeatedly filing of false case and complaints against husband shall be considered as cruelty.
  • • Under Article 142 of Constitution of India, the Supreme Court has been given the power to pass any such order which can do complete justice in the case pending before it.

Case Background

  • • The respondent (wife) left the appellant (husband) on the first day of marriage itself. The marriage was never consummated.
  • • The appellant filed a petition seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty under section 13 (1)(i-a) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  • • Surprisingly the respondent then filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights, claiming that the appellant’s family demanded dowry and as she was not able to do so, the appellant’s brother took him away from her and that the appellant denied to cohabit with her.
  • • After almost 5 years, the decree of divorce was granted by the trial court under the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
  • • The appellant got married the second time after the divorce decree.
  • • The appellate court set aside the decree of the trial court and allowed the petition of respondent for restitution of conjugal rights.
  • • The High Court in the second appeal restored the decree of divorce given by the trial court.
  • • Then the respondent filed a review petition inter alia on the grounds that it was not under the jurisdiction of the trial court and the High Court to pass the order of divorce. The review petition was allowed.

Supreme Court findings

  • • The court observed that the respondent has done many things which can amount to mental cruelty after the first divorce petition was filed in the trial court. She filed multiple cases in court, approached the High Court to take disciplinary action against her husband who worked as assistant professor, she reached the college authorities to take disciplinary action against appellant, she tried to find out about appellant’s remarriage, she lodged criminal complaint against appellant under section 494 of Indian Penal Code, she also filed a complaint to appellants boss seeking his removal from the job.
  • • The court observed that these continuing acts of the respondent would amount to cruelty even if this issue did not arise before the petition was filed.
  • • The court stated that both the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage and the ground of cruelty shall be in favour to grant divorce decree in the appellant’s favour.
  • • The divorce decree was passed by the court not only while exercising the power of Article 142 of Constitution of India on account of irretrievable breakdown of marriage but also on ground of cruelty under section 13 (1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Hope you find the snippet informative.

1) What are your views on Article 142 of Indian Constitution?
2) Should the appellant file a defamation case against the respondent?

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