'Marriages made in heaven are broken on earth'

'Marriages made in heaven are broken on earth'

“Marriages are said to be made in heaven. They are broken on earth,” the Supreme Court has quoted an oft-repeated statement, to dissolve a bitter matrimonial alliance of a couple. It said continuity of their marriage was not only fruitless but was causing further emotional trauma and disturbance.

The court used its unique power to end the marriage, despite opposition by the woman, saying this would allow them to go their own way with a hope for a better life, if not together, separately, after having spent two decades battling each other.

“No doubt there is no consent of the wife. But there is also, in real terms, no willingness of the parties to live together. There are only bitter memories and angst against each other,” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph said.

The bench said this angst has got extended in the case of the woman to somehow not permit the man to get a decree of divorce and “live his life”, forgetting that both would be able to live their lives in a better manner, separately, as they suffered from an obsession with legal proceedings.

The bench relied upon Article 142 of the Constitution which provides a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” where law or statute may not provide a remedy, to put a quietus to the dispute.

The court also noted, “It is no doubt that the divorce legislations in India are based on the ‘fault theory’, i.e., no party should take advantage of his or her own fault, and that the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, as yet, has not been inserted in the divorce law, despite a debate on this aspect by the Law Commission in two reports.”

Here, the court allowed plea by a man from Nawanshahr against a judgement by the Punjab and Haryana HC, overturning the decree of divorce granted by the district court, saying, the marriage was a dead letter.

Having noted that all endeavors to resolve differences failed and 16 years separation made them bitter and cynical, the bench asked, “On the ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, if this is not a fit case to grant a divorce, what would be a fit case!”