5 Sep 2023 10:42 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has made some striking observations with respect to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 not recognizing incompatibility of a married couple as a ground for divorce, leaving such couples to "suffer acrimonious relationship" with no exit."Unless the opposite party was shown to be at fault, whether it was for ‘Adultery’, ‘Cruelty’, ‘Desertion’ or other grounds...
The Delhi High Court has made some striking observations with respect to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 not recognizing incompatibility of a married couple as a ground for divorce, leaving such couples to "suffer acrimonious relationship" with no exit.
"Unless the opposite party was shown to be at fault, whether it was for ‘Adultery’, ‘Cruelty’, ‘Desertion’ or other grounds as specified under Section 13 of the Act, 1955, no divorce can be granted. With the passage of time, experience has shown that many a times, the marriages do not work because of incompatibility and temperamental differences, for which neither party can be blamed. However, since only Fault Theory prevails, these parties end up warring with each other for years to come only because they have no way of exiting this relationship" a division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed.
The bench added that since “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage” has not been introduced as a ground for divorce, Courts hands are tied and they cannot grant divorce decree unless the fault of the other spouse is shown.
The observations were made while dismissing a wife’s appeal challenging a family court order allowing her husband’s petition seeking divorce on the ground of “cruelty” under Section 13(1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The parties got married in 2006 and a child was born next year. However, she left the matrimonial home in 2008. The husband claimed that she left the house after quarrelling with him and that she was aggressive, quarrelsome and violent in nature towards him and his family members.
On the other hand, it was the wife’s case that she was harassed on account of dowry, was given merciless beatings and that she was thrown out of the matrimonial house. She also alleged that she was subjected to cruelty by the husband.
Rejecting the plea, the bench noted that the parties were living separately since December 2008, and that a divorce petition was withdrawn by the wife in 2011 because of the settlement between the parties, to which neither of them complied.
“Moreover, the matter was again settled with the intervention of the Counsellor in the proceedings under Section 125 CrPC on 24.12.2018, wherein the parties agreed to have a separate residence but again the settlement was not acted upon by both the parties. It is evident that the differences had become so deeply entrenched between the parties and they have drifted apart from where, they have no coming back from there,” the court said.
Furthermore, the bench observed that the period of separation of 15 years has gone by and the differences between the couple are irreconcilable.
The court observed that no incident of cruelty towards the wife by the husband was proved and that prolonged differences made the husband’s life bereft of peace and conjugal relationship, which is the bedrock of any matrimonial relationship.
“We find that in the present case as well, though the disputes emanating from disrespect to respondent and his family members, frequent quarrels resulting in various complaints may individually seen innocuous and day to day quibbles, but when they persist over a long period of time, it results in mental agony for which there is no solution,” the court said.
It added that the matrimonial relationship rest only on irritations and daily fighting, and that the said conduct of the wife became a source of cruelty towards the husband.
“We conclude that in the present case the parties are living separately for 15 years now; there is no chance of reconciliation between the parties and such long separation peppered which false allegations, police reports and criminal trial has become a source of mental cruelty and any insistence either to continue this relationship or modifying the Family Court’s order would only be inflicting further cruelty upon both the parties,” the court observed.
Case Title: Mamta v. Pradeep Kumar
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 790
Click Here To Read Order