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Temporary Reunion During Pendency Of Divorce Proceedings Will Not Defeat The Claim For Dissolution Of Marriage: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
23 Feb 2020 6:10 AM GMT
Temporary Reunion During Pendency Of Divorce Proceedings Will Not Defeat The Claim For Dissolution Of Marriage: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

"Act of cruelty once condoned could certainly revive and give rise to a cause of action for dissolution of marriage."

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The Kerala High Court has observed that the reunion of spouses for a temporary period during the pendency of the proceeding for divorce pursuant to settlement of matrimonial issues will not defeat the claim for dissolution of marriage on the ground of alleged condonation of cruelty nor will it bar continuance of the proceeding when their relationship is again estranged.

In a Matrimonial appeal, one of the contention raised before the High Court was that, during the pendency of the proceeding before the Family Court, the spouses lived together for a few months after settling the matrimonial issues at the intervention of the Lok Adalath and therefore in view of reunion, the husband was disentitled to pursue his case any further since his conduct amounted to condoning the alleged cruelties.

The bench comprising Justice AM Shaffique and Justice TV Anilkumar observed that alleged condonation can put an end to the proceeding only when the complaining spouse has led a normal and intimate life uninfluenced by the conduct of the offending spouse, in such a manner that the wronged spouse has pardoned and restored the offending spouse to the original status. It observed:

The reunion of spouses for a temporary period during the pendency of the proceeding for divorce pursuant to settlement of matrimonial issues will not defeat the claim for dissolution of marriage on the ground of alleged condonation of cruelty nor will it bar continuance of the proceeding when their relationship is again estranged. The alleged condonation can put an end to the proceeding only when the complaining spouse has led a normal and intimate life uninfluenced by the conduct of the offending spouse, in such a manner that the wronged spouse has pardoned and restored the offending spouse to the original status. Nothing of that sort happened in this case. The reunion lasted only for a temporary period and the spouses failed to carry on a normal and harmonious life.

The Court further observed that an act of cruelty once condoned could certainly revive and give rise to a cause of action for dissolution of marriage. It said:

Condonation of cruelty is a benevolent and generous act of an offended spouse forgiving the misdeeds of the offending spouse and restoring the latter to the original company. In every condonation there is an implied condition that the excused spouse will not repeat or commit matrimonial wrongs in future. No wrong is permanently wiped out by condonation; but is only hibernated. An act of cruelty once condoned could certainly revive and give rise to a cause of action for dissolution of marriage, when the offending spouse exploits and takes unfair advantage of the generosity or the benevolence shown by the wronged spouse and takes to matrimonial misdeeds over again. This principle of law could be gathered from the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Dr. N.G. Dastane v. Mrs. S. Dasane [AIR 1975 SC 1534] wherein Their Lordships in paragraph No.57 of the decision held that 'but condonation of a matrimonial offence is not to be likened to a full Presidential pardon under Art.72 of the Constitution which, once granted, wipes out the guilt beyond the possibility of revival.' 


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