Easily Entered Love Marriages Also Easily Result in Matrimonial Disputes: Allahabad HC sattaex.com

The Allahabad High Court, while dealing with an appeal in a divorce case recently, expressed views on love marriages, characterizing them as unions that are easily entered into, but also are prone to marital disputes.

“Easily entered marriages like love marriages are also easily resulting in matrimonial disputes between the two. No matter who is responsible for the same. The parties are not willing to continue such a relationship or at least one party starts living separately. These facts are clearly emerging from our experience, while dealing with such disputes,” noted the division bench of Justices Vivek Kumar Birla and Donadi Ramesh.

Discussing the grounds for divorce, the bench said that law must keep pace with the time.

“When the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in the year 1955, the manner in which the marriages were taking place and the sentiments and respect attached to such matrimonial ties were different and the manner in which marriages are taking place in the present days were unheard of in those days,” the bench said.

Therefore, the bench emphasised the necessity of amending the grounds for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act to align with contemporary situations.

“In view of this changing time and experience, the Courts cannot remain mute spectators to such ground realities of life. The Courts are answerable to the litigant seeking justice. Needless to say that the law must keep pace with the time,” the bench stated.

The Court highlighted that in case of Naveen Kohli Vs. Neelu Kohli (2006), the Union of India was strongly recommended by the Apex Court to seriously consider bringing an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to incorporate irretrievable breakdown of marriage as grounds for the grant of divorce.

“…even after expiry of about 18 years, nothing has been done in this regard. On the one hand, the law recognises desertion of a petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition as one of the grounds for grant of divorce, whereas on the other hand, it is not understandable as to why the ground of irretrievable breakdown is not being recognized as one of the grounds, when the parties are living separately for so many years and in some cases, for decades together,” the bench stressed.

The Court said that in so many cases, the matrimonial life between the parties is only namesake, whereas factually the marriage has become totally unworkable and emotionally dead, even if a respondent is insisting upon carrying on with such emotionally dead relationship.

“It is only for this reason recognizing ground realities of such dead relationship, it is being consistently felt by the Hon’ble Apex Court that continuance of such unworkable matrimonial ties is nothing but mental cruelty on the parties and at least on the petitioner, even when the divorce petition is being opposed by the other side,” the bench noted.

It opined that “irretrievable break down is an assessment of circumstances prevailing in lives of the parties to the marriage and if proved, would amount to mental cruelty”.

Therefore, the bench directed the Registrar (Compliance) to send a copy of the judgment to Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Government of India and Law Commission to consider the matter in view of the observations of the Apex Court in the case of Naveen Kohli and other judgments.

Further, regarding the case at hand, the bench noted that the petitioner, who got married in 2007 (the second marriage of both persons), faced issues, with the wife allegedly leaving six years prior to him filing for divorce in 2015, citing cruelty.

The Court said that since the marriage was totally unworkable and emotionally dead, it was irretrievably broken down and the case had to be construed as a case of ‘mental cruelty’ on the petitioner husband.

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