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Supreme Court rules it can nullify marriages on basis of irretrievable breakdown

IndiaSupreme Court rules it can nullify marriages on basis of irretrievable breakdown

The Supreme Court says marriages can be dissolved on grounds of irretrievable breakdown subject to situations.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in its judgment on Monday ruled that the Supreme Court can dissolve a marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown by dispensing with the need for the waiting period as required under the marital laws.

“Article 142 must be considered in light of the fundamental rights. We have held that the period of six months can be dispensed with. It is possible for this Court to dissolve the marriage on irretrievable breakdown of marriage,” a five-judge Constitution bench, led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, in the judgment.

While dealing with Article 142 of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court also said that we have laid out the factors for this, specifically with regard to the maintenance and rights of the children.

“It (SC) can invoke special power granted to it under Article 142 of the constitution to grant a divorce in such cases to do complete justice,” the bench said. It also held that the Court under the power is empowered to complete justice.

Article 142 of the Indian Constitution deals with the enforcement of decrees (Order) and orders of the apex court to do “complete justice” in any matter pending before it. While reserving its verdict on September 29, last year, the five-judge constitution Bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, had said that social changes take a “little time” and sometimes it is easier to bring a law but difficult to persuade society to change with it.

The Apex Court also comprised Justices Sanjiv Khanna, A.S. Oka, Vikram Nath, and J.K. Maheshwari, as part of the five-judge Constitution Bench, which enunciated the judgment on a bunch of pleas today. The Top Court also recognized the significant role that families play in Indian marriages.

The Apex Court had in one of its hearings said, “We believe that another question which would require consideration would be whether the power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India is inhibited in any manner in a scenario where there is an irretrievable breakdown of marriage in the opinion of the court but one of the parties is not consenting to the terms.”

According to recent census data, the divorce rate in India is about 0.25% of the total married population, which is equal to about 1.36 million people. This figure is much lower than that of the US or European countries.

In the previous decade, only 7.40 marriages out of 1,000 marriages were annulled in India. India is officially considered to have one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, with only about 1% of all married couples ending their joint family life with a dissolution of marriage.

However, it’s significant to mention that divorce rates vary from state to state in India. For instance, the rate of divorce in urban cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru is more than 30%.

Why Are Divorce Rates Increasing in India?

There are many explanations for why divorce rates are increasing in India. One reason is that people’s attitudes towards marriage itself are changing, and as a result, they do not work hard at it as before.

Another reason is the pressures of modern life; today’s working environment has changed drastically. Women’s roles outside the home are expanding, which can lead to professional rivalry between spouses. Domestic violence, physical and mental abuse.  Women are getting more aware of their rights of how not to take violence and abuse and men may be wanting to move on, thus breaking away from their wives.  There is also blame on the Internet that spurred on breaking of marriages with spouses hardly having time for each other and dissatisfaction with partners.

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