Can ’emotionally dead’ marriage be dissolved in exercise of Art. 142 of Constitution: Read Supreme Court’s opinion

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai, JJ., dissolved a marriage while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India as the marriage was emotionally dead.

Appellant had married respondent and registered the same under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Thereafter the marriage was solemnized under Hindu rites and customs.

Appellant filed a suit for dissolution of marriage alleging cruelty and desertion by the respondent, but the suit was dismissed by the District Judge and further the Calcutta High Court upheld the Trial Court’s decision.

Respondent accused the appellant of adultery and excessive consumption of alcohol.

Senior Counsel, Nikhil Nayyar for the appellant submitted that appellant and respondent have been living separately for more than 16 years and for all practical purposes the marriage is dead.

Supreme Court requested Mr Ranjan Mukherjee to assist this Court as Amicus Curiae on behalf of the respondent as she did not engage an Advocate.

Amicus informed the Court that the respondent intended to continue to live with the appellant. Mr Mukherjee also brought to Court’s notice that the respondent has to take care of her son who is suffering from serious ailments.

This Court in Munish Kakkar v. Nidhi Kakkar, (2020) 14 SCC 657, had put an end to the bitter matrimonial dispute which lingered on for two decades between the parties.

In Court’s opinion, the marriage between the parties was emotionally dead and there was no point in persuading them to live together anymore.

Hence, the present matter was found fit for exercise of jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India and the marriage was dissolved.

In light of the submission of Mr Mukherjee, Court directed the appellant to pay Rs 25 lakhs to the respondent and the maintenance petition filed by respondent shall be withdrawn once the payment of the said amount is made.

In view of the above appeal was disposed of.[Subhranshu Sarkar v. Indrani Sarkar (Nee Das), 2021 SCC OnLine SC 720, decided on 14-09-2021]

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