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Irretrievable breakdown of Marriage
It cannot be said in case a marriage is found to have been broken down
to an extent that it was beyond all rapprochement or reconciliation,
then whether any ground as laid down by law exists or not the court
ought to hold or can take circumstances alone, as a ground for
dissolving the marriage. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is not
contemplated as a ground for dissolution of marriage s.13 of the Hindu
Marriage Act and as such cannot by itself be taken as ground for decree
for dissolution of marriage.
In spite of recommendations of the Law Commission in its 1st Report, the Legislature did not consider it advisable to introduce irretrievable breakdown of marriage as one of the grounds for a decree of divorce. In Saroj Rani vs Sudarshan Kumar Chadha the Supreme Court has first laid down in upholding a decree of divorce following a consent decree for restitution of conjugal rights that it is evident that for whatever be the reasons this marriage has broken down and the parties can no longer live together as husband and wife, if such is the situation it is better to close the chapter
This view of the Supreme Court was referred to in Amarendra N. Chatterjee v Smt. Kalpana Chatterjee, in the context of different sets of facts and it has been held that the Hindu Marriage Act does not contain any provision for dissolution of marriage by a decree on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage and as such the court cannot grant a decree on that ground alone. In Apurba Mohan Ghosh vs Manashi Ghosh, it has been held that in view of the provisions of s. 23 of the Act, the court would grant relief only when any of the statutory grounds mentioned in the Act is found to exist.
In V. Bhagat v D. Bhagat it has been held that irretrievable break-down of the marriage is not a ground by itself for a decree of divorce. While scrutinising the evidence on record it may be relevant to determine whether the ground alleged is made out.
If the theory of irretrievable breakdown of marriage is introduced in marriage law of India, there may be increase in the number of divorce cases, but that wiII not destroy the institution of marriage nor wiIl it affect the quality of family life.
The Supreme Court in Ms. Jorden Diengdeh v S.S. Chopra, has made judicial recommendation for a complete reform of law of marriage by introducing inter alia irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. The Law Commission in its 71st Report on the Hindu Marriages Act 1955 has made the following recommendation on "Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage as a Ground of Divorce."
Moreover, the essence of marriage is a sharing of common life, a sharing of all the happiness that life has to offer and all the misery that has to be faced in Life, an experience of the joy that comes from enjoying in common things of the matter and of the spirit and from showering love and affection on one's offspring. Living together is a symbol of such sharing in all its aspects. Living apart is a symbol indicating the negation of such sharing. It is indicative of a disruption of the essence of marriage 'breakdown' and if it continues for a fairly long period, it would indicate destruction of the essence of marriage-'irretrievable breakdown'."
In spite of this valuable recommendation of the Law Commission and direction of the Supreme Court no step has yet been taken by Parliament in this direction.
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