Love marriages 'easily entered', lead to marital dispute: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court made the remark while stressing the need to amend the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 to address modern situations and consider the demand to include irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground to grant divorce.
Love marriages 'easily entered', lead to marital dispute: Allahabad High Court
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

While granting divorce to a man, the Allahabad High Court highlighted the need to amend the grounds of divorce under the Hindu Marriage act as per modern situations. It also termed love marriages as "easily entered", adding that such relationships result in matrimonial disputes, Bar and Bench reported.

The division bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Birla and Justice Donadi Ramesh made the remark, and particularly urged the Indian government to amend the Hindu Marriage Act in view of the Supreme Court's observations in 2006 for including irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground to grant divorce.

During the hearing, the bench observed that the kinds of sentiments and respect attached to matrimonial ties were different when the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in 1955 and the manner in which marriages take place now was "unheard of in those days".

The court cited "education, financial independence, breaking of caste barriers, modernisation, effect of western culture" as the reasons for such changes. It further said that society is becoming more and more open and independent in nature, leading to less requirement for emotional support.

"Whether it is a love marriage or is an arranged marriage, all such factors do affect the relationship between the two. However, needless to say that to every action, there is equal reaction. Easily entered marriages like love marriages are also easily resulting in matrimonial dispute between the two. No matter, who is responsible for the same. The parties are not willing to continue such relationship or at least one party starts living separately," the High Court noted.

The bench made the observations while hearing an appeal by a doctor against a Family Court's refusal to grant him divorce from his wife, who is also a senior doctor. The man served in the Indian Army for 30 years.

The wife had allegedly deserted her husband for six years before he filed for divorce in 2015. He had sought the same on grounds of cruelty as well. It was the couple's second marriage, and they got married in 2017.

The Family Court, however, did not accept the husband's case, leading him to file an appeal before the Allahabad High Court in 2019. As the wife did not appear in the case, it was proceeded ex parte.

The High Court considered the submissions and noted that irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been recognised as a ground for divorce by the Supreme Court for long. For this, the lower court mentioned the 2006 Naveen Kohli Vs. Neelu Kohli case.

The Allahabad High Court highlighted that despite it being 18 years, nothing in regard to considering irretrievable breakdown as ground for divorce has been done.

"To our mind, 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," the bench said.

The court said that since the wife has been staying away from the husband for several years, it clearly shows her disinterest in continuing the matrimonial life. It further said that the case certainly has to be seen as one of "mental cruelty" to the husband, as the marriage has become completely unworkable and emotionally dead.

"On that note, divorce can be granted," the bench said, while allowing the husband's appeal and granting a decree of divorce to him.

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Love marriages 'easily entered', lead to marital dispute: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court also directed the registrar (compliance) to send a copy of the judgment to Law Ministry's secretary for consideration of the matter in view of the Supreme Court's 2006 observations in Naveen Kohli Vs. Neelu Kohli case.

Source: India Today

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