Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

At the outset, it is required to be noted and does not seem to be in dispute that since last 22 years both the Appellant-Husband and the Respondent­-Wife are residing separately. It also appears that all efforts to continue the marriage have failed and there is no possibility of re-­union because of the strained relations. Thus, it appears that marriage between the Appellant­-Husband and the Respondent-­Wife has irretrievably broken down.

In the case of Hitesh Bhatnagar, (2011) 5 SCC 234 it is noted by this Court that Courts can dissolve a marriage as irretrievably broken down only when it is impossible to save the marriage and all efforts are made in that regard and when the Court is convinced beyond any doubt that there is actually no chance of the marriage surviving and it is broken beyond repair. This Court in Sukhendu Das, (2017) 9 SCC 632 has directed to dissolve the marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, in exercise of powers under Article 142. This Court, in a series of Judgments, has exercised its inherent powers under Article 142 for dissolution of a marriage where the Court finds that the marriage is totally unworkable, emotionally dead, beyond salvage and has broken down irretrievably, even if the facts of the case do not provide a ground in law on which the divorce could be granted.

Appellant-Husband and the Respondent­-Wife have been living separately for more than 22 years and it will not be possible for the parties to live together. Therefore, we are of the opinion that while protecting the interest of the Respondent­-Wife to compensate her by way of lump sum permanent alimony, this is a fit case to exercise the powers under Article 142 to dissolve the marriage between the parties. The marriage between the Appellant-Husband and the Respondent­-Wife is ordered to be dissolved in exercise of powers under Article 142 on the condition and as agreed, the Appellant­-Husband shall pay to the Respondent-Wife a lump sum permanent alimony, quantified at Rs. 20,00,000/­- (Rupees Twenty Lakhs) to be paid directly to the Respondent­-Wife by way of demand draft within a period of 8 weeks from today.”

Hon’ble Justice M.R. Shah, R. Srinivas Kumar v. R. Shametha, [Civil Appeal No. 4696 of 2013].