Divorce granted on the ground of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage by Supreme Court

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In the matter of Munish Kakkar v. Nidhi Kakkar, a two-judge bench of Supreme Court justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph dissolved the marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by invoking its constitutional power under Article 142. In the case before the SC, the couple had been living separately for the last 22 years.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage is not a ground of divorce in India

The Supreme Court has observed that the Law Commission, in its reports in 1978 and 2009, recommended the Center to take “immediate action” to amend the law with regard to “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” where a “wedlock became a deadlock” but the Center has failed to implement the recommendation for a long time. Due to this reason, the Supreme Court has in a series of judgments by invoking its inherent power under Article 142 granted divorce on this ground though not provided under existing law.  In the words of Supreme Court, this power can be invoked, “in rare cases, in view of the absence of legislation in this behalf, where it is found that marriage is totally unworkable, emotionally dead, beyond salvage and has broken down irretrievably.”

Finally, the marriage was dissolved by granting permanent alimony to the respondent-wife with a monthly allowance.

Read the judgment here Munish Kakkar vs Nidhi Kakkar on 17 December, 2019

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