//SC does its bit to save marriages

SC does its bit to save marriages


NEW DELHI: Courts, increasingly being called upon to decide matrimonial disputes and divorce petitions, are obliged not to untie the nuptial knot and should make all efforts to keep the marriage going, the Supreme Court has said, issuing an omnibus advisory in the form of a ruling.

However, the apex court reiterated its earlier ruling that whenever courts feel that a marriage has broken down irretrievably, it would then be in the best interest of the partners to go their own ways and not prolong their agony through multiple litigation.

The judgment came from a Bench comprising Justices G P Mathur and Dalveer Bhandari, which exercised its rarely resorted power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant divorce to Sanghamitra Ghosh, who had moved the apex court seeking transfer of a matrimonial case initiated by her husband in a town in West Bengal to Bangalore, her workplace.

The court had adjourned hearing on her petition from time to time to explore all options for reconciliation. When these efforts did not bear fruit, the court granted divorce by mutual consent with the estranged husband paying Rs 10 lakh to Sanghamitra as full and final settlement of all claims. The court also directed closure of all cases filed by both parties at various places.

The effort to keep the marriage on should be a priority with the courts, it said. "It is indeed the obligation of the court and all concerned that the marriage status should, as far as possible, as long as possible and whenever possible, be maintained," stated Justice Bhandari, writing the judgment.

However, "when the marriage is totally dead, in that event, nothing is gained by trying to keep the parties tied to a marriage which in fact has ceased to exist", he said.