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Report No. 217

1.2 Irretrievable breakdown of marriage.- The foundation of a sound marriage is tolerance, adjustment and respecting one another. Tolerance to each other's fault to a certain bearable extent has to be inherent in every marriage. Petty quibbles, trifling differences should not be exaggerated and magnified to destroy what is said to have been made in heaven.

All quarrels must be weighed from that point of view in determining what constitutes cruelty in each particular case and always keeping in view the physical and mental conditions of the parties, their character and social status. A too technical and hypersensitive approach would be counter-productive to the institution of marriage. The Courts do not have to deal with ideal husbands and ideal wives. It has to deal with particular man and woman before it.1

1. Mayne's Treatise on Hindu Law & Usage (16th Ed.) Revised by Justice Ranganath Misra (New Delhi: Bharat Law House, 2008), page 292.

1.3 In Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli, AIR 2006 SC 1675, the Supreme Court recommended to the Union of India to seriously consider bringing an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to incorporate irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce in the following words:

"Before we part with this case, on the consideration of the totality of facts, this Court would like to recommend the Union of India to seriously consider bringing an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to incorporate irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for the grant of divorce. A copy of this judgment be sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Government of India for taking appropriate steps" AIR 2006 SC 1675, para 96.

1.4 Earlier, in Ms. Jorden Diengdeh v. S.S. Chopra, AIR 1985 SC 935, the Supreme Court observed:

"It appears to be necessary to introduce irretrievable breakdown of marriage and mutual consent as grounds of divorce in all cases. We suggest that the time has come for the intervention of the legislature in those matters to provide for a uniform code of marriage and divorce and to provide by law for a way out of the unhappy situation in which couples like the present have found themselves."1

1. AIR 1985 SC 935, para 7.

1.5 It is pertinent to notice that the Law Commission of India has already submitted a very comprehensive 71st Report on irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground of divorce. The matter had been taken up by the Commission as a result of a reference made by the Government of India. The Law Commission under the Chairmanship of Shri Justice H. R. Khanna presented its Report on April 7, 1978. The Report considered the suggestion and analyzed the same in extenso.

Before embarking upon further action on the suggestion that irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be made as a ground for divorce, the Law Commission considered it appropriate to invite views on the matter by issuing a brief questionnaire. The Commission in its 71st Report have accepted in principle irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground of divorce and also examined the question as to how exactly to incorporate it into the Act and also further examined the question whether the introduction of such a ground should be coupled with any safeguards.

The Commission also in Chapter II of the said Report considered present law under the Hindu Marriage Act, merits and demerits of the theory of irretrievable breakdown of marriage in Chapter IV and retention of other grounds of divorce in Chapter V. In Chapter VI the Commission also considered the requirement of living apart and also suggested many safeguards like welfare of children, hardship and recommended amendments to Sections 21A, 23(1)(a) and also recommended insertion of new sections 13C, 13D and 13E.

1.6 In the light of the above, the Law Commission suo motu took up the study on the subject.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage another Ground for Divorce Back

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