Report No. 71
1.2. Irretrievable breakdown.-
Irretrievable breakdown of marriage is now considered, in the laws of a number of countries, a good ground of dissolving the marriage by granting a decree of divorce. The Delhi High Court in a Full Bench decision in Ram Kali v. Gopal Das, 1971 O;R 1 De; 10 (FB), took, note of the modern trend not to insist on the maintenance of a union which has utterly broken down, and observed:
"It would not be practical and realistic approach, indeed it would be unreasonable and inhumane, to compel the parties to keep up the facade of marriage even though the rift between them is complete and there are no prospects of their ever living together as husband and wife."
In the case of Blunt v. Blunt, (1943) 2 All ER 76 (78) (HL), Viscount Simon, L.C., while specifying the considerations which should prevail in matrimonial matters, observed:
"To these four considerations I would add a fifth of a more general character, which must indeed be regarded as of primary importance, viz., the interest of the community at large, to be judged by maintaining a true balance between respect for the binding sanctity of marriage and the social considerations which make it contrary to public policy to insist on the maintenance of a union which has utterly broken down. It is noteworthy that in recent years this last consideration has operated to induce the Courts to exercise a favourable discretion in many instances where in an earlier time a decree would certainly have been refused."
The British Parliament has since then enacted the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1973 (which replaces the Divorce Reform Act, 1969). According to section 1 of that Act, a petition for divorce may be presented on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.