What if you're in her shoes, SC asks rejecting man's divorce plea
New Delhi: A man's plea for divorce on the grounds that their marriage is beyond salvage and that he will pay a substantial alimony to his wife has been dismissed by the Supreme Court, saying that the husband would have never accepted dissolution of matrimonial ties had the wife raised identical reasons.
The court made the observation while rejecting the plea for divorce by the husband who had contended that though his wife's mental condition was normal, they have been separated for over 12 years and as such their marriage has irretrievably broken down. Also he said that he is willing to pay his wife any amount determined by the court as alimony.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J S Khehar said he cannot be granted divorce "for the simple reason that the breakdown is only from the side of the husband while the wife has consistently maintained that her paramount desire was to rejoin her husband."
"We would in our endeavour to determine the issue in hand examine the matter by reversing roles of the parties. We will examine the matter as if the wife had approached the Family Court seeking divorce on the ground that her husband had suffered brain damage leading to cognitive deficiencies.
"Yet, despite the said deficiencies, his working memory had returned to ‘near normal’ after treatment.
"And his mental condition was such, that it would not have any effect on his matrimonial obligations. And the wife's family is agreeable to pay an amount to be determined by this court, so as to enable their daughter to break away, and find a more suitable match.
"Should she have been granted freedom from her matrimonial ties, in the given facts, in order to do complete justice to the parties? We would ask ourselves, whether the husband would have accepted such a plea...?"
The court said, "In such situation, if this court had, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, granted compensation to the husband and had dissolved his marriage on the pretext of doing complete justice between the parties, would the same be acceptable to the husband?
"We have no doubt in our mind, that on a reversal of roles, the husband, without any fault of his own, would have never accepted as just, the dissolution of his matrimonial ties, even if the couple had been separated for a duration, as is the case in hand," the bench said.
It also said the medical condition of the wife, on which the man had based his claim for divorce, was "of his own doing."