Court not empowered to dissolve marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of J.R. Midha, J. dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant-husband against the order of trial court whereby the court dismissed his petition for dissolution of marriage filed under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The parties married in the year 1988; and in 2005, the husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. It was alleged that the respondent-wife treated him with cruelty; there were continuous fights; the wife did not take care of him during illness; she made false allegations of the illicit relationship against him; filed false and frivolous cases against him, etc. The wife contested the petition. The trial court held that the husband miserably failed to prove allegations of cruelty, and therefore dismissed the petition. Aggrieved thus, the husband preferred the present appeal. The husband submitted that there was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage between the parties, and thus a decree of dissolution may be passed.

On careful consideration of the record, the High Court agreed with the trial court that the husband failed to prove cruelty. It was noted that the husband did not cross-examine the wife on allegations of illicit relationship as levelled against him. The wife produced a witness to corroborate the said allegation, and even that witness was not cross-examined. In circumstances of the case, the Court was of the view that submission of the wife that the husband wanted to take advantage of his own wrong seemed plausible. Furthermore, in respect of the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, the Court held that it is not empowered to dissolve the marriage on that ground. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [M v. A,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10688, dated 17-08-2018]

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