New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday dissolved a two-decade-old marriage, terming it "emotionally dead", despite the wife's objections, and directed the husband to pay Rs 25 lakh to her within eight weeks.
A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai said: "The marriage between the parties is emotionally dead and there is no point in persuading them to live together any more. Therefore, this is a fit case for exercise of jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. The marriage between the parties is dissolved."
It noted that the wife insisted claiming she intends to live with her husband, however, no meaningful effort has been made by her for reconciliation. The wife had accused her husband of adultery -- cited as the main reason for her moving out of the matrimonial home - and excessive consumption of alcohol. The husband, who is a police officer in West Bengal, accused her of cruelty and desertion.
Husband's counsel submitted that they have been living separately for more than 16 years and for all practical purposes, the marriage is dead. The amicus curiae spoke to the wife several times, but she was not convinced that an unworkable marriage should be put to an end.
The trial court and the high court had refused to accept husband's contentions that he is entitled for divorce by holding that he could not make out a case of cruelty meted out by his wife.
Directing the petition filed by the wife for maintenance shall be withdrawn on receipt of the amount of Rs 25 lakh, the apex court said: "The Registry is directed to prepare a decree accordingly."
"The petition filed by the respondent under Section 125 CrPC for maintenance shall be withdrawn by the respondent on receipt of the amount of Rs 25 lakh. The payment of the aforesaid amount is in full and final settlement of all claims of the respondent against the appellant."
The marriage took place in 1997, and was registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The man filed a suit for dissolution of marriage on March 5, 2007 before the District Judge, Alipore.