- A constitution or five-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that it can exercise its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to directly grant a decree of divorce to consenting parties, in cases of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, without referring the parties to a family court.
- Current procedure under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA)
- Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 both parties can file a petition for dissolution of their marriage by presenting a decree of divorce to the district court.
- They have been living separately for a year or more or
- They have not been able to live together or
- Have mutually agreed to dissolve their marriage.
- Both parties seeking divorce have to wait between 6 to 18 months from the date on which they presented their petition to obtain the divorce decree.
- The six-month period is given so that the parties have ample time to withdraw their plea.
- These provisions apply when at least one year has elapsed since the marriage took place.
Additionaly, divorce can be sought by either spouse on grounds like:
adultery, cruelty, desertion, religious conversion, insanity, leprosy, venereal disease, renunciation, and presumption of death.
- The parties can approach the family courts for initiation of divorce proceedings, this process is often time-consuming and lengthy.
- If the parties wish to opt for a divorce more expeditiously, they can approach the Supreme Court under Article 142 for the dissolution of their marriage.
- This provision gives the country’s top court wide powers to do complete justice in a case before it.
Article 142 of the Constitution
Article 142 has two clauses.
The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or order for doing complete justice.
The Supreme Court shall have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of:
- securing the attendance of any person,
- the discovery or production of any documents, or
- the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB