ARTICLE 142

  • 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.

Grounds:

  • 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.

Issues:

  • 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.

Article 142(1):

The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or order for doing complete justice.

Article 142(2):

The Supreme Court shall have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of:

  1. securing the attendance of any person,
  2. the discovery or production of any documents, or
  3. the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself

 

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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