In a progressive and much-anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court of India has granted a significant victory for individuals seeking divorce by allowing it on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. The judgment comes as a transformative development in the country’s legal landscape, as it replaces the conventional fault-based system with a more empathetic approach towards marital dissolution.
Under the previous legal framework, couples were required to prove fault, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion, to obtain a divorce. Alternatively, they could seek a mutual consent divorce, which required both parties to agree on the separation. However, these requirements often subjected couples to a lengthy and emotionally draining process, forcing them to provide evidence and endure acrimonious court battles.
The Supreme Court’s decision acknowledges the evolving nature of relationships and the need for a more compassionate and realistic approach to divorce. The judges recognized that insisting on fault-based grounds often perpetuated a hostile environment, impacting the mental and emotional well-being of the parties involved. They emphasized that divorce should be considered a last resort, but when a marriage has irretrievably broken down, individuals should not be forced to remain trapped in a painful and unsustainable relationship.
The court’s ruling aligns with the increasing recognition worldwide that divorce should be a civil matter rather than a moral judgment. By allowing divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown, the Supreme Court promotes the idea that individuals have the right to make decisions about their own lives and pursue happiness, even if it means ending their marriage.
However, it is important to note that the court’s decision does not imply a free-for-all approach to divorce. The judges emphasized the need for safeguards to prevent hasty or frivolous separations. Parties seeking divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown will still need to provide evidence and convince the court that the marriage has genuinely reached a point of no return.
The Supreme Court’s progressive stance on divorce has been widely applauded by legal experts and activists who have long advocated for a more compassionate and modern approach to family law. It is hoped that this landmark ruling will provide relief to individuals trapped in unhappy or abusive marriages and pave the way for a more empathetic and efficient system of divorce proceedings in India.