The Supreme Court has ruled that divorce cannot be purchased by a spouse by paying a lumpsum amount to the other party and said courts cannot pass any decree in violation of the Hindu Marriages Act. “No court can assume jurisdiction to dissolve a Hindu marriage simply on the basis of the consent of the parties de hors the grounds enumerated under section 13 of the Act, unless of course the consenting parties proceed under section 13B (mutual consent) of the Act.
“A Hindu marriage can be dissolved only on any of the grounds plainly and clearly enumerated under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The law does not permit the purchase of a decree of divorce for consideration, with or without the consent of the other side,” a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said in a judgement.
The apex court passed the judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Sanjeeta Das challenging a Calcutta High Court judgement which had granted divorce to her husband Tapan Kumar Mohanty even though she had not given her consent. The husband had accused the wife of cruelty and sought divorce which was rejected by the family court.
The High Court however, on September 2, 2009 on the basis of an affidvit filed by the husband that he was willing to pay her a permanent alimony of Rs 10 lakh granted him divorce. Aggrieved the wife appealed moved the apex court.
Section 13 enumerates various conditions like cruelty, incurable disease, mental illness, adultery and certain other grounds on which the divorce can be granted under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The apex court upholding the wife”s plea set aside the High Court order with a direction to it to hear the matter afresh in accordance with the statutory provision.