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Under Article 142, the Supreme Court will grant a divorce when a marriage has irretrievably broken down

In the Shilpa Sailesh v. Varun Sreenivasan case, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it might provide a judgement of divorce to willing parties in the event of a “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage by using exceptional powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.

According to the ruling issued by a Constitution Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Abhay S. Oka, Vikram Nath, and J.K. Maheshwari, the 6-month waiting time stipulated under the Hindu Marriage Act may be eliminated.


Article 142 must be viewed in the context of basic rights, the law says. It should be against a non-derogable constitutional right. As quoted by Bar and Bench, “Court under the power is empowered to complete justice.”

The Constitution's Article 142 addresses how the Supreme Court's rulings and decrees must be carried out in order to provide “complete justice” in each case that is before it.

According to Justice Khanna, the basics of public policy must guide the use of Article 142's powers. He said, “We have ruled that this court may dissolve the marriage on the basis of the couple's irretrievable disintegration. According to LiveLaw, “We have also established criteria that may predict when a marriage would irretrievably fail.

The decision was made in response to a group of five petitions that sought the supreme court's broad authority to dissolve a marriage without submitting the case to the family courts, where a six-month waiting time was required under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act.

On behalf of the court, Justice Khanna announced the decision. The bench had deferred its decision on the petitions, including the main one filed by one Shilpa Sailesh back in 2014, until September 29, 2022. The Supreme Court has noted the important role that families play in Indian weddings.

Two issues were previously addressed to the Constitution bench, including whether the SC's exercise of this power under Article 142 should be made at all or if it should be left up to the circumstances of each case.

What might be the general guidelines for using the Constitution's Article 142 dissolution powers to end a marriage between consenting parties without referring the parties to the family court and having them wait the mandatory period outlined in Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act is one of the questions referred to it.

In a statement made on September 20, the Supreme Court stated, “We do believe that another question which would require consideration would be whether the power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India is inhibited in any manner in a scenario where there is an irretrievable breakdown of marriage in the opinion of the court but one of the parties is not consenting to the terms.”

After using its broad authority granted by Article 142 to dissolve “irretrievably broken marriages” for more than two decades, the supreme court decided in September of last year to investigate whether it may dissolve marriages between separated couples without both participants' assent.

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