At a time when marriage laws in India are undergoing a sea change with introduction of various modern principles,the Supreme Court Wednesday emphasised on the strong foundation of the institution of marriage and appealed that a couple should endure all hardships to embrace the sunshine with equanimity.
Ruling that a person in marriage cannot be allowed to dissolve it only due to the partners sickness,the court invoked various Indian and other scriptures to assert the significance of marriage,and held that a couple must make all attempts to save a marriage.
Marriage is highly revered in India and we are a nation that prides itself on the strong foundation of our marriages,come hell or high water,rain or sunshine. Life is made up of good times and bad,and the bad times can bring with it terrible illnesses and extreme hardships. The partners in a marriage must weather these storms and embrace the sunshine with equanimity, said a Bench of justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda.
Citing scriptures,the Bench pointed out that under the Hindu law,marriage was nothing short of an institution,and described it as a meeting of two hearts and minds that cannot be taken lightly.
In the Vedic period,the sacredness of the marriage tie was repeatedly declared; the family ideal was decidedly high and it was often realised. In Vedic Index,it is stated that the high value placed on the marriage is shown by the long and striking hymn. In Rig Veda,(it is mentioned): ‘Be,thou,mother of heroic children,devoted to the gods; Be,thou,queen in thy father-in-laws household. May all the gods unite the hearts of us two into one, the court said.
The courts observations came as it dismissed an appeal by a doctor,who sought divorce from his wife,also a doctor,who was suffering from mental illnesses including schizophrenia. It asked the couple to reconcile and live together for the sake of their daughter. The court reminded the couple that bad times could bring some diseases but they could not be regarded as ground for divorce.
Any person may have bad health,this is not their fault and most times,it is not within their control,as in the present case,the respondent was unwell and was taking treatment for the same. The illness had its fair share of problems. Can this be a reason for the appellant to abandon her and seek dissolution of marriage after the child is born out of their union? Since the child is now a grown up girl,her welfare must be the prime consideration for both the parties, held the court.
On August 26,the Rajya Sabha had passed a Bill to amend the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act to provide for irretrievable breakdown of marriage as an additional ground for divorce. Both parties have to live apart for at least three years before filing for such a petition.