Saroj Rani v Sudarshan Kumar case deals with the constitutional validity of Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which deals with restitution of conjugal rights.
AIR 1984 SC 1562, 1985 SCR (1) 303
Justice Sabyasachi Mukharji
Justice Syed Murtaza Fazl Ali
Article 13, 14, and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
Section 9, Section 13, Section 23(1)(a) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
FACTS OF THE CASE
- The appellant, i.e. the wife, was treated badly by the respondent, i.e. the husband after the two years of marriage and after the birth of second daughter.
- Thereafter, the appellant sued for the restitution of conjugal rights under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 before the Sub-judge and the decree was passed with the consent of both parties.
- After the passing of decree, the appellant claimed that she briefly cohabited with respondent, i.e. the husband.
- After the lapse of one year, the respondent sued for divorce under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, before the District Judge on the grounds that there had been no cohabitation taken place since the decree under section 9 was passed.
- The District Judge dismissed the Divorce petition by giving reasons that the decree under section 9 was a consent decree.
- Another appeal filed by the respondent to the High Court and the same, which was referred to the Chief Justice.
- The appellant also preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court of India.
- Whether the decree passed under section 9 of HMA, 1955 violates the Article 13, 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950?
- Whether the Court should grant the petition for divorce in favor of respondent against the consent decree passed under section 9 of HMA, 1955?
- The appellant argued the respondent was not willing to live with appellant and wanted to have divorce with her. The appellant said that respondent wants to get the decree of restitution of conjugal rights and also dishonor the same by having divorce in this ground.
- Respondent should not have been allowed to take advantage of his ‘wrong’ under section 23 of the HMA, 1955 and therefore not to grant divorce, the appellant added on.
The Court observed the remedy passed under section 9 of HMA, 1955 does not violate Articles 13,14, and 21 of the Constitution of India by citing the case Smt. Harvinder Kaur vs Harmendar Singh by stating that remedy passed under section 9 of HMA, 1955 is to bring cohabitation between them that parties may live peacefully and happily with proper understanding and does not limit to a sexual relationship only but also draw mutual understandings towards each other so they can live happily at their matrimonial home.
The word ‘wrong’ mentioned in section 23(1) of HMA, 1955 does not entitle the husband to get a decree of divorce. The apex court cited that statements about the refused cohabitation by the husband after the passing of decree are no factual allegations and therefore the husband is in the possession of view to get the decree of divorce by not reversing the decision of a single bench.
The apex court dismissed the appeal of the appellant wife by considering the above facts and upheld the judgment which was passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana of a decree of divorce in favor of the respondent, i.e. the husband.
The apex court also considered their relationship of husband and wife by stating that which was noncooperative and therefore appeals of the wife easily dismissed and stand to affirm the decision. In addition, the apex court directed the respondent, i.e. the husband, to pay the maintenance of Rs. 200 per month to the wife and Rs. 300 per month to her daughter until she remarries and maintains the one living daughter until his marriage.
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