Subhransu Sarkar vs Indrani Sarkar (Nee Das) on 14 September, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Subhransu Sarkar vs Indrani Sarkar (Nee Das) on 14 September, 2021

Author: L. Nageswara Rao

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai

                                                     Non-Reportable

             IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
              CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                   Civil Appeal No. 5696 of 2021
                   (@ SLP (C) No.11747 of 2017)

     SUBHRANSU SARKAR
                                                   .... Appellant(s)
                              Versus

     INDRANI SARKAR (NEE DAS)
                                              …. Respondent (s)

                           O R D E R

Leave granted.

1. The Appellant married the Respondent on 02.03.1997 and

registered the same under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Thereafter, the marriage was solemnized between the parties on

07.12.2000 under the Hindu rites and customs. Alleging cruelty and

desertion by the Respondent, the appellant filed a suit for dissolution

of marriage on 05.03.2007 before the District Judge, Alipore. The

suit was dismissed, aggrieved by which the Appellant filed an appeal

before the High Court of Calcutta. The Respondent did not appear

before the High Court. However, the High Court dismissed the

appeal filed by the appellant upholding the judgment of the Trial

Court. The allegation made by the Appellant against the

Respondent is that she was insisting on his residing separately from

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his parents. Also, the Respondent misbehaved with her in-laws and

that she was frequently leaving the matrimonial home. The

appellant also alleged physical assault by the Respondent when both

of them went to Puri and Shillong for holidays. The Respondent

resisted the Petition filed for dissolution of marriage by denying the

averments made against her. She accused the appellant of adultery

and excessive consumption of alcohol. The Trial Court and the High

Court refused to accept the contentions of the appellant that he is

entitled for divorce by holding that he could not make out a case of

cruelty meted out by the Respondent.

2. It was submitted by Mr. Nikhil Nayyar, learned Senior Counsel

for the Appellant that the Appellant and Respondent have been living

separately for more than 16 years and for all practical purposes the

marriage is dead. He relied upon two judgments of this Court in

Sukhendu Das v. Rita Mukherjee 1 and Munish Kakkar v.

Nidhi Kakkar2 in support of his submission that this Court in

exercise of its power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India

has dissolved marriages when they are totally unworkable and

irretrievable.

3. We have requested Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee to assist this Court

as Amicus Curiae on behalf of the Respondent as she did not engage

an Advocate. Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee informed this Court that the

1 (2017) 9 SCC 632
2 (2020) 14 SCC 657

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Respondent intends to continue to live with the Appellant. Mr.

Mukherjee informed this Court that he spoke to the Respondent

several times and the Respondent is not convinced that an

unworkable marriage should be put to an end. In Sukhendu Das

v. Rita Mukherjee (supra), this Court considered a similar situation

where the marriage between the parties took place on 19.06.1992

and they were living apart from the year 2000. The Trial Court found

that the husband could not prove cruelty by his wife and that he was

not entitled for decree of divorce. The judgment of the Trial Court

was upheld by the High Court and the same was the subject matter

of challenge before this Court. The Respondent failed to appear

before this Court in spite of notice being served. By holding that

there was an irretrievable breakdown of marriage, this Court

dissolved the marriage between the parties therein by observing that

they had been living separately for more than 17 years and no useful

purpose would be served by compelling them to live together in

matrimony.

4. To do complete justice between the parties, this Court in

Munish Kakkar v. Nidhi Kakkar (supra) put an end to the bitter

matrimonial dispute which lingered on for two decades between the

parties therein.

5. The Appellant is a police officer in the State of West Bengal

and has made allegation of cruelty and desertion against the

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Respondent. Though the respondent has insisted that she intends to

live with the Appellant, no meaningful effort has been made by her

for reconciliation. Allegations made by the Respondent relate to

adultery by the Appellant which was the reason for her moving out of

the matrimonial home. In spite of the best efforts made by Mr.

Mukherjee, the Respondent has insisted that she is not willing for

dissolution of the marriage. Mr. Mukherjee has brought to our notice

that the Respondent has to take care of her son who is suffering from

serious ailments.

6. Having scrutinized the material on record and considering

the submissions made by Mr. Nikhil Nayyar and Mr. Ranjan

Mukherjee, learned Amicus Curiae, without commenting on the

merits of the matter, the marriage between the parties is

emotionally dead and there is no point in persuading them to live

together any more. Therefore, this is a fit case for exercise of

jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. The

marriage between the parties is dissolved. The Registry is directed

to prepare a decree accordingly. Taking note of the submissions

made by Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, we direct the Appellant to pay an

amount of Rs.25 Lakhs (Rupees Twenty-Five Lakhs) to the

Respondent within a period of eight weeks from today. The petition

filed by the Respondent under Section 125 Cr. PC for maintenance

shall be withdrawn by the Respondent on receipt of the amount of

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Rs.25 Lakhs. The payment of the aforesaid amount is in full and final

settlement of all claims of the Respondent against the Appellant.

7. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.

…………………………..J.

[L. NAGESWARA RAO]

..……………………….J.

[ B.R. GAVAI ]
New Delhi,
September 14, 2021.

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