Supreme court answers exercise of power under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India when there is complete and irretrievable breakdown of marriage

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While answering a question highlighted in the Shilpa Sailesh vs Varun Sreenivasan case, the Supreme Court said that in the exercise of power under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India, has the discretion to dissolve the marriage on the ground of its irretrievable breakdown. The Constitution bench further added that “This discretionary power is to be exercised to do ‘complete justice’ to the parties, wherein this Court is satisfied that the facts established show that the marriage has completely failed and there is no possibility that the parties will cohabit together, and continuation of the formal legal relationship is unjustified. “ The bench also highlighted that as a court of equity, there was a requirement to balance the circumstances and the background in which the party opposing the dissolution was placed. The case was heard by the constitution bench consisting of Justice Abhay S. OkaJustice Sanjay Kishan KaulJustice JK MaheshwariJustice Sanjiv Khanna, and Justice Vikram Nath.

Answering a question about the Power and jurisdiction of this Court under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India, the bench said that “this Court can depart from the procedure as well as the substantive laws, as long as the decision is exercised based on considerations of fundamental general and specific public policy.” While deciding whether to exercise discretion, the top Court must consider the substantive provisions as enacted and not ignore the same, albeit the bench acts as a problem solver by balancing out equities between the conflicting claims. The bench further added, “This power is to be exercised in a cause or matter”. 

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