SC: Situation subsequent to divorce petition can’t be a substantial question

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 3rd March 2020, in the matter of Mangayakarasi v. M. Yuvaraj observed that a situation which is not the basis for initiating the petition for dissolution of marriage and which is not an issue before the trial court, cannot be raised as a substantial question of law in the High Court.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Where the Trial Court has referred to the evidence and the First Appellate Court being the last Court for reappreciation of the evidence has undertaken the said exercise and has arrived at a concurrent decision on the matter, the position of law is well settled that neither the High Court in the limited scope available to it in a Second Appeal under Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code is entitled to reappreciate the evidence nor is the Supreme Court required to do so.  (This inference has been drawn on the  basis of Para 12)

A situation which is not the basis for initiating the petition for dissolution of marriage and when that was also not an issue before the Trial Court so as to tender evidence and a decision be taken, the High Court would not be justified in raising the same as a substantial question of law and arriving at its conclusion in that regard. (This inference has been drawn on the  basis of Para 14)

In an appropriate case the unsubstantiated allegation of dowry demand or such other allegation has been made and the husband and his family members are exposed to criminal litigation and ultimately if it is found that such allegation is unwarranted and without basis and if that act of the wife itself forms the basis for the husband to allege that mental cruelty has been inflicted on him, certainly, in such circumstance if a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed on that ground and evidence is tendered before the original court to allege mental cruelty it could well be appreciated for the purpose of dissolving the marriage on that ground. (Para 15)

In a matter where the differences between the parties are not of such magnitude and is in the nature of the usual wear and tear of marital life, the future of the child and her marital prospects are also to be kept in view, and in such circumstance the dissolution of marriage merely because they have been litigating and they have been residing separately for quite some time would not be justified. (Para 16)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_03-Mar-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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