Supreme Court invokes its power of complete justice to grant divorce by mutual consent on irretrievable breakdown of marriage

This judgment comes less than three weeks after a Supreme Court Constitution Bench of five judges held that the court can dissolve a marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage under Article 142 of the Constitution. 

TODAY, a Supreme Court division Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah exercised its power of complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution for granting a mutual divorce decree on account of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

In Mansi Khatri versus Gaurav Khatri, the petitioner-wife sought a transfer of the divorce petition (filed by the respondent-husband) pending before a family court in Indore, Madhya Pradesh to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

The divorce petition was filed under Section 13(1) (divorce) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.


The parties had married on December 12, 2016 and separated on October 29, 2021 without the birth of any child. The petitioner-wife filed a maintenance case in 2020 under Section 125 (order of maintenance of wives, children and parents) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which is pending before a family court in Lucknow.

The petitioner-wife’s father filed a first information report (FIR), at the Ghazipur police station in Uttar Pradesh, for offences punishable under Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 354 (assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, read with Sections 3 (penalty for giving or taking dowry) and 4 (penalty for demanding dowry) of the Dowry Protection Act, 1961.

The Supreme Court on December 7, 2022, had passed an order referring the matter to the Supreme Court Mediation Centre pursuant to the stand of the parties that they were desirous of settlement through mediation. However, the mediation was unsuccessful, and the respondent-husband informed the court on March 14 this year that he was willing to opt for a mutual consent divorce.

The respondent-husband, however, informed the court that no agreement could be reached on permanent alimony.

On May 4, the Supreme Court reserved its judgment, but the order records that the “only question is the extent of permanent alimony on grant of divorce”.

Both parties left it to the court to decide the amount of permanent alimony. According to today’s judgment, the petitioner-wife desired seventy lakh rupees as permanent alimony, whereas the respondent had offered only twenty-five lakh rupees.

What did the court rule?

The court considered all facts and circumstances, and held, “[T]he parties, in praesenti, husband and wife have suffered an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. In such view (sic), in order to render complete justice, it is a fit case to exercise the power vested under Article 142 of the Constitution of India by closing all cases filed by the parties against each other and also granting a decree of mutual consent divorce.”

The court also quashed the FIR registered by the petitioner-wife’s father and the maintenance case filed by the wife. The divorce petition also stands withdrawn.

Considering the financial status of the parties, the amount of permanent alimony to be paid by the respondent-husband to the petitioner-wife was quantified at thirty-five lakh rupees, to be paid within six months of today, as per the division Bench’s judgment, authored by Justice Amanullah.

The court also warned that if the permanent alimony sum is not paid by the respondent-husband, the FIR and maintenance case shall stand revived.

Click here to view the Supreme Court’s full judgment in Mansi Khatri versus Gaurav Khatri.

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