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'Live Happy Separately if Not Together': SC Allows Senior Citizen Couple to Part Ways

A bench of Justices Sanjay K Kaul and KM Joseph proceeded to end the protracted wrangling of the couple, inside the court and outside, after noting that this could be in the best interest of both.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 31, 2019, 8:35 AM IST
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File photo of the Supreme Court building.

New Delhi: An estranged couple — both above 60 years of age — has been allowed to part ways, with the Supreme Court expressing hope that “they live a happy life separately, if not together”.

A bench of Justices Sanjay K Kaul and KM Joseph proceeded to end the protracted wrangling of the couple, inside the court and outside, after noting that this could be in the best interest of both.

The judges told their respective lawyers to come up with mutually acceptable terms so that the curtains could be drawn on the legal fight going on for two decades.

The top court was approached by the woman against an order of the Madras High Court in 2008 whereby a directive of judicial separation was issued on a request made by the husband.

The husband had obtained the order of judicial separation under Section 10 of Hindu Marriage Act, which provides for separation on certain grounds such as desertion, cruelty, infidelity etc. Once a decree of judicial separation is passed, there is no obligation on a person to cohabit with the spouse till the time this decree is set aside by the court.

While the application was moved in the high court in 2003, the order was passed five years later, which again was challenged by the wife in the Supreme Court. The apex court had in 2009 stayed the operation of the order on judicial separation but the matter remained in the cold storage while the couple stayed separately.

Recently, the bench led by Justice Kaul decided to put an end to the long standing marital dispute one way or the other.

The court called upon the lawyers to speak to their clients, following which it formalised the order of the judicial separation. The bench maintained that the couple will continue to live separately and the man will pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh towards full and final settlement of all the dues to the woman.

The parties also agreed to withdraw all other pending cases against each other in different fora and give quietus to their disputes.

Finally the apex court said in its order: “Both the parties being more than 60 years, and we can only hope that they live a happy life separately, if not together.”

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