The couple, based in Chandigarh and married for 60 years, tied the knot in 1963 and their marital life was normal till the IAF officer got transferred to then Madras in January 1984. The acrimony in their relationship developed when the wife did not join him, and preferred to stay initially with her in-laws and thereafter with her son.
Despite efforts by the parties, the differences and disputes could not be resolved, which ultimately led the husband to file divorce proceedings in 1996 against the wife who is a retired teacher. The legal proceedings went on for 23 years from the trial court to Punjab and Haryana high court and finally the Supreme Court.
As the husband failed to prove the charge of cruelty or that she had deserted him, he urged the court to invoke Article 142 of the Constitution to allow divorce as the marriage had “broken down completely”. But the wife urged the court not to allow his plea as she did not want to leave the world with the “stigma of a divorcee”.
The court said one should not be oblivious to the fact that the institution of marriage occupies an important place and plays an key role in society.
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