In the Supreme Court of India, Section 13(1) and 13(1A) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provide grounds for divorce. These grounds include cruelty, desertion, and mental disorder. The objective behind these provisions is to liberalize divorce laws.

The definition of “cruelty” in Section 13(1)(ia) is broad, and it depends on various factors like social context, economic status, and personal values. The court must consider these factors when deciding on divorce cases.

The court also emphasizes the importance of social justice adjudication, considering the social and economic realities of the parties involved. The court aims to balance the rights of both parties while granting divorce.

The concept of “irretrievable breakdown” is not a guaranteed ground for divorce but is considered when evaluating whether the marriage is unworkable and emotionally dead. Various factors, including the period of cohabitation, attempts at reconciliation, and economic status, are taken into account.

The court acknowledges the social and economic challenges faced by women after divorce, urging a holistic approach to secure some socio-economic independence for the vulnerable party.

In a specific case before the court, a marriage had irretrievably broken down, and a decree of divorce was granted to both parties, ending their continued agony of staying in a failed marriage. The court exercised its discretion to grant the divorce based on the circumstances presented.

decided by the Supreme Court of India on Sept 6, 2023.


Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.