A Division bench of Kerala High Court held the following in a Divorce Matter, wherein one party is withholding the consent in a irretrievably broken-down marriage.
From Para 5,
5. The husband attributes this conduct as a behavioural disorder. The wife denies the same. We are not able to discern ourselves to classify this as
behavioural disorder or not. There are various types of personality disorders. In the absence of any medical evidence before us, we may not be able to classify this behaviour as a personality disorder. But, we are sure unstable emotions and relationships existed between the parties as revealed from Exts.A2 to A4 e-mail chatting reports and Ext.A5 whatsapp message. If one of the spouses is unable to adjust to such behaviour, that party cannot be found fault with. The obsessive nature of the character possessed by the wife would have led to a deteriorating relationship between the parties from the initial phase of life itself. Chasing happiness based on schedules instead of living in the moment, appears to be the vowed daily life routine adopted by her. She was not realistic to the fact that the secret of marital harmony lies in accepting the life as it unfolds and not becoming a stickler of the schedules or routines. Compulsive obsessiveness is also considered as a disorder. Though we are not sure about attributing the appellant as a person who suffers from such disorder, on going though the evidence, we are certain such attitude and behaviour was unbearable to the husband. If the conduct and character of one party causes misery and agony to the other spouse, the element of cruelty to the spouse would surface, justifying grant of divorce. If the parties cannot mend their ways, the law cannot remain oblivious to those who suffer in that relationship. In any matrimonial relationship, spouses may have a different outlook on the marriage based on faith, perceptions, outlook, attitudes, social ethos, etc. Fearing divorce is repugnant to his or her notion, one would refrain from the divorce based on mutual consent. The court cannot leave the life of a spouse to the mercy of the opposite spouse. Human problem requires resolution consistent with the notion of justice. The husband wants to get out of the misery and agony of the relationship; though, what was portrayed before the court is the fault of the wife, the husband also failed in building the relationship. We made an attempt for conciliation. The said attempt failed. There is no scope for reviving the dead marriage. The Apex Court in Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli [(2006) 4 SCC 558], opined that if the parties cannot live together on account of obvious differences, one of the parties is adamant and callous in attitude for having divorce on mutual consent, such attitude can be treated as the cause of mental cruelty to other spouses.
From Para 6,
Beena MS Vs Shino G Babu on 04 Feb 2022
6. The law on divorce recognises both fault and consent as a cause for separation. When both the parties are unable to lead a meaningful matrimonial life due to inherent differences of opinion and one party is willing for separation and the other party is withholding consent for mutual separation, that itself would cause mental agony and cruelty to the spouse who demands separation. The purpose of marriage is to hold matrimonial ties lifelong, respecting mutual obligations and rights. The companionship of spouses creates oneness of the mind to walk together. It is through mutual respect and courtship, the companionship is built and fortified. The modern jurisprudence of irretrievable break down to allow divorce is premised on the fact that the spouses can never remain together on account of their differences. If the court is able to form an opinion that due to incompatibility, the marriage failed and one of the spouses was withholding consent for mutual separation, the court can very well treat that conduct itself as cruelty. If one of the spouses is refusing to accord divorce on mutual consent after having convinced of the fact that the marriage failed, it is nothing but cruelty to spite the other spouse. No one can force another to continue in a legal tie and relationship if the relationship deteriorated beyond repair. The portrayal of such conduct through manifest behaviour of the spouse in a manner understood by a prudent as ‘cruelty’ is the language of the lawyer for a cause before the court. This case is also not different. The behavioural disorder pointed out against the appellant in the petition for divorce was essentially reflection of incompatibility that existed between the parties. The husband wants to get out of the struggled relationship, on the projected cause of cruelty with reference to the incidents of misbehaviour. Incompatibility is a factor that can be reckoned while considering the ground for cruelty, if one of the spouses withholds the consent of mutual separation, though incompatibility is not recognised as ground for divorce.