Case Summary: Sukhendu Das vs. Rita Mukherjee


This post has been written by Parishkriti Atri, a first year law student pursuing LL.B. (H) from Amity Law School, Noida.

Date: 9 October 2017

Number of Judges: Two

Bench: J. S.A. Bobde & J. L. Nageswara Rao

 Acts: The Special Marriage Act, 1954

Citations: Civil Appeal No. 7186 of 2016


On 14 April 1993, a girl child was born to 2 district court judges Sukhendu Das and Rita Mukherjee.Due to conflicts between them, both the parties lived separately since 2000.

An application for divorce under section 27 of the special marriage act, 1954 was filed in the Court.

The appellant informed the court about the reasons for which he wanted divorce. His wife refused to give custody of their daughter, used abusive language, did not visit him when he was severely ill, did not respect his father, and threatened to file a criminal case if he decided to divorce her.

The respondent, in her written statement denied all the allegations that were made against her and did not participate in the proceedings before the trial court. The civil court of Calcutta dismissed the application for divorce. The same appeal in the High Court of Calcutta was also dismissed Because there was no proof of cruelty on the part of the wife And there was no plausible reason for a divorce. The court made an attempt for conciliation between the parties since irretrievable marriage is not a ground of divorce.


  1. Whether the respondent did an act of cruelty
  2. Whether irretrievable breakdown of marriage is a ground of divorce under special marriage act, 1954


The court stated that the respondent did not appear in front of the court which reflected her disinterest in living with her husband. This way, she forced her husband to stay in a stagnant marriage without even participating in the proceedings, which constitutes mental cruelty. The High Court made it clear that neither of the parties made an attempt to be posted in the same area.

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The appeal for divorce was allowed because both the parties were living separately for 17 years and even though there was no ground in law on which a divorce could be granted, the marriage between two parties was not working out and has broken down irretrievably.


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