In a matrimonial appeal before the High Court of Kerala, the bench comprising of Justice AM Shaffique and Justice TV Anilkumar observed that a temporary reunion between the spouses will not defeat the claim for dissolution of marriage during the pendency of the proceedings for divorce.

The contentions raised before the Court were that when the proceedings for divorce were pending before the Family Court, the spouses temporarily resided together for a few months.  In the light of the settlement of matrimonial issues at the intervention of Lok Adalat and the reunion thereafter, the husband was not entitled to pursue his case any further as his conduct resulted in the condonation of the alleged cruelties.

The Court noted that only in a case where the complaining spouse has led a life that is uninfluenced by the conduct of the offending spouse, and has consequently pardoned the offending spouse to their original status, can the alleged condonation put an end to the said proceedings. In the present case, the reunion of the spouses lasted for only a temporary period and the spouses also failed to carry on their normal life.

The Court observed that a temporary reunion of the spouses during the pendency of the proceedings for divorce pursuant to their settlement of the matrimonial issues won’t defeat the claim for the dissolution of marriage on the ground of the alleged condonation of cruelty, nor will it bar the continuance of proceedings.

The Court also stated that the act of condonation is a generous one, where the offended spouse forgives the misdeeds of the offending spouse and restores them to the original status. An act of cruelty once condoned could certainly revive giving rise to the cause of action for the dissolution of marriage in the case wherein the offending spouse exploits the benevolence of the wronged spouse and instead takes to matrimonial misdeeds again.

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Link for Judgement: Santhosh Kumar v. Jayasree Damodaran