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Grounds of Divorce under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

 


Grounds of Divorce under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 

By: Anjali Tiwari

Divorce, is separation or dissolution of a marriage between two people. The grounds on which the parties to a marriage might file a Divorce petition in a court of law are outlined in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The numerous grounds for filing a divorce petition under the Hindu Marriage Act are discussed in this article.

Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 deals with the reasons for divorce.

The conditions of divorce in Hindu marriages are addressed in Section 13 of this Act. Any marriage solemnized before or after the start of this Act can file a petition for divorce, which can be presented by either the husband or the wife, and that can be dissolved by a decree of divorce, according to Sec 13(1). However, the following requirements must be met in order to get a divorce decree. 

1) Adultery

According to the Hindu Marriage Act, adultery is defined under section 13(1) and it is one of the most important grounds for divorce in a matrimonial case. Adultery means if a married person's voluntary and consenting intercourse with another person of the opposite sex, whether married or not. The person is responsible for adultery even if the intercourse between the husband and his second wife falls under the concept of bigamy.

Swapna Ghose v. Sadanand Ghose on 22 July, 1988

In this case, the wife discovered her husband in bed with another female, and a neighbor corroborated that the husband had committed a crime (adultery). The divorce is granted to the woman in this case.

2) Cruelty

This is one of the most common reasons for divorce between the spouses. Domestic abuse and cruelty have been more prevalent in recent years. According to Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act, any individual who has treated the other with cruelty after the solemnization of his or her marriage can initiate a divorce complaint in a court of law.

Gurbux Singh vs Harminder Kaur on 8 October, 2010

Simple little aggravations and natural wear and tear of marital life that occurs in everyday life in all families would not be sufficient for an award of separation on the grounds of cruelty, according to the court in this case.

3) Desertion

Desertion is defined as one spouse's permanent abandoning of the other without any justifiable excuse and without his agreement. It is defined under Section 13(1)(ib), of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Essentials of desertion:

The other spouse is permanently abandoned.

Refusal to enter into a marriage contract.

There is no plausible justification for this.

There is no other spouse's permission.

Bipin Chander Jaisinghbhai Shah vs Prabhawati (19 October, 1956)

The respondent in this case leaves the house with the aim of abandoning his wife. Later, the wife petitions the court, but the defendant demonstrates that, although leaving the house with the intent to desert, he attempted to return and was stopped by the petitioner. The defendant cannot be held accountable for desertion in this case.

4) Ceased to be Hindu

According to Section 13(1)(ii) of the Act, any person who has ceased to be a Hindu by converting to another religion after the solemnization of marriage can file a divorce suit under this Act to the appropriate court of law. 

Suresh Babu vs Leela, 11 August, 2006

In this case, the husband converts himself into Muslim and marries another woman, then his wife Leela filed a case for divorce on the ground of conversion without her consent and cruelty.

5) Unsound mind 

Any person who is of unsound mind and cannot be healed, or has been suffering continuously or temporarily from a mental condition of such a sort and to such an extent that it makes it difficult for the other person to live peacefully, according to Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act. This provision allows that person to launch a divorce suit in that situation.

Vinita Saxena vs Pankaj Pandit ( 21 March, 2006)

According to Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act, any person who is of unsound mind and cannot be healed, or has been suffering continuously or temporarily from a mental disorder of such a nature and to such an extent that it makes it difficult for the other person to live peacefully. In that circumstances, this provision authorises that person to file for divorce.

6) Leprosy

If one of the parties to the marriage has a virulent or incurable form of leprosy, the other party can initiate a divorce suit under this Act, according to Section 13(1)(iv).

Swarajya Lakshmi vs G. G. Padma Rao (19 October, 1973)

In this case, the spouse requested a divorce based on the diagnosis of leprosy. With the expert's reports, he stated that his wife has incurable leprosy. In this case, he is successful in obtaining a divorce on the grounds of leprosy.

7) Communicable Disease

Under Section 13(1)(v) of this Act, if one of the parties to the marriage is suffering from a communicable venereal disease that puts the other party's life in jeopardy, the other party may file a divorce petition under this section.

Mita Gupta vs Prabir Kumar Gupta ( 20 June, 1988)

In this case, the court held that venereal illness is a reason of divorce, but that the partner who is responsible for the contagion may be refused relief even if the other partner suffers as much.

8) Renunciation

According to Section 13(1)(vi) of this Act, any individual who has abandoned the world by entering a religious order after the solemnization of marriage, so abandoning the other party, may file a divorce complaint in a court of law.

Sital Das vs Sant Ram and Ors (8 April, 1954)

In this case, it was decided that someone is said to have joined a religious order if he participates in a few religious ceremonies and rites. Now there are a few more things to consider like if a man or woman joins a religious order but returns home day after day and cohabits, it cannot be used as a basis for divorce because he has left the world.

9) Presumption of Death

According to Section 13(1)(vii), if any individual is not heard as being alive for a period of seven years or more by persons who would have usually heard if that person was living after the solemnization of the marriage, the other party might file a divorce petition on this ground.

Conclusion

The Hindu Marriage Act includes a highly fair divorce system for both parties. On the one hand, it allows the parties to reconsider their decision and begin again, while on the other hand, it does not tolerate any illegal activity relating to marriage after its solemnization, such as if the husband is guilty of rape, divorce is always granted to the wife, or if one of the parties to the marriage has left or deserted the other for a period of one year or more against their will, the aggrieved party can file for divorce and subsist. As a result, the Hindu Marriage Act includes a fairly fair system for dissolving marriages.

References

1) Swapna Ghose v. Sadanand Ghose, AIR 1989 Cal 1, 93 CWN 231

2) Gurbux Singh vs Harminder Kaur, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5010 OF 2007

3) Bipin Chander Jaisinghbhai Shah vs Prabhawati, 1957, AIR 176, 1956 SCR 838

4) Suresh Babu vs Leela, 2006 (3) KLT 891

5) Vinita Saxena vs Pankaj Pandit, Civil Appeal  1687 of 2006

6) Swarajya Lakshmi vs G. G. Padma Rao, 1974 AIR 165, 1974 SCR (2) 97

7) Sm. Mita Gupta vs Prabir Kumar Gupta, AIR 1989 Cal 248, 93 CWN 50

8) Sital Das vs Sant Ram And Ors, AIR 1954 SC 606

9) Hindu Marriage Act 1955 (Act 25 of 1955))






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