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What are the grounds of Divorce in India under Hindu Marriage Act, other than mutual consent?




The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, lays down the law for divorce, which applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.


The grounds for divorce under Hindu Laws includes :-


Either the husband or the wife of the petitioner:-


1. had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or


2. treated the petitioner, as spouse with cruelty; or


3. has deserted the petitioner, as spouse for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or


4. has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or


5. has been incurably of unsound mind, or mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.


6. has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or


7. has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more


8. that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties; or


9. that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights; or

Additional grounds for a wife:


10. that the husband has, since the solemnisation of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality; or


Other grounds for either husband or wife:


11. there are few more grounds which only applies to the special circumstances of a particular case


LEADING JUDGEMENTS:


a) Making false allegations against husband of having illicit relationship and extramarital affairs by wife in her written statement constitute mental cruelty of such nature that husband cannot be reasonably asked to live with wife. Husband is entitled to decree of divorce - Sadhana Srivastava v/s. Arvind Kumar Srivastava, AIR 2006 All 7.


b) Cruelty which is a ground for dissolution of marriage may be defined as wilful and unjustifiable conduct of such character as to cause danger to life, limb or health, bodily or mental, or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such a danger. The question of mental cruelty has to be considered in the light of the norms of marital ties of the particular society, to which the parties belong, their social values, status, environment in which they live. Cruelty need not be physical. If from the conduct of the spouse it is established or an inference can be legitimately drawn that the treatment of the spouse is such that it causes apprehension in the mind of the other spouse, about his or her mental welfare then this conduct amounts to cruelty - Maya Devi v/s. Jagdish Prasad, AIR 2007 SC 1426.



c) The expression Cruelty as envisaged under section 13 of the Act clearly admits in its ambit and scope such acts which may even cause mental agony to aggrieved party. Intention to be cruel is not an essential element of cruelty as envisaged under section 13 (1) (ia) of the Act. It is sufficient that if the cruelty is of such type that it becomes impossible for spouses to live together - Neelu Kohli v/s. Naveen Kohli, AIR 2004 All 1.


d) The levelling of false allegation by one spouse about the other having alleged illicit relations with different persons outside wedlock amounted to mental cruelty - Jai Dayal v/s. Shakuntala Devi, AIR 2004 Del 39.


e) Mental disorder for relief under section 13 (1) (iii) should be of such a degree that it is impossible to lead normal marital life or it is unreasonable to expect a person to put up with a spouse with such condition - B.N. Panduranga Shet v/s. S.N. Vijayalaxmi, AIR 2003 Karn 357


f) Due to the criminal complaint filed by the wife, the husband remained in jail for 63 days and also his father and brother for 20 to 25 days. Therefore, even though the case of cruelty may not have been proved but as the facts emerging from the record clearly indicate that the living of the two as husband and wife would not only be difficult but impossible, the court has no alternative but to grant a decree of divorce - Poonam Gupta v/s. Ghanshyam Gupta, AIR 2003 All 51.


g) Unless the entire genesis of the quarrels in the course of which, one of the spouses holds out a threat to take his or her life is placed before the court, the very fact that some threat in the course of a quarrel is held out, cannot be viewed in isolation or construed as mental cruelty to the other spouse - Nalini Sunder v/s. G.V. Sundar, AIR 2003 Kar 86.


- by B S Bajwa Advocate

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