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Divorce Under Hindu Law

Divorce means that the dissolution of wedding by a competent court. This paper discusses divorce below Hindu Law. It analyses however the conception was non-existent below ancient law thanks to the religious ritual nature of wedding however was introduced below the Hindu wedding Act, 1955.

It studies the various theories of divorce- fault, mutual consent, breakdown; and conjointly describes the grounds for divorce below this Act, with concentrate on extramarital sex and cruelty, and the way these grounds were changed through amendments. It in brief dwells on the grounds that square measure solely accessible to a adult female. The paper addresses the professionals and cons of the addition of unretrievable breakdown as a ground for divorce amidst the growing discussion regarding its deserves.

Earlier divorce was unknown to general Hindu law as wedding was considered AN indissoluble union of the husband and adult female. Manu declared that a adult female can't be free by her husband either by sale or by abandonment, implying that the married tie can't be cut in any method. though Hindu law doesn't ponder divorce nonetheless it's been command that wherever it's recognized as a longtime custom it might have the force of law.

According to Kautilya�s Arthashatra, wedding may well be dissolved by mutual consent within the case of the unapproved type of wedding. But, Manu doesn't believe the termination of wedding. He declares� let mutual fidelity continue until death; this, in brief, is also understood to be the best Dharma of the husband and wife�.
However, this modified once divorce was introduced within the Hindu wedding Act, 1955.

Theories Of Divorce

There are essentially 3 theories for divorce-fault theory, mutual consent theory & unretrievable breakdown of wedding theory.

Under the Fault theory or the offences theory or the guilt theory, wedding will be dissolved only either party to the wedding has committed a marital offence. it's necessary to own a guilty ANd an innocent party, and also the solely innocent party will seek the remedy of divorce. However, the foremost putting feature and also the disadvantage is that if each parties are guilty, there's no remedy accessible.

Another theory of divorce is that of mutual consent. The underlying principle is that since 2 persons will marry by their discretion, they ought to even be allowed to maneuver out of the connection of their own discretion. However, critics of this theory say that this approach can promote immorality because it can cause hasty divorces and parties would dissolve their wedding though there have been slight incompatibility of temperament.

The third theory relates to the unretrievable breakdown of the wedding. The breakdown of wedding is outlined as �such failure within the marital relationships or such circumstances adverse thereto relationship that no affordable chance remains for the spouses once more cohabitation as husband & adult female.� Such wedding ought to be dissolved with most fairness & minimum bitterness, distress & humiliation.

Some of the grounds accessible below the Hindu wedding Act will be aforementioned to be below the speculation of frustration by reason of nominal circumstances. These embody civil death, resignation of the globe etc.

Grounds For Divorce below Hindu wedding Act

It is conceded altogether jurisdictions that public policy, smart morals & the interests of society need that conjugal relationship ought to be enclosed with each safeguard and its severance be allowed solely within the manner and for the cause nominal by law. Divorce isn't favored or inspired and is allowable just for grave reasons.

In fashionable Hindu law, all the 3 theories of divorce square measure recognized & divorce will be obtained on the premise of anyone of them. The Hindu wedding Act, 1955 originally, primarily based divorce on the fault theory, and enshrined 9 fault grounds in Section 13(1) on that either the husband or adult female may sue for divorce, and 2 fault grounds in Section 13(2) on that adult female alone may obtain the divorce.

In 1964, by AN modification, bound clauses of Section 13(1) were amended within the type of Section 13(1A), therefore recognizing 2 grounds of the breakdown of the wedding. The 1976 modification Act inserted 2 extra fault grounds of divorce for adult female & a replacement section 13B for divorce by mutual consent.

The various grounds on that a decree of divorce will be obtained square measure as follows:


While extramarital sex might not are recognized as a criminal offence altogether countries, the marital offence of extramarital sex or the fault ground of extramarital sex is recognized in most. Even below the Shastric Hindu law, wherever divorce had not been recognized, extramarital sex was condemned within the most unequivocal terms. there's no clear definition of the marital offence of extramarital sex.

In extramarital sex there should be voluntary or accordant gender between a relative and another, whether or not married or divorced, of the alternative sex, not being the other�s domestic partner, throughout the subsistence of wedding. Thus, intercourse with the previous or latter adult female of a polygamous wedding isn't extramarital sex. however if the second wedding is void, then gender with the second adult female can quantity to extramarital sex.

Though at first a divorce can be granted given that such domestic partner was living in extramarital sex, by the wedding Laws modification Act, 1976, this position below the Hindu wedding Act is that it considers even the one act of extramarital sex enough for the decree of divorce.

Since extramarital sex is an offense against wedding, it's necessary to determine that at the time of the act of extramarital sex the wedding was subsisting. Also, it follows that unless one volitionally consents to the act, there will be no extramarital sex. If the adult female will establish that the co-respondent raped her, then the husband wouldn't be entitled to a divorce.

In Swapna Ghose v. Sadanand Ghose the adult female found her husband and also the fornicator to be lying within the same bed at nighttime and more proof of the neighbors that the husband was living with the fornicator as husband and adult female is enough proof of extramarital sex. the very fact of the matter is that direct proof of extramarital sex is extremely rare.
The offence of extramarital sex is also evidenced by:


  • Circumstantial proof
  • Contracting VD

The conception of cruelty could be a ever-changing conception. the trendy conception of cruelty includes each mental and physical cruelty. Acts of cruelty square measure behavioural manifestations excited by various factors within the lifetime of spouses, and their surroundings and therefore; every case should be selected the premise of its own set of facts. whereas physical cruelty is straightforward to see, it's troublesome to mention what mental cruelty consists of.

Perhaps, mental cruelty is lack of such connubial kindness, that inflicts the pain of such a degree and period that it adversely affects the health, mental or bodily, of the domestic partner on whom it's inflicted. In Pravin Mehta v. Inderjeet Mehta, the court has outlined mental cruelty as the state of mind.

Some Instances of Cruelty square measure as follows:

  • false accusations of extramarital sex or unchastity
  • demand of gift
  • refusal to own married intercourse/children
  • impotency
  • birth of kid
  • drunkenness
  • threat to kill
  • wife�s writing false complaints to leader of the husband
  • incompatibility of temperament
  • irretrievable breakdown of wedding

The following don't come under cruelty:

  • ordinary wear & tear of married life
  • wife�s refusal to resign her job
  • desertion as such
  • outbursts of temper while not gall.


Desertion suggests that the rejection by one party of all the obligations of marriage- the permanent forsaking or abandonment of 1 domestic partner by the opposite with none affordable cause and while not the consent of the opposite. It suggests that a complete repudiation of married obligation.

The following five conditions should be gift to represent desertion; they have to co-exist to gift a ground for divorce:

  • the factum of separation
  • animus deserdendi (intention to desert)
  • desertion with none affordable cause
  • desertion while not consent of different party
  • statutory amount of 2 years should have run out before a petition is given.

In Bipinchandra v. Prabhavati the Supreme Court command that wherever the respondent leaves the marital home with AN intention to abandon, he won't be guilty of desertion if afterward he shows AN inclination to come & is prevented from doing thus by the petitioner.


When the opposite party has ceased to be Hindu by conversion to the other faith for e.g. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, faith, a divorce will be granted.


Insanity as a ground of divorce has the subsequent 2 requirements:
  1. The respondent has been incurably of unsound mind
  2. The respondent has been suffering ceaselessly or intermittently from disorder of such a sort and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot fairly be expected to measure with the respondent.
Contagiousness of infectious disease and repulsive outward manifestations square measure liable for making science wherever man not solely shuns the corporate of lepers however appearance at them contemptuously. Thus, it's provided as a ground for divorce. The concern of proving this is often on the petitioner.

Venereal unwellness

At present, it's a ground for divorce if it's communicable naturally no matter the amount that the respondent has suffered from it. the bottom typeed|is created} out if it's shown that the unwellness is in communicable form & it's not necessary that it ought to are communicated to the petitioner (even if done innocently).


�Renunciation of the world� could be a ground for divorce solely beneath Hindu law, because the renunciation of the planet could be a typical Hindu notion. trendy statute Hindu law lays down that a significant other might obtain divorce if the opposite party has renounced the planet and has entered a status. someone United Nations agency will this is often thought-about as civilly dead. Such renunciation by getting into a non secular order should be unequivocal & absolute.

Presumption Of Death

Under the Act, someone is plausible to be dead, if he/she has not been detected of as existence for a amount of a minimum of seven years. The burden of proof that the whereabouts of the respondent isn't identified for the requisite amount is on the petitioner beneath all the marital laws. this is often a presumption of universal acceptance because it aids proof in cases wherever it might be very troublesome if not not possible to prove that fact.

A decree of divorce granted beneath this clause is valid & effective though it afterward transpires that the respondent was, in fact, alive at the time once the decree was passed. Wife�s Special Grounds For Divorce.

Besides the grounds enumerated higher than, a married woman has been provided four further grounds of divorce beneath Section 13(2) of the Hindu wedding Act, 1955.

These area unit as follows:

Pre-Act Polygamous wedding
This clause states the bottom for divorce as:
That the husband has another married woman from before the commencement of the Act, alive at the time of the ritual of the wedding of the petitioner. as an example, the case of Venkatame v. Patil wherever a person had 2 wives, one among whom sued for divorce, and whereas the petition was unfinished, he unmarried the second married woman. He then averred that since he was left solely with one married woman, and therefore the petition ought to be discharged. The Court rejected the plea.

Such a ground is obtainable if each the marriages area unit valid marriages & the opposite married woman (2nd wife) ought to be gift at the time of filing of the petition. However, nowadays this ground isn't any additional of sensible importance.

Rape, anal intercourse Or sex

Under this clause, a divorce petition is conferred if the husband has, since the ritual of the wedding, been guilty of rape, anal intercourse or sex.

Non-Resumption Of living together when A Decree/Order Of Maintenance

If a married woman has obtained Associate in Nursing order of maintenance in proceedings beneath Section a hundred twenty five, Cr.P.C., 1973 or a decree beneath Section eighteen, Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act, 1956 & living together has not been resumed between parties when one year or upwards, then this is often a legitimate ground for suing for divorce.

Repudiation Of wedding

This provision provides a ground for divorce to the married woman once the wedding was solemnized before she earned the age of fifteen years, and she or he has unacknowledged the wedding, however before the age of eighteen. Such repudiation could also be categorical (written or spoken words) or could also be inexplicit from the conduct of the married woman (left husband & refused to come back back). Moreover, this right (added by the 1976 amendment) has solely a retrospective impact i.e. it is invoked no matter the actual fact that the wedding was solemnized before or when such change.

Irretrievable Breakdown Of wedding

Irrespective of the 3 remedies obtainable to parties that is: restitution of legal right, fiat, and divorce, the judiciary in India is strict irrecoverable breakdown of wedding as a special ground for divorce, as generally courts face some difficulties in granting the decree of divorce because of a number of the technical loopholes within the existing theories of divorce.

Both the Supreme Court and Law Committee take into account the implementation of such a theory as a boon to parties United Nations agency for one or the opposite reasons area unit unable to hunt the decree of divorce. so within the opinion of the Supreme Court and Law Commission of India, it's terribly essential to form it a special and separate ground mission that introduction of irrecoverable breakdown of wedding, as a special ground can do any public sensible.

Under the Hindu wedding Act, 1955 primarily there area unit 3 theories beneath that divorce is granted:

  1. Guilt theory or Fault theory
  2. Consent theory,
  3. Supervening circumstances theory.

The irrecoverable breakdown theory of divorce is that the fourth and therefore the most disputed theory in legal jurisprudence, supported the principle that wedding could be a union of 2 persons supported love fondness and respect for every different. If Associate in Nursingy of those is hampered because of any reason and if the marital relation between the spouses reaches to such an extent from wherever it becomes fully irreparable, that's some extent wherever neither of the spouses will live peacefully with one another and acquire the advantages of a marital relations, than it's higher to dissolve the wedding as currently there's no purpose of stretching such a dead relationship, that exist solely in name only and not in reality.

The breakdown of the connection is plausible de facto . the actual fact that parties to wedding reside one by one for fairly longer amount of your time (say 2 or 3 years), with any cheap cause (like cruelty, adultery, desertion) or maybe with none cheap cause (which shows the temperament of the parties or maybe of 1 of the party to measure together) and every one their makes an attempt to reunite failing, it'll be plausible by law that relationship is dead currently.

Recently the Supreme Court Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli has suggested Associate in Nursing change to the Hindu wedding Act, whereby either significant other will cite irrecoverable breakdown of wedding as a reason to hunt the divorce. Expressing the priority that divorce couldn't be granted in an exceedingly variety of cases wherever marriages were just about dead because of the absence of the supply of irrecoverable breakdown, the court powerfully advocated incorporating this idea within the law seeable of the amendment of circumstances. The Court discovered that public interest demands that the married standing ought to, as way as doable, as long as doable and whenever doable, be maintained.

However, wherever a wedding has been destroyed on the far side any hope of being repaired, the general public interest needs the popularity of the actual fact. The judgment notes that there's no acceptable manner in which a significant other is compelled to resume life with the consort which things inflicting misery mustn't be allowed to continue indefinitely because the law contains a responsibility to adequately reply to the requirements of the society.

The profound reasoning is that in things once there's fully no likelihood to measure once more together or once it's on the far side repair, in such a case it might be futile to stay the marital status tie alive. Here the bottom of irrecoverable breakdown is admittedly required. however it mustn't be oblivious that the bottom, once introduced, must give safeguards to make sure that no party is exploited.

The only benefit of the speculation as has been propounded by the jurists is that a wedding, that in apply is taken into account to be a religious ceremony establishment, ought to be supported grounds on that a sound wedding is built- that's tolerance, adjustment and respecting one another. If any of the party to the wedding isn't able to swallow the opposite party the connection won't be a cheerful relationship.

Stretching such a relationship can do no sensible, rather can develop hate and frustration among the parties for every different. so to shield the holiness of wedding, to scale back the amount of sad marriages and to stop from obtaining wasted the valuable years of the lifetime of the spouses, it's necessary to dissolve such a wedding.

The Law Commission Of India in Chapter four of the 71st report has dealt very well the demerits of the irrecoverable breakdown theory. the 2 main oppositions mentioned within the report area unit as follows:
  1. It can create divorce simple. it'll enable the spouses or maybe to anyone of the spouses to dissolve the wedding out of their own pleasure.
  2. It can enable the guilty significant other to require advantage of his own fault by obtaining separated and dissolving the wedding.

Hindus take into account wedding to be a sacred bond. before the Hindu wedding Act of 1955, there was no provision for divorce. The thought of obtaining unmarried was too radical for the Indian society then. The wives were the silent victims of such a rigid system.

However, the time has changed; things have changed; the social ladder has turned. currently the law provides for some way to induce out of Associate in Nursing unpleasant wedding by seeking divorce in an exceedingly court of law. the particular benefactors of such a provision area unit ladies United Nations agency not need to taciturnly endure the harassment or injustice caused to them by their husbands.
Written By: Sanghapriya Samajder

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