Divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

Divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955


Earlier Divorce was unknown to overall Hindu law as the union was considered as an indissoluble marriage between the husband and wife. Manu declared that a spouse couldn’t be discharged by her husband either by sale or by jealousy, suggesting that the marital tie can’t be cut. Though Hindu legislation doesn’t consider Divorce; nonetheless, it’s been held that it might have the power of law where it’s recognized as a recognized habit.

Based on Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the union may be dissolved by mutual consent in the event of the unapproved type of association. However, Manu doesn’t think from the discontinuance of union. He admits, “let mutual fidelity continue until departure; yet, in short, might be known to be the maximum dharma of their husband and wife.”

Moving ahead, I’d like to Go over the notions of Divorce:

There are basically three concepts for Divorce-

  1. Fault theory: Beneath the Fault concept or the offenses concept or the guilt concept, marriage could be dissolved only when either party to the union has given a matrimonial offense. It’s required to have a guilty and an innocent party. The only innocent party can look for the treatment of Divorce. However, the most striking feature and the downside is that there’s no remedy available if the two parties are at fault.
  2. Mutual consent concept: Another concept of Divorce is mutual approval. The underlying rationale is that since two individuals can marry with their own free will, they ought also to be permitted to move from the connection of their own free will. But, critics of the theory say that this strategy will encourage immorality since it will cause hasty divorces. Parties could dissolve their union even though there was a minor incompatibility of nature.
  3. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage concept: The next theory is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The marriage’s failure is described as”such collapse at the matrimonial associations or these circumstances adverse to this connection no reasonable chance remains for your spouses living together as husband & wife.” Such union ought to be dissolved with maximum equity & minimal bitterness, distress & embarrassment.

A few of the reasons available under the Hindu Marriage Act is regarded as under the concept of frustration by specified conditions.

What are the reasons for obtaining a divorce?

It’s conceded in all authorities that public coverage, high morals, and society’s interests demand that marital relationship ought to be surrounded with each protects and its severance be permitted only in the way and for a reason given by legislation. Divorce isn’t favored or invited and is allowed just for grave motives.

In contemporary Hindu law, each of the three concepts of Divorce has been Divorce or recognized can be obtained on the grounds of any of these.

Divorce about the fault concept, and enshrined nine fault grounds in Section 13(1) where both the husband or wife could sue for Divorce, along with two fault grounds at Section 13(2) where spouse alone could seek out Divorce.

Back in 1964, with the amendment, definite clauses of Section 13(1) were amended in the shape of Section 13(1A), thus understanding two reasons for this breakdown of their marriage. The 1976 amendment Act added two new error grounds of Divorce to get spouse & a new section 13B for Divorce by mutual consent.

The various grounds where a decree of Divorce is available are as follows-

Adultery: While adultery might not have been known as a criminal offense in most nations, the matrimonial offense of the fault ground of adultery is known in most. Despite the Shastric Hindu law, where Divorce hadn’t been understood, adultery was detained in the most unequivocal terms.Therefore, intercourse with all the latter or former wives of a polygamous marriage isn’t adultery.

Sex with the second spouse will amount to adultery.

Though initially a divorce may be allowed only if such partner had been living in adultery, from the Marriage Laws Amendment Act, 1976, the current position under the Hindu Marriage Act is that it believes even the only Act of devoting sufficient to its decree of Divorce.

Since adultery is a crime against the union, it’s essential to establish that the marriage was subsisting in the time of the Act of adultery. Besides, it follows that unless you voluntarily consent to the action, there may be no adultery. If the spouse can establish that the co-respondent raped her, then the husband wouldn’t be eligible for Divorce.

Back in Swapna Ghose v. Sadanand Ghose, the wife discovered her husband and the adulteress to be lying in precisely the same bed during the night and additional proof that was captured of the acquaintances that the husband had been residing together with the adulteress as husband and husband is adequate proof of adultery. The simple fact of the matter is the direct evidence of adultery is quite rare.

The threat of adultery may be demonstrated by:

1. Circumstantial evidence

2. Contracting venereal disease


The idea of cruelty is a shifting concept. The contemporary notion of cruelty contains both physical and mental cruelty. Acts of cruelty are behavioral signs stimulated by various aspects in the life span of partners and their environment, and consequently, every case needs to be determined on the grounds of its group of facts. While physical cruelty is simple to determine, it’s tough to state what psychological cruelty is made up of. Maybe, psychological cruelty is the deficiency of this conjugal kindness, which inflicts the pain of such a level and length that it negatively impacts the health, bodily or mental, of their partner on whom it is imposed. In Pravin Mehta v. Inderjeet Mehta, the Court has described psychological cruelty because the condition of mind.

Some Instances of Cruelty are as follows:

  • False accusations of adultery or unchastity.
  • Demand of dowry.
  • Refusal to possess marital intercourse/children.
  • Impotence.
  • Birth of kid.
  • Drunkenness.
  • Wife’s composing false complaints to the company of their husband.
  • Incompatibility of nature.

What Doesn’t amount to cruelty:

  • Regular wear & tear of married life.
  • Desertion a se.
  • Outbursts of temper rancor



Desertion signifies the rejection by a single party of all of the union’s obligations – that the permanent forsaking or abandonment of one partner from another with no reasonable cause and without the consent of another. It means an entire repudiation of marital responsibility.

The next five requirements must represent desertion; they need to co-exist to introduce a ground for Divorce:

  • The Factum of separation
  • Animus deserdendi (purpose to desert);
  • Desertion with No reasonable cause;
  • Desertion without permission of another party;
  • Statutory period of two years must have run out before a petition is presented.

The statutory period of 2 years should have run out until a request is presented.

Back in Bipinchandra v. Prabhavati that the Supreme Court held that in which the respondent leaves the matrimonial house with a goal to the desert, he won’t be guilty of desertion if afterward, he shows a tendency to reunite & has been prevented from doing this by the petitioner.



As soon as the other party has ceased to become Hindu by conversion into some other faith, e.g., Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, it’s a legitimate ground for Divorce.



Insanity as a ground of Divorce gets the following two prerequisites –

I ) The respondent was incurable of unsound mind;

Ii) The respondent was affected continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a type. To this extent, the petitioner can’t reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.



Contagiousness of both leprosy and gruesome outward manifestations is accountable for generating psychology where individuals not just shuns the business of lepers but also look at them scornfully. Therefore, it’s supplied as a ground for Divorce.


Venereal Disease

It’s a ground for Divorce if it’s communicable by character no matter the period where the respondent was afflicted by it. The floor is created, if it’s revealed that the illness is in deadly form. It doesn’t have to happen to be hauled to the petitioner (even when performed innocently).



“Renunciation of this planet” is a ground for Divorce just under Hindu law, since the planet’s renunciation is a usual Hindu notion. Modern codified Hindu law specifies a partner could seek Divorce if another party has renounced the world, and it has entered a sacred order. A man who does this can be thought of to be civilly dead. Such renunciation by joining a religious order has to be definite & complete.


Presumption Of Death

Under the Act, a man is assumed to be dead, if he/she hasn’t yet been heard of as being alive for seven decades. The burden of proof that the respondent’s whereabouts aren’t known for its requisite period is about the petitioner under most of the matrimonial legislation. This is a presumption of worldwide approval. It assists proof in cases where it could be exceedingly hard or even impossible to show that actuality. A decree of Divorce granted under this clause is legitimate & successful, also though it subsequently transpires that the respondent was, in reality, alive in the time once the decree has been passed.


Grounds provided to spouse for Divorce:

Pre-Act Polygamous Marriage

By Way of Example, the instance of Venkatame v. Patil

A person had two wives, one of whom sued for Divorce, and as the request was pending, he divorced the next spouse. Then he averred that because he had been left only with a single spouse, and the appeal ought to be dismissed. The CourtCourt refused the plea.

This kind of reason can be obtained if both the unions are legitimate unions & another spouse (2nd wife) must be current when filing the request. But today, this earth is not any longer of practical significance.

Non-Resumption Of Cohabitation Following A Decree/Order Of Care

Repudiation Of Marriage

This provision provides a ground for Divorce to the spouse once the marriage was solemnized until she attained the age of fifteen decades. She’s repudiated the union, but until age eighteen. Such repudiation might be express (spoken or written words) or implied from the spouse (left spouse & refused to return ). Furthermore, this right (inserted by the 1976 amendment) has just a retrospective effect, i.e., it could be invoked no matter how the marriage was solemnized before or after such modification.

The Supreme Court and Law Committee believe the execution of this type of concept for a blessing to parties that to get just one or the other reasons cannot look for the Decree of Divorce. Therefore from the view of the Supreme Court and Law Commission of India, it’s extremely vital to ensure it is a unique and independent ground mission that debut of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, as a distinctive floor will do any people well.


Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 mostly, there are three concepts under which Divorce has been allowed:

(I) Guilt concept or Fault theory,

(ii) Consent theory,

(iii) Supervening situation theory.


The Irretrievable breakdown concept of Divorce would be the fourth largest and also the most controversial concept in legal jurisprudence, based on the principle that union is a marriage of two men predicated on a love affair and admiration for one another. If anyone of them is hampered because of some reason and in the event, the matrimonial connection between the spouses reaches such an extent in where it gets entirely irreparable, that’s a point where neither of these spouses could live peacefully with one another and get the advantages of matrimonial relations than it is far better to dissolve the union as today there’s not any purpose of extending such a relationship, which exist only in name rather than in fact.

The breakdown of this connection is assumed de facto. The truth is that parties to the union are residing separately for the relatively more extended period (say a couple of years), together with almost any reasonable cause (such as cruelty, adultery, desertion) or perhaps with no reasonable justification (which reveals that the unwillingness of those parties or probably of one of those party to reside together) and each of their efforts to reunite neglected, it is going to be presumed by legislation that connection is dead today.

Recently, the Supreme Court Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli has advocated an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, where either partner could cite an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a reason to search for the Divorce. Expressing the concern that Divorce wouldn’t be allowed to be allowed in several instances where unions were virtually dead on account of the lack of the supply of irretrievable breakdown, the CourtCourt firmly urged incorporating this concept from the law in light of this change of circumstances.

The Court found that public interest requires the marital status to be provided so much as possible and, when possible, be preserved. But, where a union was shattered beyond any expectation of being mended, the public interest demands the recognition of this actuality. The ruling notes that there’s not an acceptable way where a partner could be forced to resume life using the consort and situations causing distress shouldn’t be permitted to continue indefinitely since the legislation must satisfactorily answer the requirements of their society. The deep justification is that in conditions when there is simply no opportunity to live again together or beyond repair, it would be useless to maintain the marital tie living in this situation. This ground of irretrievable breakdown is needed. But it ought not to be unaware of the floor; when introduced, it should provide safeguards to ensure that no party is exploited.


Strong Points:

The jurists are propounding the sole merit of this concept. A union, which in practice is regarded as a religious association, ought to be dependent on grounds where a stable marriage is constructed – which is tolerance, modification, and respecting each other. If someone of those parties to the union isn’t prepared to live with another party, the connection won’t be a joyful affair. Stretching such a relationship will do no great. Instead, it will create frustration and hatred among the parties for one another. Therefore, to guard the sanctity of marriage, decrease the number of unions, and stop from becoming wasted the valuable years of their spouses’ lifetime, it’s vital to violate such an association.



The Law Commission Of India in Chapter 4 of this 71st report has dealt in detail the demerits of this irretrievable breakdown concept.

(I) It’ll make Divorce easy. It will permit the spouses or to some of the spouses to dissolve the union from their enjoyment.

(ii) It will enable the guilty partner to make the most of his own mistake by becoming separated and dissolving your union.



In my view, Hindus believe marriage for a sacred bond. The idea of being divorced was too extreme for its Indian society afterward. On the other hand, the period has shifted; scenarios have changed; the societal ladder has now turned. The legislation provides a means to escape an unpleasant marriage by looking for Divorce in a court of law enforcement. The real benefactors of this supply are girls who no longer need to quietly suffer the harassment or abuse brought on to them by their husbands.

However, the way the judiciary is handling the topic of an irretrievable break from the union, it’s feared it will completely pause the method of associations. Each concept has its own negative and positive characteristics. So the lawmakers of the nation must take care of the issue in a cautious manner after considering in detail its potential consequences.


Vaishvi Khare
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