Grounds for Divorce in India

Grounds for Divorce in India

Judicial Separation and Divorce is defined under Section 10 and 13 of the Hindu marriage Act, 1955 respectively. A petition for divorce can be made by either of the parties by specifying the ground on which decree of divorce can be passed. After passing of the decree for judicial separation, it will no longer be obligatory for the petitioner to live with the respondent in future. According to it, there are several grounds over which a solemnized marriage can be dissolved.

Firstly, if the other party, after the solemnization of marriage had sexual intercourse with any person other than his or spouse or in other words has committed adultery, then a valid ground for divorce exists. An amendment brought by this law in 1976 specifies adultery need not be continuous in its course of occurrence. Even a single act of indulging in a sexual relationship with another person shall be enough under this section.

Grounds for divorce

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Conversion
  • Unsoundness of mind
  • Schizophrenia
  • Virulent and incurable leprosy
  • Venereal disease in communicable form
  • Entering new religious order
  • Presumption of death
  • Non-compliance with decree of restitution of conjugal rights
  • Non-compliance with a decree of judicial separation

1. Adultery

Adultery is sex outside the legal marriage. When either spouse has a sexual relationship outside marriage, it amounts to adultery.

2. Desertion

There may situations in a married life of a person where they have to live separately. It is also possible that they are unable to live together for long periods.

Desertion takes place when one of the spouses abandons the other spouse without any justifiable cause for more than two years. The abandoned spouse can seek divorce on this ground.

3. Cruelty

Mutual respect is necessary for a successful marriage. It is difficult to set the boundaries of what is respectable and what is not. But, the law has laid-down that there cannot be any cruelty between the couple.

4. Impotency

Impotence is the inability to have sexual intercourse. Traditionally, it is thought of as a husband’s inability. However, it may also be one of the grounds for divorce when the wife is unable to have sexual relations with her husband.

“Inability” means a condition which makes it impossible for one spouse to engage in sexual activity. This condition may be physical, psychological, or medical.

5. Chronic diseases

The term “chronic disease” includes both physical and mental conditions. It also includes sexually-transmitted diseases. Hindus and Muslims allow a divorce if one of the spouses has leprosy or a sexually transmitted disease. But, the other religious faiths do not.

Grounds for divorce under the dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939

The law grants a Muslim woman the right to seek divorce on the following grounds:

  • Husband’s whereabouts are unknown for a period of four years.
  • He has failed to provide maintenance to the wife for at least two years.
  • He has been under imprisonment for seven or more years.
  • The husband is unable to meet the marital obligations.
  • If the girl is married before fifteen and decides to end the relationship before she turns eighteen.
  • The husband indulges in acts of cruelty.

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