DIVORCE UNDER HINDU LAW
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 came into existence, eight years after the independence of the country. Divorce between two persons married under the Hindu Marriage Act is also governed by the same Act. Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act deals with the grounds on which the parties can seek a decree of divorce from a competent court having jurisdiction to entertain such petition.
Grounds for Divorce (under Sec 13)
A petition for divorce may be presented by either the husband or wife for dissolving the marriage on the following grounds:
That the other party –
1. has after the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse with any other person; or
2. has after the marriage treated the petitioner with cruelty
3. has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition,
4. has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion,
5. has been incurably of unsound mind or has been continuously or intermittently from a mental disorder that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with such a person,
6. has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy,
7. has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form
8. has renounced the world by entering any religious order.
9. Has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by persons who would have naturally heard of it, had that party been alive.
No petition for divorce can be filed by either party unless one year has elapsed since the date of marriage.
Under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act. 1955, no petition for divorce can be filed within one year of the marriage. But in case the petitioner’s case is of exceptional hardship, High Court is empowered to grand leave to file the case before the expiry of one year.
Additional grounds for divorce by a wife
In addition to the grounds stated above a wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage on the following grounds.
1. Where the marriage was solemnized before the commencement of this Act, and the husband had married again before such commencement or that any other wife of the husband whom he had married before such commencement was alive at the time of the marriage. (In such a case its necessary that the other wife is alive at the time of presentation of the petition).
2. That the husband has after the marriage been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality.
3. That her marriage whether consummated or not was solemnized before she attained the age of 15 years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of 18 years.
Divorce by mutual consent
Where both the parties mutually agree that they want to divorce a petition may be presented on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
Thereafter both the parties have to make a motion to the court not earlier than 6 months and not later than 18 months from the date of presentation of the petition and the court after hearing the parties and on being satisfied will pass a decree of divorce.
Filing of petition
Every petition shall be presented to the District Court within the jurisdiction of which-
a. The marriage was solemnized
b. The other party at the presentation of the petition resides; or
c. The parties to the marriage last resided.