Divorce – Section 13 Hindu Marriage Act 1955

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Divorce – Section 13 Hindu Marriage Act 1955

Section (13) Divorce –

(1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party-

(i) has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or

(ia) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or

(ib) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or

(ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or

(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

Explanation.– In this clause-

(a) the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder or any disorder or disability of mind and
includes schizophrenia ;

(b) the expression “psychopathic disorder” means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not included sub-normality of intelligence) which results in
abornormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the other party, and whether or not it requires or is susceptible to medical treatment; or

(iv) has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or

(v) has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or

(vi) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or

(vii) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive.

Explanation. – In this sub-section, the expression “desertion” means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent of or against the wish of such party, and includes the willful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage, and its grammatical variations and cognate expression shall be construed accordingly.

(1-A) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may also present a petition for the dissolution of the marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground-

(i) 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

(ii) that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upward after the passing of a decree of restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.

(2) A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground-

(i) in the case of any marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act, that the husband had married again before the commencement or that any other
wife of the husband married before such commencement was alive at the time of the solemnization of the marriage of the petitioner: Provided that in either case the other wife is alive at the time of the presentation of the petition;

(ii) that the husband has, since the solemnization of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality; or

(iii) that in a suit under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, (78 of 1956), or in a proceeding under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (Act 2 of 1974) or under corresponding Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, (5 of 1898), a decree or order, as the case may be, has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife notwithstanding that she was living apart and that since the passing of such decree or order, cohabitation between the parties has not been resumed for one year or upwards;or

(iv) that her marriage (whether consummated or not) was solemnized before she attained the age of fifteen years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of eighteen years.

Explanation.- This clause applies whether the marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Law (Amendment) Act, 1976.

Section (13-A). Alternate relief in divorce proceedings –

In any proceedings under this Act, on a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, except in so far as the petition is founded on the grounds mentioned in clauses (ii), (vi) and (vii) of subsection (1) of section 13, the Court may, if it considers it just so to do having regard to the circumstances of the case, pass instead a decree of judicial separation.

Section (13-B) Divroce by mutual consent –

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the district Court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976 (Act no.68 of 1976), 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.

(2) on the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is no t withdrawn in the meantime, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such enquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the averments of the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.

(i) The period of 6 to 18 months provided in section 13B is a period of interregnum which is intended to give time and opportunity to the parties to reflect on their move. In this transitional period the parties or either of them may have second thoughts; Suman v. Surendra Kumar, AIR 2003 Raj 155.

(ii) The period of living separately for one year must be immediately preceding the presentation of petition. The expression ‘living separately’ connotes not living like husband and wife. It has no reference to the place of living. The parties may live under the same roof and yet they may not be living as husband and wife. The parties should have no desire to perform marital obligations; Sureshta Devi v. Om Prakash, AIR 1992 SC 1904.

(iii) The period of six to eighteen months time is given in divorce by mutual consent as to give time and opportunity to the parties to reflect on their move and seek advice from relations and friends. Mutual consent should continue till the divorce decree is passed. The court should be satisfied about the bona fides and consent of the parties. If there is no consent at the time of enquiry the court gets no jurisdiction to make a decree for divorce. If the court is held to have the power to make a decree solely based on the initial petition, it negates the whole idea of mutuality. There can be unilateral withdrawal of consent. Held, that since consent of the wife was obtained by fraud and wife was not willing to consent, there could be unilateral withdrawal, of consent; Sureshta Devi v. Om Prakash, AIR 1992 SC 1904.