What are Divorce Laws?

(l) Any Any marriage which is solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Hindu marriage Act, may be Dissolved by a decree of divorce, by either the Husband or the wife presenting the petition on the following grounds:
(i) Firstly having had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse

(ia) Secondly has treated the petitioner with cruelty after marriage; or

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

(ii) Fourthly has changed is religion and 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 a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

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Explanation: In this clause-
(a) the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind and includes schizophrenia;

(b) the expression “psychopathic disorder” means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including sub­ normality of intelligence) which results in abnormally 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, and 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 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 expressions shall be construed accordingly;

(lA) 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 upwards after the passing of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.

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(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 such 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; or
(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, 1956, or in a proceeding under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (or under the corresponding section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 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.

Amendments in Anti-Dowry Harassment Law

Plans are afoot to amend a criminal law that will allow compromise and settlement between
husband and wife at the onset of trial in dowry harassment cases, a move that comes after
frequent misuse of the provision to trouble men and their near relatives.

Under the proposal, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code will be made a compoundable
offence with the permission of the courts as suggested by the Law Commission and Justice
Malimath Committee.

“A draft note for the Union Cabinet seeking to amend Section 498A of the IPC, making it
compoundable, has been sent to the Law Ministry for drawing up the draft bill,” a Home
Ministry official said.


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Now, the offence is non-compoundable and non-bailable which provides for immediate arrest
of the accused. Conciliatory effort by the warring sides is virtually impossible. A
husband or his family members are presumed to be guilty till they prove their innocence
in the court. The guilty is punishable with a jail term of up to three years. There have
been allegations that in many cases, husbands and their relatives are often charged with
false dowry harassment cases by their wives or her family members when some marital
problems arise. If the offence is made compoundable, misuse of the law may come down
hugely as there would be scope for initiating conciliation proceedings and out-of-court

Permission from a court will be a guarantee against attempts where a wife may be
compelled into a compromise by her husband or in-laws, the Home Ministry official said.
Now, if a dowry harassment case is proved wrong or proved that the law is misused, only
Rs 1,000 penalty is slapped. But the amendment provides for a Rs 15,000 fine. Another new
section is expected to be inserted to allow an accused to escape jail by paying a
penalty. Opposing the move to dilute the anti-dowry provision of the law, senior Supreme
Court lawyer Indira Jaising said it is a law which gives relief and protection to
harassed woman and it should be continued. “Violence against women is a violation of
human rights. There is no compromise of that. I would disagree with the government move,”
Jaising said. The Supreme Court had in a judgement in 2010 said as it stood now, the law
had become a “weapon in the hands of disgruntled women”. It had also observed that
serious re-look of the entire provision is warranted by the Legislature. “It is a matter
of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a large
number of complaints. The tendency of over-implication is also reflected in a very large
number of cases,” the apex court had said. Section 498A was introduced in early eighties
to protect married women from being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives
involving newly-married brides. A spate of dowry deaths in Delhi and elsewhere led to a
campaign by some leading women members of Parliament pushing the government to bring the

A punishment involving imprisonment of up to three years is provided in the present law.
The expression ‘cruelty’has been defined in wide terms so as to include inflicting
physical or mental harm to the body or health of the woman and indulging in acts of
harassment with a view to coerce her or her relations to meet any unlawful demand for any
property or valuable security. The Law Commission recommended that the offence under
Section 498A should be made a compoundable offence with the permission of Court. Justice
Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice Reform also recommended that it should be made
compoundable as well as bailable.

Last year, the Home Ministry had asked all state governments to be judicious in slapping
Section 498A of IPC in matrimonial disputes as the provision may be used as “weapons
rather than shields by disgruntled wives”. In an advisory to the states and union
territories, the Ministry had asked them to instruct their police officers not to
automatically arrest a person when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered
but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down
flowing from Section 41, CrPC (When police may arrest without warrant).


Divorce by Mutual Consent is the simplest and easiest way of dissolving marriage. Procedure for Mutual Consent Divorce is laid down as under for easy understanding:-

> Both Parties ie Husband and Wife have to reach to Mutual understanding and agreement regarding terms and conditions for Divorce.

> On the basis of settlement and agreement, petition for Mutual Consent is drafted. Under Hindu Marriages, such Petition is filed under section 13 B of the Hindu Marriage Act. Under Christian Marriages, section 10 A of the Indian Divorce Act. Under secular or civil marriages, section 28 of the Special Marriage Act.

> Divorce Petition will be drafted which will include terms of settlement agreed between parties.

> Such Mutual Consent Divorce Petition shall be filed in the Court as court procedure.

> Matter will come up for hearing in the Court and generally parties have to be present before the Court and their statement is recorded.

> After recording of statements, First Motion will be passed.

> Court gives six months time to parties to reconsider their decision. This is called cooling period generally.

> Aforesaid steps shall be repeated. Statement of parties will be recorded again.

> After such recording of statement, Court will grant pass order and judgement, decree for divorce is granted.

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Some states allow statement of one party to be recorded through power of attorney.

Some Courts along with power of attorney also conduct video conferencing for Mutual Consent Divorce. This process is quite useful and advisable in case party or parties living outside India. Thus, for Divorce by Mutual Consent for NRI is possible without physical presence. It saves time, energy and money.

Six months Waiver in Mutual Consent Divorce:-

Law specifically provided six months gap or waiting period between First Motion and Second Motion. Prior to 2009, compliance of six months waiting was not mandatory. But, in 2009, Supreme Court made it mandatory and took away the power of the Family Court or the District Court to waive of period of six months. But, Supreme Court still has power to waive of the period of six months. Thus, Supreme Court is the only Court which has the power to dissolve the marriage in less than six months.

Maintainance is an integral part of all matrimonial proceedings. Application for maintenance can be moved by either of the spouse who does not have the sufficient means to maintain him/her self. Maintenance can also be classified in to two parts:

Interim Maintenance: Such maintenance is provided during the pendency of the case in the court. The underlying idea behind giving such maintenance is that one party should not loose and stand on a weaker footing at the time of contesting case. Quantum of such maintenance is dependant on variety of factor but most important aspect is the status of the parties prior to the filing of the case and the income/salary of the spouse against whom such maintenance is claimed. Court always tries to bring both the party at equal platform and footing.

Permanent Maintenance: It is awarded at the time when whole case is finally decided. It could be periodical or monthly depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case.