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Grounds For Divorce Under Different Personal Laws In India

Published on 28 Mar 2019 by Shivi

A contested divorce is one of the two kinds of divorce in India wherein one spouse files a divorce petition against the other. A contested divorce is also called a one-sided divorce as the divorce petition is filed by one spouse and contested by the other. A petition for contested divorce can only be filed on a valid ground for divorce with the appropriate court in India.

Under the Indian laws, the marriage and divorce processes are governed by the personal laws applicable to an individual. Different personal laws applicable over Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, and Christians lay down different grounds for divorce in India on the basis of which a contested divorce petition can be filed by a spouse.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The following are the grounds for divorce in India mentioned under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

  1. Adultery: Adultery constitutes the act of having sexual relationships outside marriage. Adultery is no longer a criminal offence but a divorce petition can be filed if the spouse is in an adulterous relationship.
  2. Cruelty: Any kind of mental and physical injury that may cause danger to life, limb, and health is a valid ground for divorce.
  3. Desertion: If one of the spouses voluntarily abandons his/her partner for a continuous period of 2 years, the abandoned spouse can file a divorce case on the ground of desertion.
  4. Conversion: If the spouse converts into another religion, the other spouse may file a contested divorce case.
  5. Mental Disorder: Incurable mental disorder and insanity that renders the spouse incapable of performing the marital duties is a valid ground for divorce.
  6. Venereal Disease: Venereal diseases of communicable form suffered by one spouse is a valid ground for divorce for the other.
  7. Renunciation of the world: A spouse is entitled to file for a divorce if the other renounces all worldly affairs by becoming a recluse or ‘sanyasi’.
  8. Not heard of being alive: If a person is not seen or heard of being alive for a continuous period of 7 years, the person is presumed to be dead. This is a valid reason to file a contested divorce against the spouse.
  9. No resumption of cohabitation: If the spouses are unable to cohabitate after separation, the spouses have the option to file a one-sided divorce.
  10. Leprosy: Previously, if the spouse suffered from leprosy of virulent and incurable form, the other spouse could file a divorce. However, this ground has been removed by the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 from all personal laws.

Under the Hindu laws, a wife is also entitled to file a one-sided divorce petition on any of the following additional grounds:

  1. If the husband is accused of rape, bestiality and sodomy.
  2. If the marriage is solemnized before the Hindu Marriage Act and the husband married another woman with the first wife being alive.
  3. If the girl was married before the age of 15 and wishes to annul the marriage before she attains 18 years of age.
  4. If the husband refuses to cohabitate with the wife for 1 year after the judgment of maintenance awarded by the court.

Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939

Divorce petitions for judicial divorce in Islam is governed by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939. Under the Act, a Muslim woman can file a contested divorce petition on the following grounds:

  1. If the whereabouts of the husband are unknown for the past 4 years.
  2. If the husband is unable to provide maintenance to the wife for the last 2 years.
  3. If the husband has been imprisoned for 7 or more years.
  4. If the girl was married before the age of 15 and wishes to annul the marriage before she attains 18 years of age.
  5. If the husband subjects the wife to cruelty of any kind.

Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936

The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 governs the marriage and divorce process in Parsis in India. Under the Act, a contested divorce can be filed through a divorce advocate in India by a Parsi couple on any of the following grounds for divorce:

  1. If the spouse is absent for 7 continuous years.
  2. If the marriage is not consummated within one year.
  3. If the spouse is of unsound mind. However, it is required to prove that the other spouse did not have the information about the unsoundness of mind at the time of marriage and the divorce petition must be filed within 3 years of marriage.
  4. If the wife gets pregnant by some other man. However, it is required to prove that the husband did not have the information about the incident at the time of marriage and the divorce must be filed within 2 years of marriage.
  5. If the spouse has committed adultery, bigamy, rape, or any other type of perverse sexual act.
  6. If the spouse subjects the other spouse to cruelty.
  7. If the spouse is suffering from venereal disease.
  8. If the husband forces the wife into prostitution.
  9. If the husband is imprisoned for 7 years or more.
  10. If the spouse has deserted the other for 2 or more years.
  11. If the husband refuses to cohabitate with the wife for 1 year after the judgment of maintenance awarded by the court.

Indian Divorce Act, 1869

The Indian Divorce Act, 1869 is applicable over divorce in case of Christians. The Act provides the following reasons for which a contested divorce petition can be filed through a divorce lawyer in India.

  1. If the spouse has committed adultery.
  2. If the spouse has converted to another religion
  3. If the spouse is of unsound mind.
  4. If the spouse is suffering from a communicable venereal disease for at least 2 years before the filing of the divorce.
  5. If the spouse has not been seen or heard alive for a period of 7 or more years.
  6. If there is no restitution of conjugal rights for at least 2 years.
  7. If the spouse has subjected the other to cruelty of any kind.
  8. If the husband is guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality.

Legistify connects you with the best divorce attorneys in India who can help you in filing your contested divorce in India! You can call us at 08468833013 or send us an email at [email protected].



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