Hindu Marriage Act: Complete guide of divorce rules with new SC ruling

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Hindu Marriage Act: Complete guide of divorce rules with new SC ruling
Hindu Marriage Act: Complete guide of divorce rules with new SC ruling

New Delhi : In a path breaking ruling, Supreme Court of India on Tuesday waived off six-month mandatory cooling-off period on mutual consent.

According to the new ruling, the six-month cooling-off period mentioned in section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act 1995 is not mandatory but directory. In simpler words, a marriage can be instantly terminated if couple files a divorce on mutual consent.

A bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit ruled that a couple can file a waiver application after one week of filig divorce.

Till now, the Hindu Marriage Act grants a mandatory cooling period of six months before going ahead with the termination of a marriage.

The Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1995 deals with divorce. Section 13B (2) of Hindu Marriage Act says, “On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks, that a marriage has been solemnised and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.”

A hindu man or woman can file for divorce if his/her partner:

• has had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse

• has treated his/her partner with cruelty

• has abandoned his/her partner for at least a period of two years

• has converted to other religion from Hinduism

• has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or

• has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or

• has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or

• 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

• 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

Additionally, there are some more grounds for wives to file divorce:

• If the husband has indulged in rape, bestiality and sodomy

• If the husband has again married another woman in spite of the first wife being alive

• If she was married before the age of fifteen and renounces the marriage before she attains eighteen years of age.

• If there is no cohabitation for one year and the husband neglects the judgment of maintenance awarded to the wife by the court

To seek divorce under this section of Hindu Marriage Act, the couple must meet the below requirements:

• The parties have been living separately for a period of at least one year

• They have not been able to live together, and

• They have mutually agreed that marriage should be resolved