Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has certain provisions and grounds by which couples who get married under this act can get divorced.
In this article we outline the top 5 reasons why people move for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.
1. Cruelty- Section 13 (1) (ia) of the act allows for dissolution of the marriage if either party has been physically or mentally abused. While physical cruelty is easier to determine based on the extent of injury caused to the body. To ascertain mental cruelty acts such as demand for dowry, accusations of adultery, and alcoholism are considered grounds of mental cruelty. A further extension for grounds of divorce by cruelty is when the spouse cannot tolerate co-living with the other spouse. Physical abuse/cruelty is also an offense under section 498A of the Indian Penal code.
2. Desertion- In simple words this means when either spouse abandons the other for a continuous period of two years before the filing of a divorce petition. This means that the spouse leaves without any probable cause and remains in no contact. The intent of desertion plays an important role when deciding it as a ground for divorce. In section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage act, it states ‘wilful neglect’ of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage. Therefore, desertion as a ground for divorce is considered if it has been the case for continuous period of 2 years.
3. Adultery- Adultery in simple words is having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse while being married. The spouse who wants to fie for divorce under this ground needs to substantiate it with sufficient evidence and have proof that he/she is married to the respondent and the latter has engaged in voluntary sexual intercourse with any person who is not the spouse of the respondent.
4. Conversion of religion- Under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the dissolution of a marriage can be moved if the spouse converts from one religion to another. To use conversion of religion as a ground for divorce, the spouse should have gone through an official ceremony and converted to another religion that is a non-Hindu faith and that the party has ceased to follow the faith of Hinduism. Conversion as a ground for divorce becomes a necessary ground for divorce when conversion was done only for the purpose of marriage and post espousal, reconverts to the prior faith.
5. Mental disorder/Unsound mind- Section 13(1) (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act allows for dissolution of the marriage if the party has been “incurably of unsound mind”, or “Suffering continuously from a mental disorder” to the extent that the petitioner cannot be expected to live with the respondent. A person can move for annulment of the marriage if the other party is incapable of understanding the consequences of his/her actions, is suffering from a mental illness to the extent that it affects the normal functioning of a person, is continuous or even happens intermittently.
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