Report No. 71
4.9. Objection of Department of Social Welfare considered.-
The Government of India, Ministry of Education, Department of Social Welfare, has expressed the review1 that "making irretrievable breakdown of marriage" a ground for grant of a decree of divorce is redundant in the light of the fact that sufficient grounds covering 'irretrievable breakdown of marriage' exist in the Hindu Marriage Act and the Marriage Laws Amendment Act, 1976, for the purpose of seeking divorce.
We have given careful consideration to this view, but are unable to subscribe to it. As pointed out earlier,2 the grounds contained in the Hindu Marriage Act, even after its amendment in 1976, do not specifically deal with irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Some of the amendments made in the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976 no doubt take into account, by necessary implication, irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a relevant factor. There is, however, no ground in the Act, even after the amendments of 1976, which expressly provides for divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
As indicated earlier,3 the purpose of the amendment suggested by us is to provide for divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage even if one of the spouses does not join together in the filing of the petition, or even opposes, such a petition. Our amendment further suggests that the living apart of the husband and wife for a sufficient length of time would be presumptive proof of breakdown of.marriage. There is no provision in the existing law to meet such an eventuality. It may also be reiterated that the change in law recommended by us would obviate the necessity of washing dirty linen of marital life in public.
1. S. No. 33.
2. Paras. 2.2 to 2.7, supra.
3. Para. 2.5, supra.