Report No. 71
5.3. Existing grounds of divorce.-
Take, for example, some of the grounds of divorce provided in the Hindu Marriage Act1. The Act provides for divorce on various grounds like adultery or cruelty. Such grounds should, in our opinion, be sufficient for the grant of divorce.
It would not be proper in such cases to require the additional ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage because of the said misconduct of the spouse in committing acts of adultery or cruelty. To do so would have the effect of making the present provision much more stringent. It may be that such misconduct of a spouse may also result in a large number of cases in irretrievable breakdown of marriage. The question to be considered, however, is whether in the event of such misconduct, it should be necessary to ask for further proof of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Our answer to this question is in the negative.
The various grounds of divorce provided in the Hindu Marriage Act should, therefore, be retained. It may be that there will sometimes be overlapping where the specific ground of divorce (e.g. cruelty) has also led to the parties living apart and breakdown of the marriage. However, that in itself is not a conclusive consideration for abolishing the present grounds of divorce. We do not, therefore, favour the omission of the existing grounds of divorce as an essential consequence of the adoption of irretrievable breakdown as a ground of divorce. We may note that a High Court Judge has, in her reply2, specifically stated as follows:-
"This ground should be in addition to the grounds already specified under the Hindu Marriage Act, as amended."
1. Section 13(1), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
2. S. No. 34 (under Q. 2).