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Report No. 71

1.3. Suggestion analysed.-

A suggestion has been made by a distinguished jurist to the effect that the following ground of divorce should be added to section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:-

"That the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the parties had been living apart for a period, not less than five (or ten) years, immediately preceding the presentation of the petition."

It has been stated in support of this suggestion that the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 has proved to be inadequate to deal with the question where the marriage has proved to be a complete failure, and that a social reform is imperative in the field. Proof of such a breakdown would be that the husband and wife have separated and have been living apart for, say, a period of five or ten years and it has become impossible to resurrect the marriage or to re-unite the parties. It is stated that once it is known that there are no prospects of the success of the marriage, to drag the legal tie acts as a cruelty to the spouse and gives rise to crime and even abuse of religion to obtain annulment of marriage.

It is further pointed out that the Muslim, Christian and Parsee marriage laws allow divorce more easily than the Hindu law and it is only the Hindus who are put under severe restrictions and have to resort to conversion in several cases. This social discrimination in personal life ought to be removed, particularly in view of the fact that many Hindu marriages are brought about at an early age without the consent of the parties and, in consequence, break down at a later stage. Finally, it is stated that the Hindu law of divorce should be liberalised and brought in conformity with the modern trends in Europe and elsewhere, as well as with the law applicable to the other communities in the country. The suggestion sums up the essence of the proposal in these terms:-

"The essence of the proposal is that the Hindu marriage should be allowed to be dissolved if the husband and wife have lived apart for a period of say 5/10 years and the marriage is irretrievably broken due to incompatibility, clash of personality or similar other reasons, as is permissible under many systems of law of advanced countries."

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 - Irretrievable breakdown of Marriage as a Ground of Divorce Back

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