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Report No. 59

2.23. Situation one of cruelty.-

Reverting to the basis on which an application under the Code can be founded, we may state that it is the neglect or refusal of the husband to maintain his wife, as a result of which, she is compelled to leave her husband and stay separately. It is possible to take the view that where a wife is thus compelled to leave the shelter of her husband and seek the remedy provided by the Code, the husband, in effect, is guilty of cruelty towards his wife. We have decided to recommend1 that cruelty simpliciter should be a ground for judicial separation under section 10(1)(b) and we are also recommending that it should be a ground for a decree of divorce under section 13. In the light of this recommendation, it may not be unreasonable to treat cruelty, involved in the conduct of the husband which drives the wife to seek for relief under the Code, as falling within the concept of cruelty contemplated by sections 10 and 13.

1. See sections 10(1)(b) and 13(1), H.M.A. as proposed to be amended.

Therefore, on principle, the fact that the wife has chosen to take recourse to the Code of Criminal Procedure and not to sections 10 or 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, does not make a substantial difference to her case that her husband has treated her with cruelty. If that be so, we see no reason why she should not be given the right to claim a decree for divorce, and that, in fact, is the proposal which gives an additional right to the women who has been abandoned by her husband; and, on grounds of social justice, the proposal is, in our view, well conceived and should become a part of the Act.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954 Back

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