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Report No. 59

Appendix 1

Letter from The Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs

D.O. No. F. 14(4)/68-Leg. II

New Delhi-110001.
January 17, 1974.

My Dear Chairman,

Various suggestions for amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 were received in the past from some Members of Parliament and the general public. Those suggestions were examined and a draft Bill was prepared incorporating some of the main amendments proposed to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act. A copy of the draft Bill is enclosed.

2. The amendments proposed in the draft Bill mainly seek to liberalise the divorce provisions so as to reduce the period of waiting for divorce after a decree of judicial separation or restitution of conjugal rights and to eliminate the period of restriction for remarriage after divorce. On the basis of the observations made by the Madras High Court in its two judgments, Lakshmi Ammal v. Ramaswamy Naicker, AIR 1960 Madras 6 and Gown Ammal v. Thulasi Ammal AIR 1962 Madras 510, suitable amendments have also been proposed in sections 11 and 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act and in the corresponding provision in the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

3. A proposal for making suitable provision in law to provide relief to parties under an obligation to give maintenance under section 488 of the Criminal Procedure Code was received from some Members of Parliament. Provision has been made in the draft Bill to permit a right of divorce only to the wife against the erring husband. The Commission may, however, consider the question whether, in such circumstances, the husband against whom the order for separate maintenance has been passed may also be given t le right to petition for divorce, having regard to the fact that the parties are practically living apart. This suggestion has not been incorporated in the Bill, but may be considered by the Commission.

4. As the matter is of sufficient importance, I feel the same may be examined by the Law Commission. I shall be grateful if the matter is processed in the Commission on a priority basis and a report forwarded to the Government at an early date.

5. The relevant files of the Ministry are being sent separately to the Commission. With warm personal regards.

Yours sincerely,

H.R. Gokhale

Dr. P.B. Gajendragadkar, Chairman,
Law Commission,
New Delhi.

End: As above.

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

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