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The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will be made an additional ground for divorce under an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act approved by the cabinet Thursday.

“This would provide safeguards to parties who file petitions for grant of divorce by mutual consent but who wilfully avoid coming to court thus causing harassment to the other party,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The amendment would be effected through the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 that would be tabled in parliament.

Explaining the rationale for the move, recommended by the Law Commission of India in its 217th report, Soni said various grounds for the dissolution of a marriage through divorce are laid down in section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

These grounds include adultery, cruelty, desertion, conversion to another religion, unsoundness of mind, virulent and incurable form of leprosy, venereal disease in a communicable form, renouncement of the world and not heard as being alive for a period of seven years or more.

Section 27 of the Special Marriage Act also lays down similar grounds.

Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 28 of the Special Marriage Act provide for divorce by mutual consent. They say that if such a petition is not withdrawn six months after its presentation or not later than 18 months, then a court may grant the divorce.

“However, it has been observed that the parties who have filed a petition for mutual consent suffer in case one of the parties abstains himself or herself from court proceedings and keeps the divorce proceedings inconclusive,” Soni pointed out.

“This has been causing considerable hardship to the party in dire need of divorce and hence the amendment,” she added.

The Law Commission’s recommendation apart, the Supreme Court had on two occasions observed and recommended that irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be incorporated as another ground for granting a divorce, Soni said

14 Responses to “Irretrievable breakdown of marriage will be ground for divorce”

  1. Pavan

    My wife had put up for a contested divorce..nw we both hv come to a understandng that i hv to give her a permanent alimony of 2 lacs..we hv put our aplication on ths undrstndng to th judge…plz confirm th process ahead…also whn do i hand over the DD to her…can she withdraw in nt gtng proper reasoning from my advocate….plz guide

    • hERO

      U should hand over the alimony when statutary period of 6 months completed and infront of court, during final hearing.

  2. krishna sai.

    The concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriages is an excellant decision taken by the Government of India. 99% of the cases
    do appear due to negligence either by the husband or the wife. The importnant note for consideration is that when the wife does not
    cope up to live with her husband and only by the loop holes available in the court tries to harass the husband in such cases it is oasis found
    in the desert. Hence this is very good decision taken by the Govt. But here the children are affected and hence, it is the ripe time for the
    Govt. to also consider revising the custody of the children as 99.99% of the couple do take care of their children and in re recent studies
    even me are doing superb job in looking after their children. Any way Hope for the best and get ready for the worst. As,
    life is not a mid summers night dream nor it is tempest it is a comedy of errors but dont take it as you like it.

    • krishna sai.

      in the last fourth line you have mnetioned as “even me are doing superb job in looking after their children” this should be
      ammended as “even men are doing superb job in looking after their children” —-Jogish.

  3. Dilip

    The Cabinet approval is a hogwash ONLY DESIGNED to help Mr. Shinde’s daughter. If there is a genuine intention to help, there should be no precondition OTHER THAN say 3 years total separation. There are 50% + cases in all courts throughout India which are matrimonial cases. Pass a “irretrievable breakdwon of marriage as a ground of Divorce and any case where a couple has lived 3 years separately, should be automatically granted divorce. SHOW SOME HUMANE CONSIDERATION – yhis life comes but once. Don’t let the fighting couples age. GIVE THEM/HIM/HER ANOTHER CHANCE.

    • RESHMA

      dear Dilip,
      Fight couples as it is dont take a chance and reconcile. Couples fight in trial court for 15 years and then Appeal to the Hon’ble Court. Is the Court to give a chance or are the parties to cease a chance themselves0. They can reconcile even when the matter is on if they wish to. This marriage petition not company petition. Time granted by the COurt is no good if chance is not ceased by parties. Any leniency will only give rouge parties a chance a further chance to torture their spouse.

  4. Aastha

    Above all, this will help to brief up and clean up the entire process of contested divorce with no mud slinging that such a process tends to bring in.

    • Dilip

      No, it won’t. Read the fine lines.This ground will only be evoked, as per the bill drafted, IF THE COUPLE HAD FIRST SOUGHT Divorce by Mutual Consent. and then either of them backs out. This can happen, perhaps in 15-20% of the cases.

  5. Arvind Singh

    Nice post, I agree with you but the most common grounds for divorce – cruelty, desertion, impotence, adultery etc. – are not only poorly defined, but are also difficult to prove.

  6. Naveen

    What about those who have had to file divorce (not through mutual consent) and whose case is being dragged on in court by the other party just to harass? Can’t they appeal on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage?

    • RESHMA

      Independently irretrivable breakdown of marriage cannot be contested. The same must be backed by instances of cruelty or desertion or one of the grounds of divorce

  7. Meenakshi

    Irretrievable breakdown of marriage ought to be ground under the Indian Divorce Act also,


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