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Important Extract of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:
Restitution of conjugal rights (Section 9). – When either the husband or the wife has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply, by petition to the District Court, for restitution of conjugal rights and the Court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition and that there is no legal ground why the application should not be granted, may decree restitution of conjugal rights accordingly.
Explanation.- Where a question arises whether there has been reasonable excuse for withdrawal from the society, the burden of proving reasonable excuse shall be on the person who has withdrawn from the society.
Judicial Separation (Section 10). – (1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition praying for a decree of judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of section 13 and
in the case of a wife on any of the grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented.
(2) Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it should no longer be obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent, but the Court may, on the application by petition of either party and on being satisfied of the truth of the statements
made in such petition, rescind the decree, if he considers it just and reasonable to do so.
2. Nullity of marriage and divorce:
Void Marriages (Section 11).- Any marriage solemnized after the commencement of this Act, shall be null and void and may , on a petition presented by either party thereto against the other party, be so declared by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of
the conditions specified in clause (i), (iv) and (v) of section 5.
Voidable Marriages (Section 12).- (1) Any marriage solemnized; whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely;-
(a) that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the impotence of therespondent; or
(b) that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of section 5; or
(c) that the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent of the guardian in marriage of the petitioner was required under section 5 as it stood immediately before the commencement of the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978 (Act no.2 of 1978) the consent of such guardian was obtained by force or by fraud as to the nature of ceremony or as to any material fact or circumstance concerning the respondent; or
(d) that the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no petition for annulling a marriage-
(a) on the ground specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained if-
(i) the petition presented more than one year after the force had ceased to operate, or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered; or
(ii) the petitioner has, with his for her full consent, lived with the party to the marriage as husband or wife after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered;
(b) on the ground specified in clause (d) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained unless the Court is satisfied –
(i) that the petitioner was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the facts alleged;
(ii) that the proceedings have been instituted in the case of marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act within one year of such commencement and in the case of marriage solemnized after such commencement within one year from the date of marriage; and
(iii) that marital intercourse with the consent of the petitioner has not taken place since the discovery by the petitioner of the existence of the said ground.
Divorce (Section 13). (1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the othe r party-
(i) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or
(i-a) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or
(i-b) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or
(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
Explanation.- In this clause-
(a) the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, arrested or incomplete velopment of mind, psychopathic disorder or any disorder or disability of mind and includes schizophrenia ;
(b) the expression “psychopathic disorder” means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not included sub-normality of intelligence) which results in abornormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the other party, and whether or not it requires or is susceptible to medical treatment; or
(iv) has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or
(v) has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or
(vi) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or
(vii) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive.
Explanation. – In this sub-section, the expression “desertion” means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent of or against the wish of such party, and includes the willful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage, and its grammatical variations and cognate expression shall be construed accordingly.
(1-A) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may also present a petition for dissolution of the marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground-
(i) that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties; or
(ii) that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.
(2) A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage by a decree ofdivorce on the ground,-
(i) in the case of any marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act, that the husband had married again before such commencement or that any other wife of the husband married before such commencement was alive at the time of the solemnization
of the marriage of the petitioner:
Provided that in either case, the other wife is alive at the time of presentation of the petition; or
(ii) that in a suit under section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (Act no.78 of 1956), or in a proceeding under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Act no.2 of 1974) or under the corresponding section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act no.5 of 1898), a decree or order, as the case may be, has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife notwithstanding that she was living apart and that since the passing of such decree or order , cohabitation between
the parties has not been resumed for one year or upwards;
(iv) that her marriage (whether consummated or not) was solemnized before she attained the age of fifteen years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining the age but before attaining the age of eighteen years.
Explanation. – This clause applies whether the marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976 (Act no.68 of 1976).
Maintenance pendent elite and expenses of proceedings (Section 24).- Where in any proceedings under this Act, it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the
necessary expenses of the proceedings , it may, on the application of the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceedings, such sum as, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the Court to be reasonable.
Provided that the application for the payment of the expenses of the proceeding and such monthly sum during the proceeding, shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the wife or the husband, as the case may be.
Custody of children (Section 26).-In any proceeding under this Act, the Court may, from time to time, pass such interim orders and, make such provisions in the decree as it may deem just and proper with respect to the custody, maintenance and education of minor
children, consistently with their wishes, wherever possible, and may, alter the decree, upon application by petition for the purpose: make from time to time, all such orders and provisions with respect to the custody, maintenance and education of such children as might have been made by such decree or interim orders in case the proceeding for obtaining such decree were still pending, and the Court may, also from time to time revoke, suspend or vary any such orders and provisions previously made.
Provided that the application with respect to the maintenance and education of the minor children, pending the proceeding for obtaining such decree, shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the respondent.