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No divorce if spouse is compelled to live separately: SC

No divorce if spouse is compelled to live separately: SC


The Supreme Court has ruled that a husband or wife is not entitled to divorce if it is proved that one deserted the other due to constant torture or harassment.

For instance, if the wife due to constant harassment is compelled to leave the matrimonial home and live separately, the husband cannot invoke the ground of "desertion" as provided under the Hindu Marriages Act to obtain divorce, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Asok Kumar Ganguly said in a judgement.


The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal of Ravi Kumar who sought divorce from his wife on the ground of desertion, although it was his constant harassment which drove her to leave the husband's home and live separately.


Under the Hindu Marriage Act, divorce can be granted if it is established that one of the spouse has deserted the other.


"In this case, the child has clearly stated the cruelty of the appellant-husband towards his wife. Therefore, there is sufficient reason for the wife to stay apart. Under such circumstances, one cannot say the wife is guilty of either cruelty or desertion," the apex court said.


The apex court said the Himachal Pradesh High Court had rightly quashed the divorce granted to Ravi Kumar on the basis of the child's testimony which stated that it was the father who constantly harassed the mother compelling her to leave the home.


 6 Replies

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     13 February 2010

Thanks Jyoti.

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     13 February 2010

 So, now men have one ground less among already few other grounds for divorce... Hmm..  :)

Arup Kumar Gupta, Korba, Chattishgarh ((m)9893058429)     14 February 2010

Nothing new. It was already there.

here 'deserted' means 'deserted with free and full consent', by the respondent to the petitioner.

If the respondent deserted petitioner without free & full concent, then it is not deserted.

We do not know what is the case of ravikumar. it is view of the supreme court based on the witness of a child. if we find ravikumar's interview, a diffrent story may come out. each and every case is different and having it's own merits and demerits.

Rajiv (fgfg)     26 March 2010

This is not logical!

If the wife is not willing to live with the husband on the grounds of cruelty, how can the court deny the divorce?

The wife's motive is clearly to harass the husband by continuing the marriage just for the sake of it and the court supports her in this evil act. Or is there any other justifiable motive behind it?

Can't anything be done to stop this?

Sony Singh (Social)     18 September 2010

If any of the spouse is not willing to live with other then how he / she can be compelled to live togather ! This it self does not seems genuine. It somewhat resembles like forced marriage and would encourage one to cheat other during their name sake relations. The situation may get worst because this may increase biterness among parties.


Very good judgement...

It also gives the message that an abusive husband/wife shud not expect that his partner will go on tolerating injustice silently within the 4 walls of the house...


in fact,living separately without divorce for sometime also has a healing effect on both spouses....the tormentor realises only after his spouse left,what his real value is worth


this also leaves chances for reconciliation

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