Supreme Court: Divorce petition can be filed under Hindu Marriage Act if spouse ignores decree of restitution of conjugal rights over a period of one year

The current case involves an appeal filed by a husband contesting the High Court’s decision to overturn a divorce decree granted on grounds of desertion.

The marriage between the parties took place on March 25, 1999. After marital discord arose, the husband initiated proceedings for restitution of conjugal rights on December 17, 2008.

On May 15, 2013, the court issued a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, directing the wife to rejoin the husband within three months.

As the wife did not comply with the decree, the husband filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty and desertion on August 23, 2013, before the Family Court.

In 2015, the High Court upheld the decree for restitution of conjugal rights, dismissing the wife’s appeal. Subsequently, in 2016, the Family Court granted the husband’s divorce petition. However, in 2019, the High Court overturned this decree, stating that the grounds for desertion were not substantiated.
Mediation was attempted but proved unsuccessful. The Supreme Court has now deemed this case worthy of consideration.
The Court referred to Section 13(1A)(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 in this regard.

“Under Section 13(1A)(ii), it is provided that a divorce petition can be presented on the ground that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year and more after passing the decree for restitution of conjugal rights,” the Court observed.

Case Title : X vs Y

Citation : 2024 (SC) 458



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