quesAre Christians also covered under Hindu marriage act? We are Indian.

Do laws of Hindu Marriage apply to Christian Marriages as well? Our marriage was solomonized as per catholic religion. Now I also need to tell that I am a protestant Christian but my husband is catholic, and we both are indian nationality. 


I would like to know if the same laws of hindu marriage act will be the criteria or are there different laws for Christians? 


Secondly, in case there is no provision of divorce as per catholic marriage than what options do I have?


  • ans 

    You shall be governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and Indian Divorce Act, 1869. And if you have registered your marriage under Special Marriages Act, 1954, then you shall be governed by Special Marriages Act, 1954.


    For your understanding, we will explain the provisions governing divorce under both the legislation:


    1. Indian Divorce Act, 1869


    Section of the Act provides that:- 


    When husband may petition for dissolution.-Any husband may present a petition to the District Court or to the High Court, praying that his marriage may be dissolved on the ground that his wife has, since the solemnization thereof, been guilty of adultery.  


    When wife may petition for dissolution.-Any wife may present a petition to the District Court or to the High Court, praying that her marriage may be dissolved on the ground that, since the solemnization thereof, 


    a. her husband has exchanged his profession of Christianity for the profession of some other religion, and gone through a form of marriage with another woman;  
    b. or has been guilty of incestuous adultery, 
    c. or of bigamy with adultery, 
    d. or of marriage with another woman with adultery, or of rape, sodomy or bestiality, 
    e. or of adultery coupled with such cruelty as without adultery would have entitled her to a divorce a mensa et toro,
    f.  or of adultery coupled with desertion, without reasonable excuse, for two years or upwards. 
    So you can claim a divorce based on any of the above mentioned grounds. 


    2. The Special Marriage Act, 1954


    Section 27 of the Act provides that:


    Divorce.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and to the rules made thereunder, a petition for divorce may be presented to the District Court either by the husband or the wife on the ground that the respondent- 


    (a) has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or 
    (b) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately proceeding the presentation of the petition; or 
    (c) is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for seven years or more for an offence as defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860); or 
    (d) has since the solemnization of the marriage treated the petitioner with cruelty; or 
    (e) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind, and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. 
    (f) has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or 
    (g) has been suffering from leprosy, the disease not having been contracted from the petitioner; or 
    (h) 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 the respondent if the respondent had been alive; 
    Explanation- In this sub-section, the expression "desertion" means desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent or against the wish of such party and includes the wilful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage, and its grammatical variations and cognate expressions shall be 
    construed accordingly.  


    (1-A) A wife may also present a petitioner for divorce to the District Court on the ground.- 


    (i) that her husband has, since the solemnization of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality; 


    (ii) that in a suit under Sec. 18 of the Hindus Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (78 of 1956), or in a proceeding under Sec. 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or under the corresponding Sec. 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (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.  


    (2) Subject to the provisions of the Act and to the Rules made thereunder, either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of the Special Marriage (Amendment) Act, 1970, may present a petition for divorce to the District Court 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 the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing 


    Section 28 governs Divorce by mutual consent: 


    Divorce by mutual consent.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and to the rules made thereunder, a petition for divorce may be presented to the District Court by both the parties together on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.  


    (2) On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the District Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a 
    marriage has been solemnized under this Act and that the avertments in the petition are true, pass a decree declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree. 


    Hence, you can file a petition for divorce based on the grounds mentioned above, depending upon the Act that is applicable to you.


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