Reasons and Grounds for Divorce

June 15, 2024 हिंदी में पढ़ें

Table of Contents
  1. What is meant by the Grounds for Divorce?
  2. Top reasons for divorce in India
  3. Landmark cases
  4. How can a Lawyer help you?
  5. Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2000)
  6. Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur (2017)

What is meant by the Grounds for Divorce?

In a contested divorce situation, either of the parties involved may file for a divorce based on valid grounds declared by law; these grounds differ among Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Parsis.

A Hindu Couple can file for divorce on these grounds:

  1. Adultery : Any sexual relationship outside marriage including intercourse outside marriage is known as adultery. Although once considered illegal under Indian Penal Code, recently the Supreme Court decriminalized adultery and used it as grounds for divorce - as even one act of adultery can suffice as grounds.

  2. Cruelty : When subjected to any form of mental or physical harm which threatens life, limb, and health a spouse can file for divorce proceedings. There must be multiple incidents of cruelty in which food was denied for no good reason or treatment/abuse was done in order to secure dowry money or engage in sexual acts against spouse; such acts constitute cruelty and should be addressed accordingly. There should be a series of incidents of cruelty. Certain instances like the food being denied, continuous ill-treatment and abuses to acquire dowry, perverse sexual acts, and such are included under cruelty.

  3. Desertion & ndash Where one of the spouses voluntarily abandons his/her partner for at least a period of two years, the abandoned spouse can file a divorce case on the ground of desertion.

  4. Conversion & ndash Where either of the two converts himself/herself into another religion, the other spouse may file a divorce case based on this ground.

  5. Mental Disorder & ndash Mental disorder can become a ground for filing a divorce if the spouse of the petitioner suffers from an incurable mental disorder or insanity and therefore cannot be expected from the couple to stay together.

  6. Leprosy & ndash In the case of a & lsquo virulent (severe and harmful) and incurable' form of leprosy, a petition can be filed by the other spouse based on this ground.

  7. Venereal Disease & ndash If one of the spouses is suffering from a serious disease that is easily communicable, a divorce can be filed by the other spouse. The sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS are accounted to be venereal diseases.

  8. Renunciation & ndash A spouse is entitled to file for a divorce if the other renounces all worldly affairs by embracing a religious order.

  9. Not Heard Alive & ndash If a person is not seen or heard alive by those who are expected to be & lsquo naturally heard' of the person for a continuous period of seven years, the person is presumed to be dead. The other spouse should need to file a divorce if he/she is interested in remarriage.

  10. No Resumption of Co-habitation & ndash If the couple fails to resume their co-habitation after the court has passed a decree of separation.

Where the petitioner is the wife, certain additions are given in the grounds for divorce:

  1. Rape, Sodomy, Bestiality - If the husband has indulged in rape, bestiality, and sodomy.

  2. Remarriage - If the marriage is solemnized before the Hindu Marriage Act and the husband has again married another woman in spite of the first wife being alive, the first wife can seek a divorce.

  3. Minor Marriage - Where the wife was married before the age of fifteen and renounces the marriage before she attains eighteen years of age.

  4. No co-habitation - If there is no cohabitation for one year and the husband neglects the judgment of maintenance awarded to the wife by the court, the wife can contest for a divorce .

A Muslim woman can seek divorce on the following grounds under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939.

  1. Unknown Whereabouts - Where the husband's whereabouts are unknown for a period of four years.

  2. No Maintenance - Where the husband has failed to provide maintenance to the wife for at least two years.

  3. Imprisonment - Where the husband has been under imprisonment for seven or more years.

  4. Marital Obligation - Where the husband is unable to meet the marital obligations.

  5. Minor Marriage - Where the girl is married before age of fifteen and decides to end the relationship before she turns eighteen.

  6. Cruelty - Where the husband indulges in acts of cruelty.


Where the petitioner is a Christian, following grounds of divorce are mentioned under the Indian Divorce Act, 1869.

  1. Adultery.

  2. Conversion to another religion.

  3. One of the couples suffering from an unsound mind, leprosy, or communicable venereal disease for at least two years before the filing of the divorce.

  4. Not been seen or heard alive for a period of seven or more years.

  5. Restitution of Conjugal Rights - Failure in observing the restitution of conjugal rights (Right to stay together) for at least two years.

  6. Cruelty - Inflicting cruelty and giving rise to mental anxiety that can be injurious to health and life.

Also, in addition to these grounds, the Wife can file a divorce based on the grounds of rape, sodomy, and bestiality.

Parsi couple can file for divorce on these grounds under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.

  1. Absence - Continuous absence of seven years.

  2. Non-consummation of marriage within one year.

  3. Unsound mind provided the other spouse was unaware of the fact at the time of marriage and the divorce must be filed within three years of marriage.

  4. Pregnancy by some other man provided the husband was unaware of the incident during the time of marriage and that he must not have undergone sexual intercourse after he came to know about the situation. The divorce must be filed within two years of marriage.

  5. Adultery, bigamy, fornication, rape, or any other type of perverse sexual act.

  6. Act of cruelty.

  7. Suffering from venereal disease.

  8. Forcing the wife into prostitution.

  9. Sentenced to imprisonment for seven years or more.

  10. Desertion for two or more years.

  11. Non-resumption of cohabitation after passing an order of maintenance or a decree of judicial separation.

Talk to a Lawyer

Top reasons for divorce in India

Incompatibility Irreconcilable differences essentially refer to the magnitude of incompatibility. You either grow apart organically or are diametrically opposed and unwilling to find a middle ground. It might be the result of different moral standards, issues with one's sexual life, differences in religion, or the partners may grow in different ways

Miscommunication One of the main reasons for divorce among spouses is poor communication. If you can't talk to your partner about your needs and desires in an honest and open manner, it might be difficult to stay connected.

Financial problems One of the most common reasons given for divorce is financial difficulties. It makes complete sense that even the strongest of relationships can become strained by financial stress. It can be difficult to stay together if you and your partner are fighting over money or if you have different financial objectives. Reducing stress in your marriage and possibly making it easier to stay together over time can be achieved by taking steps like getting financial advice or counselling.

Lack of intimacy Not all intimacy is sexual in nature. It's all about intimacy, love, and connection. Anger, loneliness, and dissatisfaction can result from a lack of intimacy in a relationship. And this can wear you down over time.

Infidelity Regardless of marital status, infidelity is wrong. You cannot expect your spouse to understand if anything like this occurs in your marriage. It's clear that there's some sort of dissatisfaction in your marriage if it can't be resolved, it should be ended before you cheat. The final straw in a marriage is an extramarital affair, which frequently results in divorce.

Addictions Divorce is frequently the result of abusing alcohol, drugs, or any other substance. These addictions have an impact on your behaviour, mood swings, sleep patterns, eating, relationships with friends and family, family obligations, financial waste, and at times memory loss as well.

Domestic abuse This is a significant factor that influences divorces. It is unacceptable and offensive, and it affects not only women but also males. This can be verbal or physical, in both situations it is not acceptable as it implies no respect and love among the partners.

Family issues A happy marriage is never only about two people coming together but two families coming together. When your partner or family gets in the way of your day-to-day living, parenting, or other household responsibilities, things can get ugly and divorces are filed. If the couples don't help each other, they will not be able to build a safe and sound environment for their children

Landmark cases

Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2000)

Facts of the case

  • In her petition, Sushmita Ghosh claimed that she was Hinduly married to Mr. M C Ghosh in 1984

  • In 1992, Mr. Ghosh filed for divorce and claimed to have converted to Islam in order to remarry Ms. Vinita Gupta, a divorced mother of two children.

  • Mr. Ghosh was required to present a certificate of conversion to Islam since the Hindu Marriage Act, 1959, made no allowance for bigamy or second marriages.

  • The petitioner contended that Mr. Ghosh's conversion lacked sincere faith in the new religion and was just done to get into a second marriage.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether all citizens be subject to a uniform civil code?

  • Whether it is possible for a Hindu husband to convert to Islam and formally enter a second marriage?

  • Whether the husband subject to section 494 of the IPC for bigamy?

Judgement of the court

  • The court decided that it is dishonest and appears to be done with hidden agenda when a Hindu husband converts to Islam in order to get married again.

  • These marriages violate Article 21 of the Constitution and are therefore void.

  • A marriage that already exists does not end when one converts to a different religion. The court said the first marriage does not ispo facto end after second marriage takes place

  • Under the applicable provisions of the Indian Penal Code, converting to Islam and entering into a second marriage when the prior marriage is still going strong may result in legal consequences.

  • It is not feasible to implement a unified civil code in such situations since India does not have any rules pertaining to marriage that are based on personal laws.

  • The emphasis is on making it unlawful to marry someone else by converting to Islam while still married to your first wife, as well as punishing wrongdoing under personal rules.


Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur (2017)

Facts of the case

  • On January 16, 2001, Amardeep Singh (Appellant) wed Harveen Kaur (Respondent).

  • Two children were born to the couple in 1995 and 2003, respectively.

  • Since 2008, the couple has lived apart due to arguments.

  • A mutually consenting divorce settlement was reached on April 28, 2017, wherein the appellant granted perpetual alimony in the amount of Rs. 2.75 crore.

  • The appellant was granted custody of the children and honoured two checks for alimony totaling Rs. 50,00,000.

  • In the Tis Hazari Court's Family Court in New Delhi, the appellant filed a divorce case, requesting a ruling based on mutual consent.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the six-month cooling-off period outlined in Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) Sec. 13-B(2) was required or if the court might waive it in specific situations.

  • Whether it is permissible to waive the statutory term specified in Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 by using Article 142 of the Constitution.

Judgement of the court

  • The court maintained the ruling in the case of Manish Goel and made it clear that Article 142's authority cannot be used in conflict with a material component of the statute, particularly in the absence of any ongoing actions aimed at waiving the statute. In order to ascertain whether Section 13-B(2) was mandatory or directory in nature, the court examined the legislative intent behind the provision. The court recognised the sacredness of marriage but also noted that judges have been more willing to waive the six-month cooling-off period if the situation calls for it and there is no chance of the parties getting back together.

How can a Lawyer help you?

Divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved. Hiring an attorney to complete a divorce is one way to reduce the stress of the divorce. While the attorney will need to gather information from you regarding the case, he or she will also take care of all the paperwork, allowing you more time to take care of yourself and your family. An experienced divorce attorney can give you expert advice on how to handle your divorce owing to his years of experience in handling such cases. You can also use LawRato's Free Legal Advice service to get free advice on your case from expert divorce/matrimonial lawyers. A divorce lawyer is an expert on the laws and can help you avoid significant mistakes that may cause financial harm or will require future legal proceedings to correct. Thus, by hiring an attorney a person can make sure that he can avoid delay and get the divorce completed as quickly as possible.

Above mentioned grounds are for information purposes only. Consultation from a lawyer should be taken before filing a petition for divorce.

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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