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Analysis of Section 10 under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

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According to section 10 of Hindu Marriage Act, “(1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition praying for a decree for judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of section 13, and in the case of a wife also on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (2) thereof, as grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented. 

(2) Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it shall 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 it considers it just and reasonable to do so.”

Introduction 

Judicial Separation is a medium under the law to give some time for self-analysis to both the parties of a disturbed married life. Law gives a chance to both the husband and wife to rethink about the extension of their relationship while at the same time guiding them to live separately. By doing this, the law allows them the free space and independence to think about their future path and it is the last option available to both the spouses for the legal breakup of the marriage.

Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides the Judicial Separation for both the spouse, those who are married under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. They can claim the relief of Judicial Separation by filing a petition. Once the order is passed, they are not bound to have cohabitation.

Grounds For Judicial Separation 

Briefly the grounds for judicial separation are 

  • Adultery [section 13(1)(i)]It means where any of the spouses voluntarily had sexual intercourse with any other person except his/her spouse. Here, the aggrieved party can claim the relief but that intercourse should be placed after the marriage.

Case law: Revathi Vs. Union of India and Ors 

 

  •  Cruelty [section 13(1)(i-a) When the spouse treats his/her partner with cruelty or inflicts any mental or physical pain after the marriage. The sufferer can file a petition on the grounds of cruelty. 

Case law:  Shyamsundar Vs. Santadevi 

  • Desertion [section 13(1)(i-b)] In this section, it is defined that if the spouse left the other spouse for any reason without informing him/her for a period not less than 2 years before filing the petition by another spouse, desertion gives a right to claim relief of judicial separation for the hurt party. 

Case law: Guru Bachan Kaur Vs. Preetam Singh.

  • Conversion/Apostasy [Section 13(1)(ii)]If any spouse gets converted into any other religion other than Hindu, then the other spouse can file for judicial separation. 

Case law: Durga Prasad Rao Vs. Sudharshan Swami

  • Unsound mind [Section 13(1)(iii)] If any spouse in a marriage is suffering from any mental disease which is difficult to live for the other spouse with the sufferer. The other spouse can claim relief from judicial separation.

 Case lawAnima Roy Vs. Prabadh Mohan Ray (AIR 1969)

  • Leprosy [Section 13(1)(iv)] If any spouse suffering from any disease like leprosy,  which can not be recovered, then the other party can file a petition for judicial separation because he/she can not waste their own time due to the sufferer.
  • Venereal Disease [Section 13(1)(v)] If any party to a marriage or a spouse has any type of disease which is incurable and communicable and the spouse does not know about the fact at the time of marriage, then it could be a valid ground for the spouse to file petition for judicial separation
  • Renounced the World [Section 13(1)(vi)] In Hindu law, by renouncing the world means “Sannyasa”. Renunciation from the world conveys that the person has given up the world and leading a holy life. He is considered a civil dead. If a spouse renounces the world to live a holy life, his/her partner can file for judicial separation.
  • Civil death/Presumed death [Section 13(1)(vii)] If a person is not found for 7 or more years and their relatives or any other person have not heard from him/her or it is believed that he/she may be dead. Here, the other spouse can file for judicial separation. 

  

Additional grounds for wife to claim justice 

  • Bigamy [Section 13(2)(i)] It means if the husband is remarried while he is already married, both of his wives have a right to claim the petition for judicial separation with a condition that, the other wife is also alive at the same time of filing.
  • Rape, sodomy or Bestiality [Section 13(2)(ii)] The wife has a right to file a petition for judicial separation if her husband is guilty of charges like rape, bestiality or sodomy after the marriage.
  • Renounced the World [Section 13(1)(vi)] In Hindu law, by renouncing the world means “Sannyasa”. Renunciation from the world conveys that the person has given up the world and leading a holy life. He is considered a civil dead. If a spouse renounces the world to live a holy life, his/her partner can file for judicial separation.
  • Civil death/Presumed death [Section 13(1)(vii)] If a person is not found for 7 or more years and their relatives or any other person have not heard from him/her or it is believed that he/she may be dead. Here, the other spouse can file for judicial separation.

What is the Reason behind Judicial Separation 

Judicial Separation is the prior step to divorce. The main reason behind Judicial Separation is that spouses give time to think about each other. It is also done to provide an opportunity to think about reconciling their differences. But even if they don’t reconcile then they are divorced.

Can maintenance be claimed by the Wife during the period of Judicial separation?

In case of judicial separation, the court can also deal with the questions of maintenance of wife, custody of children and property. In the case of Sohan Lal vs. Kamlesh it was held that in case of judicial separation, a wife is allowed to claim maintenance from husband in case she is not able to maintain herself.

Conclusion 

A marriage is considered as a sacred relation in our nation but a person should have an exit from a relationship when he/she is not happy with that relation. People have faith towards the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 that they can seek relief from the marriage by filing a divorce. This Act does not allow for leaving a relationship without any valid reason. There should be particular grounds on which the spouse can file a case for judicial separation or divorce.This Act has a great rule to solve the disputes between the spouses and free them from marital ties.

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