The basic aim of any divorce law in the country is to explore the possibility of settlement and cohabitation between husband and wife. However, if the couple under no circumstances wants to re-work the marriage, divorce is granted and the marriage is ultimately dissolved. Keeping this in mind, laws relating to divorce are updated and amended frequently to ease the process of divorce. Here are the new laws on divorce in India-
The Apex Court brought significant respite for Hindu couples pursuing divorce stating that the 6-month waiting period as prescribed under Section- 13B(2) is not mandatory but discretionary, thereby, giving directions for lower courts to speed up divorce if both husband and wife agree to settle their differences including alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between the couple. The Supreme Court stated, “If there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option.” The purpose of having a cooling-off period is to safeguard a hurried decision taken by the parties and they consider all the chances of reconciliation.
Under Section- 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act either of the spouses is entitled to get paid for the expenses of the legal proceedings under the Act.
Under Section- 25 of the Act, the court can direct the respondent to pay maintenance in the form of monthly payment or entire sum or even a periodical sum for a time not exceeding the life of the applicant.
The other important provisions relating to maintenance are Sections- 18 and 19 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act which was amended in 2015 and Section- 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
There have been many instances where couples are cohabiting but their marriage is equivalent to a separation and there is no classified law for this.
In regard to this, a Report by the Law Commission as well as the Supreme Court was directed to the Government in 2009, in order to add irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a valid ground for divorce under Section- 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, stating wisdom lies in accepting the pragmatic reality of life and thus, must take a decision which would ultimately be conducive for the common betterment of both the spouses .
These recommendations had resulted from the case Naveen Kohli v. Neetu Kohli after the couple proved that there was no reasonable chance of getting back together after the marriage broke down.
This amendment can be a boon in terms of maintenance as it entitles wives to husband’s share of the immovable property that he acquired in the course of their marriage in cases of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, this benefit is only restricted to cases of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ and not in other cases of Divorce.
Related Post: Divorce Laws in India
In the pathbreaking decision by the Supreme Court where it stated that triple talaq violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women as it irrevocably ends a marriage without any hope of restoration and thus, ruling it unconstitutional.
Triple talaq is an oral form of divorce practiced by some sects in the Muslim community to instantly divorce their wives by saying ‘talaq’ thrice. It is now the responsibility of the centre to pass the Triple Talaq Bill and come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce laws among Muslims in India.
In its another landmark decision, the Supreme court has last year held that the divorce granted by the ecclesiastical tribunal under Christian personal law is not valid as it cannot override the law. The ecclesiastical tribunal is governed by the Canon Law which is the personal law of Catholics. However, the court held that any Christian couple who is seeking divorce will have to mandatorily procure a divorce from a civil court. Thus, if a couple has sought marriage annulment from such a tribunal and any of the spouses remarries after the same, it will amount to bigamy. Divorce petition by a civil court is a must for Christians now.