`Irretrievable breakdown new ground for divorce`

Getting a divorce from marriage, which has broken down for all practical purposes, could become easier, as the government today introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to amend marriage laws.

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2010, 21:51 PM IST

New Delhi: Getting a divorce from marriage,
which has broken down for all practical purposes, could become
easier, as the government today introduced a bill in the Rajya
Sabha to amend marriage laws.

The amendments proposed in the Hindu Marriage Act and
Special Marriage Act will also make divorce through mutual
consent easier, according to the Marriage Laws (Amendment)
Bill, introduced by Law Minister M Veerappa Moily.

The amendment bill also provides for an additional grounds
for seeking divorce in case of "irretrievable breakdown of
marriage".

It seeks to do away with the provision of second joint
appearance before the court after six to 18 months of filing
of divorce petition, with mutual consent.
The present clause of joint appearance for seeking decree
of divorce creates problem as often one of the parties fails
to appear before the court on some pretext or the other.

This leaves one of them "hapless and remediless",
according to the objects and reasons of the bill.

The bill also seeks to insert a new clause under which
either husband or wife can seek divorce if the couple have not
lived together continuously for three years.

However, in case the husband seeks divorce, the wife will
be entitled to oppose it on the ground that the dissolution of
marriage would result in financial hardship to her.
Similarly, a provision has been made to restrict grant of
divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage
in the absence of adequate provision for maintenance of
children.

The amendment bill has been prepared on the basis of
recommendations of the Law Commission as well as the Supreme
Court, Moily said.

The clause of irretrievable breakdown of marriage will be
in addition to the existing grounds for divorce.
At present, various grounds for dissolution of marriage
are laid down in law. These include adultery, cruelty,
desertion, conversion to another religion and unsoundness of
mind.

Bureau Report