The Supreme Court has said that when a person makes claims that harm their spouse’s reputation and career, it can be considered ‘mental cruelty’ and a potential reason for divorce. In this context, let us look at the Hindu law on divorce.
What are the legal grounds for claiming divorce?
Any Hindu marriage can be ended through divorce if either the husband or the wife files a divorce petition. You can ask for a divorce if your spouse has:
- Had voluntary sexual intercourse with another person
- Treated you cruelly
- Unreasonably abandoned you without your consent, for at least two continuous years (just before you file for divorce)
- Renounced the world, or is no longer a Hindu due to religious conversion
- Suffers from a mental disorder or has unsound mind to such an extent that it is unreasonable to expect you to live with them
- Suffering from a communicable sex-related disease
- Not been heard of as alive, for at least seven years
Can both spouses jointly file for divorce?
Yes, if both you and your spouse want to end the marriage, you can apply for divorce by mutual consent. Both of you can jointly submit a petition for divorce to the concerned district court based on the fact that both of you:
- Have been living separately for at least one year;
- Have not been able to live together; and
- Jointly agree that the marriage should end.
Which court should you approach for divorce?
You can present the divorce petition to the District Court having jurisdiction in the area where:
- The marriage was solemnized
- Your spouse lives at the time presenting the petition
- You and your spouse last lived together; or
- You live at the time of presenting the petition (this generally only applies to the wife, but the husband can use this option in some situations).
Can a divorced person remarry?
Yes, if a court ends a marriage by a divorce order, and there is no question of appeal, or the time for appealing (ninety days) has expired, or the appeal is dismissed, then it is legal for either party to marry again.
To know more about Hindu marriage law, read our explainer.