Before 1955, getting a divorce as a Hindu was not always simple. Because the marriage was seen as a religious union in Hinduism. The parliament resolved to create laws pertaining to the Hindu in light of different stigmas in social life of the Hindu. However, doing so was a challenging undertaking. The lawful marriage between Hindus, valid Hindu marriage procedures, and provisions for support and divorce are the key themes of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The guidelines for divorce and judicial separation were derived from Western thinking. As a result, Hindu Society has codified the western theory. Cruelty is the basis for both a divorce and a judicial separation of the couples.
Violence is referred regarded as cruelty. However, a simple argument, inconsiderate behaviour, or disagreements between the spouses do not fall within the definition of cruelty because they are typical of daily married life. Animal cruelty-like behaviour should be significant and severe in character. But the definition of the word “cruelty” is not included in any section of the Act. Therefore, under this situation, the reputable court must rely on outside assistance in each case.
Depending on the situation, as well as a number of other variables like the victim’s sensitivity, social background, and level of education, cruelty can be both physical and mental. It is up for debate as to what constitutes cruelty. All of these actions are primarily intended to protect a woman’s dignity in her married home. Cruelty is determined by the wife’s matrimonial ties with her husband, her in-laws, and their various cultures, states of health, and everyday interactions.
GROUND FOR DIVORCE
Section 13(1) (i-a): Any marriage that has been solemnized, whether before or after the start of this Act, may be dissolved by a divorce decree on a petition filed by either the husband or the wife on the basis that the other party has cruelly treated the petitioner since the marriage’s solemnization.
The everyday occurrences in a married life leave the couples uncertain on how to live their life peacefully together. Although there isn’t a complete list of all the circumstances that could result in a cruelty offence, if we look at some of the marital abuse cases in our community, we can draw some conclusions about specific circumstances, such as: • The use of physical force against the spouse.
• Having an affair or engaging in adultery with the spouse’s knowledge or even with them publicly embracing it.
• The ongoing expression of pain and wrath, along with yelling or abusive behavior toward the spouse.
• Making every effort to discourage and stifle the spouse’s ability to live independently
The cornerstone of a sound marriage is tolerance, adjustment, and respect for one another, the honourable Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat writes in paragraph 13 of the case of Smt. Mayadevi vs. Jagdish Prasad: A.I.R. 2007 SUPREME COURT 1426. Every marriage must be characterised by an inherent capacity for tolerating the faults of the other to a degree that is tolerable. It is not appropriate to exaggerate or magnify insignificant disagreements or quarrels in order to undermine what is purported to have been created in heaven.
Mrs. Deepalakshmi Saehia Zingade and Sachi Rameshrao Zingade: (AIR 2010 Bom 16)
In this instance, the wife falsely accused her husband of having a girlfriend, which was later proven incorrect in court. As a result, the wife’s actions can be seen as harsh to the husband.
The Supreme Court ruled in the historic case of Mayadevi v. Jagdish Prasad in February 2007 that any type of mental cruelty experienced by either spouse—not just the woman, but men as well—can be grounds for divorce. As claimed by the husband (respondent) that the wife did not provide meals to him and his children and instead blamed the husband and his family members in this case, the respondent filed an application for divorce after being subjected to repeated acts of cruelty by her.
Cruelty is, in fact, one of the legal reasons for divorce and judicial separation. Since the word “cruelty” has not been defined in the Act, the Judiciary must decide each and every instance involving the same. The most crucial element in each situation is the facts. Considering that according to Indian law, a spouse’s social standing, lifestyle, and level of education might determine whether a partner is being cruel. In other words, cruelty in one situation cannot be applied to another. One case or class’s lifestyle could differ from another’s. Additionally, it invites debate in each matter before the courts. The Act has been a lawyers’ paradise in this sense.
- Torri, M. (2019). India 2019: Assaulting the world’s largest democracy; building a kingdom of cruelty and fear. Asia Maior, 30.
- Lolayekar, A. P., Desouza, S., & Mukhopadhyay, P. (2022). Crimes against women in India: a district-level analysis (1991–2011). Journal of interpersonal violence, 37(9-10), NP7289-NP7314.
- Khandelwal, T., & Parashar, M. R. (2022). Violence Against Women: A State Level Analysis in India.
- Kavitha, D. R. WOMEN EXPLOITATION: AN OVERVIEW ABOUT THE CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA.
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