The Indian Divorce Act deals with divorce among Christians. The reasons are almost similar to the ones under the Hindu Marriage Act. Roman Catholics do not come under the purview of any divorce proceedings since the Roman Catholic Church has not recognise divorce. The Divorce Act also does not contain any provision for divorce by mutual consent.Maintenance: During the period when the divorce case is in the court, the husband has to give one fifth of his salary for the maintenance of his wife. Later, maintenance can be given either yearly or once for all as total settlement.Custody: Custody of the child is decided by the court after going into the details of each individual case.
The Dissolution of Marriage and Judicial separation (under the Indian Divorce Act, 1869), allows a Christian wife to file petition for a divorce either in High Court or District Court on the grounds…
o That her husband has exchanged his profession of Christianity and gone through a form of marriage with another woman.
o Has been guilty of incestuous adultery.
o Has been guilty of bigamy and adultery.
o Has been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality.
o Is guilty of adultery coupled with desertion, without reasonable excuse for two years or more.
The Indian Divorce Act, 1869, is an attempt to amend the law relating to the divorce of Christians and to confer jurisdiction on certain Courts in matrimonial matters. Section 7 of the Act specifically provides for the application of the principles and rules on which the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes in England acts and gives relief.
The relief granted under Indian Divorce Act, 1869…
o Dissolution of marriage
o Nullity of marriage
o Judicial separation
o Protection orders
o Restitution of conjugal rights.
The Courts also have powers to:
o Order adulterer to pay damages and costs
o Order alimony, pendante-lite (pending decision of the Court) or permanent
o Order settlement of property
o Make order as to custody of children in a suit or separation
Though Section 22 of the Act bars ‘divorce mensa et toro’ (a decree that can be obtained without the presence of the other party, an exparte decree), it provides for obtaining a decree for judicial separation on grounds of
o desertion, without reasonable excuse for two years or more.Once the separation is awarded, from the date of the sentence, the separated wife would be deemed spinster, with respect to property, which she may acquire or which may devolve on her. This status would apply for the purposes of contract, wrongs and injuries and suing and being sued in civil proceedings.
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