Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and Special Marriage Act 1954 were amended by the Government of India on June 10, 2010, Thursday to avoid unwanted complications and delay in divorce in case of irretrievable differences. The amendment would make parting of ways less bitter as there won’t be much washing of linen in public.
Before the amendment breakdown of marriage was not a ground for divorce. The amendment will now enable couples to get divorce if one of them refuses to live with the other and will not work towards reconciliation, and the court is convinced that there is no hope of the two leading a normal matrimonial life.
Some experts are of the view that the amendment will only benefit men and financially independent women. Those women living in rural areas might suffer a great deal through the amendment.
Kirti Singh, former Law Commission member described the amendment as "disastrous" if it came without adequate safeguards. "The amendment should only be brought when women are given adequate share in household assets and maintenance. Most women get a pittance from the courts and most do not want to get out of a marriage only because there is nothing to sustain them outside it," she said, adding that this would only provide relief to men.
Until now Divorce can be granted only on following grounds
According to the existing Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, divorce can be granted on three grounds -- matrimonial fault, divorce by mutual consent and frustration due to specified circumstances.
According to the first ground, marriage can be dissolved when either spouse has committed a matrimonial offence. Under this provision, it is necessary to have a guilty and an innocent party in matrimonial dispute and only the innocent party can seek divorce.
Divorce on mutual consent is based on the fact that since two persons can marry by their free will, they should also be allowed to move out of their relationship if both agree to do so.
Under "frustration by reason of specified circumstances", divorce can be granted to a person whose spouse has met with "civil death" -- disappeared without a trace for at least seven years -- or renounced the world.