Thursday, June 10, 2010

Govt mulls new ground for divorce

Breakdown Of Marriage Could Be Reason For Parting
New Delhi: Sparring couples may now have a way out of their misery without having to go through the blame game. The Cabinet on Thursday is expected to consider a proposal to amend matrimonial laws for making “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” a ground for divorce.

The proposal moved by law ministry suggests amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and Special Marriage Act 1954 to add the new basis for granting divorce. Breakdown of marriage is currently not a ground for divorce despite several Supreme Court verdicts favouring it and the Law Commission recommending that it be included in the provision of the law.
The amendment will 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.
The legal fraternity seems to be split over the proposed amendment. Some experts feel that growing individuality in society has contributed to an increasing number of cases ending at the divorce court with both parties dishing out dirty laundry. The amendment would make parting of ways less bitter. But several other experts warned of pitfalls in the proposed law. Eminent lawyer Kamini Jaiswal felt the amendment may not be a “bad idea” for urban women wanting to opt out of a relationship, but it may adversely impact rural women who have few options.
Kirti Singh, former Law Commission member described the amendment as “disastrous” if it came without adequate safeguards.
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.
Exit Clauses
According to existing laws, divorce can be granted only on 3 grounds: 1 Matrimonial fault, where only innocent partner can seek divorce 2 Mutual consent: Marriage can be dissolved if both partners agree 3 Theory of frustration: Specified circumstances like one partner renouncing worldly pleasures
New Norm: Cabinet will today consider proposal to include ‘‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’’ as a ground for divorce

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