Landmark Judgment on Desertion in Marriage: Delhi High Court Grants Divorce

New Delhi, January 5, 2024: In a recent judgment, the Delhi High Court, in the matter of MAT.APP.(F.C.) 8/2023, has granted divorce to an appellant-husband, citing desertion by the respondent-wife. The case, which had been adjudicated under Section 13(1)(ia) and (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, involved a complex interplay of cruelty and desertion allegations.

The appellant-husband, moved the court seeking divorce after the Family Court dismissed his petition on November 24, 2022. The appellant claimed that despite a seemingly amicable beginning to their marriage in October 2015, the relationship deteriorated rapidly. The appellant alleged that the respondent-wife exhibited disrespectful behavior, engaged in extramarital affairs, and eventually left the matrimonial home in December 2015.

The Family Court, in its judgment, raised concerns about the lack of specific instances of cruelty mentioned in the appellant’s petition. The court observed that the allegations were vague and lacked the necessary details such as dates, times, and places. The court also noted the absence of concrete efforts by the appellant to reconcile with the respondent.

A wife moving out of her matrimonial home. Text overlay says "Desertion in Marriage"

However, the Delhi High Court, in its fresh evaluation, emphasized that the respondent had been proceeded ex-parte, and her written statement was not on record. The court pointed out that the appellant’s claims of cruelty were not substantiated with specific incidents or evidence.

On the crucial aspect of desertion, the High Court referred to precedents, highlighting that desertion involves the intentional and permanent forsaking of one spouse by the other without consent and reasonable cause. The court noted that the respondent had left the matrimonial home within two months of marriage and had made no effort to reconcile, even abstaining from court appearances.

In its verdict, the High Court concluded that the respondent had wilfully deserted the appellant, granting a decree of divorce under Section 13(1)(ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

This judgment sets a precedent on the interpretation of desertion in marriage, emphasizing the importance of evidence and specific details in divorce cases. Legal experts anticipate that this ruling will have implications for future cases involving allegations of desertion within a short period after marriage.

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Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled MAT.APP.(F.C.) 8/2023. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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