Adultery and Divorce under Hindu Marriage Act
- Blog|Indian Acts|
- 2 Min Read
- By Taxmann
- Last Updated on 27 April, 2023
Adultery under Hindu Marriage Act 1955:
Adultery means when a man or a woman who is married as per Hindu Marriage Act 1955 has voluntary sexual intercourse outside the lawful wedlock and this is considered a valid ground for judicial separation and divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, even a single or isolated act of adultery will entitle other party to seek judicial separation from his partner. Only sexual intercourse with a person other than his or her spouse constitutes adultery, mere caresses, or other acts of intimacy with any other person does not amount to adultery. If first marriage is considered void and a man marries second time but continues his sexual relationships with his first wife, then as per Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, second wife can file and obtain divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Adultery, as a rule, is proved by, based upon any one or more proofs as below –
- Circumstantial evidence
- Evidence of non-access and birth of children
- Contracting of venereal diseases
- Evidence of visits to houses of ill repute
- Decrees and admissions of parties which should generally be corroborated
Though proceedings of divorce in Indian Courts are never hasty and may take long durations to preserve the marriage here are a few exceptions where the decision could come quite easily-
- Adultery proved with one person is not exceptional depravity.
- Adultery aggravated by the desertion of wife or cruelty to wife would constitute exceptional hardship to the wife.
- Wife having a child by adultery.
- Husband’s adultery promiscuously with another woman.
- Husband committing adultery soon after marriage.
- Sexual intercourse with the wife’s sister or servant of the house.
The burden of proof, in cases of adultery always lies on the petitioner. The offence of adultery must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
In case the petitioner has accepted the adulterous act of respondent and further respondent have not committed any act of adultery, then the petitioner will not succeed to make a valid case against respondent. One such example is when the petitioner continues to live with respondent after him having committed adultery, then the petitioner condones the respondent.
Although a single act of adultery is enough to grant judicial separation amongst the married couples but if adultery is proved it is enough to deny maintenance under Section 125(4) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
In many cases reported before the courts, where the spouse may have committed the act of suicide in response to the act of adultery by his or her spouse, the court does not consider it to be an act of cruelty and is only considered as an instance when one of the partners failed to discharge the marital obligations. Filing for divorce due to an act of adultery is always a civil case when put forward before the court although it requires valid proof of adultery to be proved.
Disclaimer: The content/information published on the website is only for general information of the user and shall not be construed as legal advice. While the Taxmann has exercised reasonable efforts to ensure the veracity of information/content published, Taxmann shall be under no liability in any manner whatsoever for incorrect information, if any.
Taxmann Publications has a dedicated in-house Research & Editorial Team. This team consists of a team of Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, and Lawyers. This team works under the guidance and supervision of editor-in-chief Mr Rakesh Bhargava.
The Research and Editorial Team is responsible for developing reliable and accurate content for the readers. The team follows the six-sigma approach to achieve the benchmark of zero error in its publications and research platforms. The team ensures that the following publication guidelines are thoroughly followed while developing the content:
- The statutory material is obtained only from the authorized and reliable sources
- All the latest developments in the judicial and legislative fields are covered
- Prepare the analytical write-ups on current, controversial, and important issues to help the readers to understand the concept and its implications
- Every content published by Taxmann is complete, accurate and lucid
- All evidence-based statements are supported with proper reference to Section, Circular No., Notification No. or citations
- The golden rules of grammar, style and consistency are thoroughly followed
- Font and size that’s easy to read and remain consistent across all imprint and digital publications are applied