Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, provides for divorce by mutual consent. This provision allows couples to dissolve their marriage if they have been living separately for a year and mutually agree to end their relationship. This essay will delve into the details of this section of the law, discussing its relevance to Non Resident Indians (NRI) and citing relevant case laws.
Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 states that a petition for divorce may be presented to the court by both the parties together, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, and they have mutually agreed to dissolve their marriage. The court, after hearing both parties and ensuring that their consent is not obtained by force or fraud, may grant a decree of divorce.
This provision is particularly relevant to NRIs who are facing marital issues and wish to seek a divorce. Many NRIs face challenges when it comes to divorce proceedings due to their geographical distance from India. Section 13B allows them to seek a divorce without having to physically appear in court, as long as both parties are in agreement and have been living separately for a year.
Several case laws have further clarified the application of Section 13B in various scenarios. Here are some notable examples:
1. Amardeep Singh vs Harveen Kaur (2017): In this case, the Supreme Court clarified that the period of living separately mentioned in Section 13B need not be continuous. It can be cumulative, as long as the parties have not cohabitated as husband and wife during this time.
2. Sureshta Devi vs Om Prakash (1991): This landmark case established that consent for divorce must be free from coercion or undue influence. The court emphasized the importance of ensuring that both parties genuinely desire to end their marriage.
3. Naveen Kohli vs Neelu Kohli (2006): The Supreme Court held that the cooling-off period of six months mentioned in Section 13B is not mandatory. The court has the discretion to waive this period if it is satisfied that there is no chance of reconciliation.
4. Anil Kumar Jain vs Maya Jain (2009): This case highlighted the importance of proper documentation and evidence to prove that the parties have been living separately for a year. The court emphasized the need for clear and convincing evidence to support the claim of separation.
These case laws provide guidance and interpretation of Section 13B, ensuring that its provisions are applied fairly and in accordance with the principles of justice.
In conclusion, Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, provides NRIs with a legal recourse to seek divorce by mutual consent. It allows couples who have been living separately for a year and mutually agree to end their marriage to dissolve their relationship. The provision is relevant to NRIs who may face challenges in physically appearing in court due to their geographical distance. The case laws mentioned above further clarify the application of this section, ensuring that divorces are granted in a fair and just manner.