AS INTRODUCED IN THE RAJYA SABHA
Bill No. XLI of 2010
THE MARRIAGE LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2010
further to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:—
Short title and commencement.
1. (1) This Act may be called the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 2010.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette.appoint.
AMENDMENTS TO THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955
Amendment of section 13B.
2. In the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereafter in this Chapter referred to as the Hindu Marriage Act), in section 13B, in sub-section (2), for the words, brackets and figure “On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime”, the words, brackets and figure "Upon receipt of a petition under sub-section (1)" shall be substituted.
Insertion of new sections 13C, 13D and 13E.
3. After section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:—
Divorce on ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
13C (1) A petition for the dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the district court by either party to a marriage [whether solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 2010], on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
(2) The court hearing a petition referred to in sub-section (1) shall not hold the marriage to have broken down irretrievably unless it is satisfied that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of not less than three years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.
(3) If the court is satisfied, on the evidence, as to the fact mentioned in sub- section (2), then, unless it is satisfied on all the evidence that the marriage has not broken down irretrievably, it shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, grant a decree of divorce.
(4) In considering, for the purpose of sub-section (2), whether the period for which the parties to a marriage have lived apart has been continuous, no account shall be taken of any one period (not exceeding three months’ in all) during which the parties resumed living with each other, but no other period during which the parties lived with
each other shall count as part of the period for which the parties to the marriage lived apart.
(5) For the purposes of sub-sections (2) and (4), a husband and wife shall be treated as living apart unless they are living with each other in the same household, and reference in this section to the parties to a marriage living with each other shall be construed as reference to their living with each other in the same household.
Wife’s right to oppose petition on ground of hardship.
13D. (1) Where the wife is the respondent to a petition for the dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce under section 13C, she may oppose the grant of a decree on the ground that the dissolution of the marriage will result in grave financial hardship to her and that it would in all the circumstances be wrong to dissolve the marriage.
(2) Where the grant of a decree is opposed by virtue of this section, then,—
(a) if the court finds that the petitioner is entitled to rely on the ground set out in section 13C; and
(b) if, apart from this section, the court would grant a decree on the petition, the court shall consider all the circumstances, including the conduct of the parties to the marriage and the interests of those parties and of any children or other persons concerned, and if, the court is of the opinion that the dissolution of the marriage shall
result in grave financial hardship to the respondent and that it would, in all the circum- stances, be wrong to dissolve the marriage, it shall dismiss the petition, or in an appropriate case stay the proceedings until arrangements have been made to its satis- faction to eliminate the hardship.
Restriction on decree for divorce affecting children
13E. The court shall not pass a decree of divorce under section 13C unless the court is satisfied that adequate provision for the maintenance of children born out of the marriage has been made consistently with the financial capacity of the parties to the marriage.
Explanation.— In this section, the expression “children” means—
(a) minor children;
(b) unmarried or widowed daughters who have not the financial resources to support themselves; and
(c) children who, because of special condition of their physical or mental health, need looking after and do not have the financial resources to support themselves.’.
4. In section 21A of the Hindu Marriage Act, in sub-section (1), after the word and figures “section 13”, at both the places where they occur, the words, figures and letter “or section 13C” shall be inserted.
5. In section 23 of the Hindu Marriage Act, in sub-section (1), in clause (a), after the word and figure “section 5”, the words, figures and letter “or in cases where the petition is presented under section 13C” shall be inserted.