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'Incompatibility' is now a ground for divorce

CNN-IBN
Jun 11, 2010 at 12:35pm IST

New Delhi: Union Cabinet on Thursday approved an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and Special Marriage Act 1954 and made it possible to get a divorce on grounds of 'irretrievable breakdown' or 'incompatibility'.

Now the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 will be tabled in Parliament and if passed will become a law.

"The proposal will provide irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce and to provide safeguards to parties to marriage who file petition for ground of divorce by consent from the harassment in court if any of the parties don't come to the court or willfully avoids the court to complete the proceedings," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.

Until now a divorce was possible only on grounds of adultery, desertion, mental disorder, conversion, mutual consent and cruelty.

Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's daughter, Smriti Shinde, could be among the earliest beneficiaries of the new amended law.

The Supreme Court had recently pointed out while hearing a petition filed by Smriti that changes needed to be made in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

A 2006 judgement, too, had voiced the need for legislative intervention on the issue.

In its 71st report submitted in 1978, the Law Commission had recommended introduction of breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce in addition to "fault" grounds in the divorce law.

In 1981, a Bill was introduced to give effect to "irretrievable breakdown" as a ground for divorce, but it did not find acceptance as some were of the view that unscrupulous husband would desert their wives by taking advantage of this provision.

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