An Act further to amend the Indian Divorce Act, 1869.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-second Year of the Republic of India as follows: --
Section 1. Short title and commencement
(1) This Act may be called the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
Section 2. Amendment of section 1
In section 1 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869 (4 of 1869) (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), the word "Indian" shall be omitted.
Section 3. Amendment of section 3
In section 3 of the principal Act, --
(a) In clause (3), for the words "or of whose jurisdiction under this Act", the words "or of whose jurisdiction under this Act the marriage was solemnized or" shall be substituted;
(b) clauses (6) and (7) shall be omitted.
Section 4. Omission of section 7
Section 7 of the principal Act shall be omitted.
Section 5. Substitution of new section for section 10
For section 10 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely: --
" 10. Grounds for dissolution of marriage. -- (1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001, may, on a petition presented to the District Court either by the husband or the wife, be dissolved on the ground that since the solemnization of the marriage, the respondent --
(i) has committed adultery; or
(ii) has ceased to be Christian by conversion to another religion; or
(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(iv) has, for a period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition, been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or
(v) has, for a period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition, been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or
(vi) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of the respondent if the respondent had been alive; or
(vii) has willfully refused to consummate the marriage and the marriage has not therefore been consummated; or
(viii) has failed to comply with a decree for restitution of conjugal rights for a period of two years or upwards after the passing of the decree against the respondent; or
(ix) has deserted the petitioner for at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(x) has treated the petitioner with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the petitioner that it would be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the respondent.
(2) A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage on the ground that the husband has, since the solemnization of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality."
Section 6. Insertion of new section 10A
After section 10 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely: --
"10A. Dissolution of marriage by mutual consent. -- (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made there under, a petition for dissolution of marriage may be presented to the District Court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of two years or more, that they have not been able to live together and they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
(2) On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of 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 by both the parties in the meantime, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and making such inquiry, as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of decree.".
Section 7. Substitution of new section for section 11
For section 11 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely: --
"11. Adulterer or adulteress to be co-respondent. -- On a petition for dissolution of marriage presented by a husband or wife on the ground of adultery, the petitioner shall make the alleged adulterer or adulteress a co-respondent, unless the petitioner is excused by the Court from so doing on any of the following grounds, namely: --
(a) That the wife, being the respondent is leading the life of a prostitute or the husband, being respondent is leading an immoral life and that the petitioner knows of no person with whom the adultery has been committed;
(b) That the name of the alleged adulterer or adulteress is unknown to the petitioner although the petitioner has made due efforts to discover it;
(c) That the alleged adulterer or adulteress is dead."
Section 8. Amendment of section 13
In section 13 of the principal Act, the last paragraph shall be omitted.
Section 9. Amendment of section 14
In section 14 of the principal Act, in paragraph 4, the words "in the manner and subject to all the provisions and limitations in sections 16 and 17 made and declared" shall be omitted.
Section 10. Amendment of section 15
In section 15 of the principal Act, --
(a) The words "without reasonable excuse" shall be omitted;
(b) For the words "her adultery and cruelty", the words "her adultery or cruelty or desertion" shall be substituted;
(c) For the words "such cruelty", the words "such adultery, cruelty" shall be substituted.
Section 11. Amendment of section 16
In section 16 of the principal Act, the words "not being a confirmation of a decree of a District Court," shall be omitted.
Section 12. Substitution of new section for section 17
For section 17 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely: --
"17. Power of High Court to remove certain suits. -- During the progress of the suit in the Court of the District Judge, any person suspecting that any parties to the suit are or have been acting in collusion for the purpose of obtaining 8 divorce, shall be at liberty, in such manner as the High Court by general or special order from time to time directs, to apply to the High Court to remove the suit under section 8, and the Court shall thereupon, if it thinks fit, remove such suit and try and determine the same as a court of original jurisdiction, and the provisions contained in section 16 shall apply to every suit so removed; or it may direct the . District Judge to take such steps in respect of the alleged collusion as may be necessary, to enable him to make a decree in accordance with the justice of the case."
Section 13. Omission of section 17A
Section 17A of the principal Act shall be omitted.
Section 14. Amendment of section 18
In section 18 of the principal Act, me words "or to the High Court" shall be omitted.