Deserted husband granted divorce after decades

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The High Court of Hyderabad in central India has granted a man’s request for divorce, on the grounds that his wife had deserted him more than 18 years previously.

She had left the couple’s home and refused to come back, he complained. They had married as long ago as 1987. The relationship quickly became strained, the husband reported, but they stayed together.

Finally in 1998, while pregant, the wife went to stay with her parents and refused to return despite her husband’s pleas when he came round to the family’s home. Efforts at mediation proved unsuccessfu. He reportedly made new overtures after the birth of their child, asking her once again to return.

She responded, the New Indian Express reports, by filing a criminal complaint under the Indian Penal Code, alleging that he had subjected her to cruelty. But the claim was not pursued and he was acquitted of the charges.

The wife, meanwhile, had a very different take on the situation, insisting that the husband had tried to pressure her family into paying him additional dowry and had refused to take her back when they were unable to pay him. He had been physically abusive as well she claimed.

Justices CV Nagarjuna Reddy and MSK Jaiswal noted the husband’s acquittal of the cruelty charge and the fact that the wife had made no effrot to secure a legal order obliging her husband to take her back, which is available under Indian law.

They declared:

“This conduct of the respondent clearly suggests that she herself has abandoned the matrimonial home without sufficient cause and such abandonment constitutes ‘desertion’, a ground which is enumerated under Section 13(1) (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955”.

The divorce was granted on condition the husband fulfill an offer to give his soon-to-be ex-wife an acre of land and 200,000 rupees (£3072).

Reports do not indicate why the couple had not previously divorced.

Photos of Hyderabad by Jamin Gray via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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