Men's rights in Divorce in India

In India, men do get divorce rights, although the laws are more favorable to women. Both the genders should be treated equally according to the law of the land. Still, there are differences in the procedure, manner, and terms on which men get divorced. The men’s rights in divorce in India vary from different personal laws. For instance, under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, both husband and wife are entitled to claim for alimony and maintenance. Whereby, according to the Special Marriage Act, the only wife is entitled to such claims.

Do you know to be a man if you are torched, abused or treated inappropriately in your married life then you are entitled to compensation? For such acts, even a man has a right to obtain a divorce decree from the appropriate court. A husband can also reach the court for alimony, maintenance and even for the custody of the child.

Grounds of Filing for Divorce

The husband can file for divorce with his wife only when certain conditions are fulfilled. He can file for divorce with mutual consent or without mutual consent.

Some of the general grounds under which a husband can file for a divorce petition without mutual consent are as follows-

  1. Cruelty- If the wife inflicts any kind of cruelty on her husband, the husband has a right to move the divorce petition. The cruelty inflicted may be physical, mental, emotional, or any other kind. Slapping mother-in-law, insisting for a separate┬áresidence, emptying husband’s bank account and deserting the husband amounts to cruelty.[1]
  2.  Desertion- If his wife deserts the husband without any valid reason without informing him, the husband obtains a right to get divorced.
  3. Adultery– If the wife carries on any sexual activity outside the wedlock, then she is said to have committed adultery, and the husband thereby obtains a right to get divorced.
  4. Conversion- If the wife converts to any other religion that she was not initially a part of.
  5. Renunciation of the world- If the wife becomes sanyasi or has renounced the world in any other way.
  6. Mental Disorder- If the wife suffers from any mental disease or insanity of any kind whereby she becomes incapable of carrying out the normal activities that she would have carried otherwise. The Supreme Court observed that each case of schizophrenia has to be considered on its own merits. The medical evidence regarding the requisite degree of mental disorder is relevant though not conclusive.[2]
  7. Gets infected to any venereal disease: If the wife is suffering from HIV/AIDS syphilis, gonorrhea or a virulent and incurable form of leprosy or any other venereal disease of infectious forms.
  8. Not found for seven years- If the wife is not seen or heard of for seven years, she is presumed to be dead.

Husband’s Right to refuse Maintenance

In many of the cases, the husband can also refuse to pay the maintenance to his wife. Such grounds are-

  1. If the wife deserts his husband.
  2. If commits adultery or cruelty.
  3. If the wife has sufficient means to maintain herself.
  4. If she is married again to another man.

If the wife is capable of maintaining herself, then the husband is not liable to pay the interim maintenance also. Moreover, if the husband is in such a position that he is unable to maintain himself and pay the court fees for the proceeding and the wife can self- sustain, then in such cases also the court may direct the wife to pay such court proceedings fee.

Custody of the Child

In cases of divorce between partners who have children out of their wedlock, the custody of the child becomes one of the important consideration by either of the parent. In such cases, the man has an equal right to get custody of the child. The upbringing and welfare of the child are of utmost importance, and the husband may approach the court and show that he is in a better position than the wife to raise the child.

Conclusion

The law always favors woman, but only as long as they are exploited, therefore it is not right to say that the man has no right or very few reasons to divorce in India. An aggrieved husband can always approach the court to seek a divorce, and the court will favor the party which is exploited out of the wedlock. Men in India also have many rights in divorce. All they need to do is seek a good lawyer and take advantage of the remedies available.

[1] P. Swaroopa Rani Vs. M. Hari Narayana @ Hari Babu 2008 (3) SCALE 501.

[2] Sharda v. Dharmapaul 2003 (4) SCC 493.

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