In a recent legal development, the Karnataka High Court delivered a significant judgment that granted divorce to a husband based on the grounds of desertion. The division bench, comprising Justice S R Krishna Kumar and Justice G Basavaraja, heard an appeal filed by the husband, leading to the setting aside of the trial court’s order that had initially rejected his petition for divorce.
The Road to Divorce: An Overview
The case took shape when the husband, the appellant, issued a legal notice in 2016, urging his wife, the respondent, to return and live with him. Unfortunately, the wife did not heed this request and continued to live separately. As a result of this separation, the husband initiated legal proceedings by filing a petition seeking the restitution of conjugal rights. The trial court presiding over the matter found in favor of the husband, issuing an order directing the wife to rejoin her husband. However, despite this court order, the wife did not comply, further extending the period of separation.
Consequently, due to the wife’s non-compliance with the court order and her continued desertion, the husband decided to file a petition for divorce. In the subsequent legal proceedings, the wife remained absent and did not contest the divorce petition.
Grounds for Divorce: Desertion
The primary ground on which the husband sought a divorce was the claim of desertion by the wife. He asserted that the wife had deserted him and been living separately since 2013. This prolonged period of separation and refusal to rejoin her husband formed the basis for his divorce petition.
Another significant aspect that strengthened the husband’s case was the fact that despite an ex-parte decree for the restitution of conjugal rights being passed by the court in his favor on December 5, 2016, the wife did not take any steps to join her husband or abide by the court’s order. The court order for restitution of conjugal rights was passed, but the wife’s lack of compliance left the marital relationship strained and unchanged.
Court’s Decision: Dissolving the Marriage
Upon careful consideration of the facts and pleadings presented in the case, the division bench reached several noteworthy conclusions.
First, the bench recognized the husband’s grounds for divorce, emphasizing the wife’s extended period of desertion and her unwillingness to comply with the ex-parte court order for the restitution of conjugal rights. They underscored that such conditions were sufficient to grant a decree for divorce, as per Section 13(1A)(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The court also addressed the husband’s assertion that the trial court had erred in dismissing the divorce petition without properly appreciating the factual circumstances. In their view, the trial court had not adequately considered the unopposed, unchallenged, and unimpeached evidence and pleadings presented by the husband.
Given the wife’s continued absence, the husband’s claims, the desertion, and the lack of compliance with the court’s orders for restitution of conjugal rights, the division bench determined that the trial court’s dismissal of the divorce petition was an erroneous decision. Therefore, the bench ruled in favor of the husband, granting him the divorce he had sought.
Consequently, the marriage between the husband and the wife, solemnized on June 12, 2009, was dissolved by a decree for divorce. This legal judgment signifies the court’s commitment to addressing issues related to desertion in marriage and its willingness to grant divorce when one party has been deserted and the court orders have not been adhered to.
In essence, the court has emphasized that when legal orders have been issued for the restitution of conjugal rights, and a party refuses to comply, the consequences can indeed include the dissolution of the marriage. This case serves as a precedent that underscores the significance of adhering to court orders and the legal obligations entailed in the sanctity of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
In conclusion, the Karnataka High Court’s ruling is a noteworthy legal decision that affirms the importance of upholding court orders and legal obligations within the framework of marriage. In this case, the court has rightfully granted divorce to the husband based on the grounds of desertion and non-compliance with the court’s orders, further emphasizing the principle that legal orders must be respected and adhered to in the realm of marriage and family law.