Edited by: Vaani Garg
Desertion is the ground of divorce after the Amendment Act,1976. Desertion under Hindu law is explained under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 as follows:
“The expression ‘Desertion’ means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent or against the wish of such party to the marriage and includes willful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage and its grammatical variations and expressions shall be construed accordingly.”
Desertion, in simple language means abandoning one spouse by the other without any reasonable cause and without the consent of the other. If this situation of desertion continues for more than two years, then it shall be the ground of divorce.
DESERTION FALLS UNDER THREE CATEGORIES:
1. ACTUAL DESERTION-
Fact of separation must be present, that is one party leaves the other party without any reasonable cause and without the consent of the other and if desertion continues for more than two years then it will become a ground of divorce. There must be an intention to desert the other party.
If one party withdraws from cohabitation, it is that party who is guilty of desertion despite the fact that the party continues to live in the matrimonial home.
Suppose, if one spouse creates a situation or conducts himself in such a manner that the other spouse is forced to leave the matrimonial home, then the spouse who has forced the other party to leave the matrimonial home is a deserter and not the spouse who has left the matrimonial home. This is known as constructive desertion.
If spouse willfully neglects the other party without any reasonable cause it is designated as desertion.
Physical desertion must be present. Suppose a spouse while going to bed states that next day he will abandon the matrimonial home but day after he continues to live in the matrimonial home, it is clear that he has formed the intention desert but that intention has not been done into action and he continues to live in matrimonial home then this will not be the amount as desertion.
Desertion is a ground of divorce but it is not always the abandonment of place, sometimes it is known as abandonment of situation and it is determined by court from facts and circumstances of each case.
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