Divorce by Desertion

Desertion is also ground for divorce in India, but the most difficult part is how to prove desertion in court of law. A layman may think desertion as his/her spouse is living separately for the period of 2 years that’s it.

But actually what courts in India require are the 4 things which areto be established by the spouse who is seeking divorce on this ground.

1.. Animus deserendi-This means the intention to desert, if husband or wife decides to leave the martial co habitation as they does not want to continue with martial obligations or may be called husband/wife under the eyes of the society this means they have developed animus deserendi, once this intention is formed this fulfills one criteria for proving desertion.

Now this intention can be from both sides or may be a constructive animus deserendi, In constructive animus deserendi when one of the spouse asks the other spouse to leave the house or leave him/her that is constructive animus deserendi other the other form is that the a spouse can leave the other spouse with his/her own will that is willful desertion. in both the situation the affected spouse i.e the spouse which was made to leave in the case of constructive animus deserendi or the spouse which was left alone can pursue the proceeding for divorce if other requirements are satisfied.

2. Separation- Now the  Animus deserendi is followed by actual separation, now this separation can be physical or mental one, normally itrs the physical one here the actual action takes place merely forming an intention or telling a spouse that I will leave you is not suffice if it is not followed by some action. Merely an action without the intention is also not suffice both intention to leave and followed by action is mandatory in proving desertion.Sometime there is first physical separation and then followed by intention and sometimes its vice versa, both should takes place for a continuous period of 2 years.

3. No reasonable just cause to leave- There should not be any reasonable cause available to the spouse who is leaving the matrimonial ties, generally cruelty is alleged by defending spouse to defeat the proceedings of desertion in such cases the burden is on the defending spouse to prove cruelty by examining witnesses and medical examinations etc. But if defending spouse fails to prove any of the just causes then this ingredient stand proved.

4. without the consent- if the deserting spouse does not consents such desertion this final ingredient also stands proved, but how to prove this ingredient? now let us suppose a spouse leaves then there must be continuous efforts from the other side to b ring back the spouse, it should not be the case where the other spouse sits mutely while the other spouse has deserted. efforts should be made to render reconciliation. here contact with parents, mother father or other relatives are essential. reconciliation at its own level at first and then involvement of relative is essential, this would satisfy the court that deserted spouse never consented for such a desertion.

Proving all the aforementioned ingredients are essential to prove desertion i n court, if any one element is missing divorce cannot be granted. Gene really cases fall short in 3rd and 4th ingredient. merely living separately even willfully does not guarantee divorce to deserting partner.

Nitish Banka

( Advocate Supreme court)

nitish@lexspeak.in