How RCR can give Divorce and why filing RCR is better way to get divorce with case study? How Maintenance can be 0 in RCR?

There is a common belief that when the wife’s side files 498a/DV or any such package cases, the husband who has already filed RCR wishes to withdraw the RCR case and file for divorce on the ground of cruelty.

Experience shows that it is difficult to prove cruelty, and the chances of getting a divorce on the ground of cruelty are not that easy.

Now the question arises: what to do with a pending RCR case? Should we contest and get a decree, and what if the wife does or does not join? You need to understand one thing: if the wife has filed 498a and DV, the chances of her rejoining you are next to nil. So even if you get a decree of RCR in your favor, she will not join you.

Although the impact of an RCR decree with 125CrPC (i.e., wife left without any reasonable cause) is still pending consideration by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the court does consider the effort you made in obtaining the RCR decree, which remained unexecuted and will impact maintenance.

So overall, RCR does have some benefits over directly filing for divorce. But getting an RCR decree will not grant you a divorce, and you cannot move on with your life.

True, RCR is the opposite of divorce; by virtue of an RCR decree, you want your wife back and nothing more. The court will grant the decree and ask the wife to rejoin the husband, but the court cannot forcefully compel the wife to rejoin the husband.

How will you use the RCR decree to get a divorce then?

Well, the answer to this lies in section Section 13(1)(ia) and section 13(1A)(ii) under this ground if party do not resume cohabitation within a period of 1 year of the passing of restitution of conjugal rights. The divorce is granted under section 13(1A)(ii).

So RCR is helpful in getting divorce and chances of divorce increases when such case is presented. Also if wife files RCR and husband files for divorce then also husband can take benefit of section 13(1A)(ii).

This is also evident from the language of under Section 13 (1A) (ii) of the HMA which is to the effect that “either party”, which includes the decree holder as well as the judgment debtor, who can seek divorce in case of non- compliance of decree of Restitution of Conjugal Rights. If the Parliament intended that it is only the party in whose favour the restitution has been allowed, who can avail the remedy under Section 13 (1A) (ii) of the HMA, then the language would have been accordingly used in the said Section. The very fact that Section 13 (1A) (ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, enures to the benefit of “either party” clearly implies that in case of non-compliance of a Decree under Section 9 of the HMA, either party is entitled to seek divorce on this ground and the Judgment Debtor cannot be precluded from exercising his right to avail the relief thereof. Section 23 cannot be interpreted in a way to completely render the remedy under Section 13 (1A)

How Maintenance can be 0 if you file RCR?

Another question is whether there is a benefit to filing for Restitution of Conjugal Rights (RCR). In both maintenance cases and RCR cases, a crucial question arises: whether the wife has left the husband without any reasonable cause. In maintenance cases, the same question is framed to determine if the wife has left with a reasonable cause. If the family court decides this issue in favor of the husband, affirming that the wife has indeed left without any reasonable cause, then the husband will receive an RCR decree in his favor.

Once you obtain a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, you can leverage this in the maintenance case. The court can then use this finding to decide whether the wife left without any reasonable cause. If this issue is resolved in favor of the husband, maintenance can be denied.

Case Study: In the case of Dinesh Kumar Mahato versus the State of Jharkhand, the honorable High Court held that the wife had withdrawn herself from the society of the petitioner husband without any reasonable excuse. She refused to live with him without sufficient reason, despite the husband instituting a case under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights, which was decreed in his favor. The husband continuously offered to keep her with all dignity, but she refused to reside with him. Therefore, the court ruled that the wife is not entitled to any kind of maintenance.

The Issue of wife leaving without any reasonable cause?

The issue of a wife leaving without a reasonable cause, as discussed above, is decided in proceedings under RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights) or divorce. Now, if you have filed a restitution of conjugal rights case and the issue of the wife leaving without reasonable cause is decided in your favor, versus a case under Section 125 CRPC where you are just proving by way of evidence that the wife has left without any reasonable cause, which of the proceedings will be more beneficial for you?

Let us analyze through our case study in Renuka and Ors versus Sri Venkatesh. It was held that proceedings under Section 125 CRPC are summary in nature and do not contemplate proof regarding sufficient cause for living separately. The matrimonial relation between the parties and the fact that petitioner 2 and 3 are their children are not disputed. However, having regard to the statutory stipulation contained in Section 125 CRPC, it is beyond the scope of the same to go into various allegations and counter-allegations and record findings regarding the same. There is no requirement for the court to record a finding as to the sufficiency of the reason for the wife to live separately from the husband. The finding recorded by the family court that the wife is staying separately from the husband without any sufficient cause is erroneous and liable to be interfered with. The finding of the family court is set aside, and the family court is to order regarding the quantum of maintenance payable.

So, in a Section 125 CRPC case, the court will not conduct a detailed inquiry into the reason for separation. Therefore, relying only on Section 125 CRPC for the court to declare that there is no sufficient reason for the wife living separately from the husband is not reliable. The moment the court finds that the wife is unable to maintain herself and is living separately, that is sufficient for the court to grant maintenance. The finding under Section 125 sub-clause 4 is not within the scope of Section 125 proceedings. However, the same can be adjudicated in other proceedings like RCR and divorce.

Therefore, it is advisable to file an RCR case and get a decree in your favor so that the same can be used in Section 125 CRPC proceedings. This ensures there is a judicial finding based on a detailed analysis of evidence in the RCR case.