Divorce Under Christian Law

As per divorce law in India, the Indian Divorce Act, 1869 governs the divorce of persons professing the Christian religion. This Act governs only Christians. If even one of the parties to marriage is a Christian, that is sufficient to give jurisdiction to decide the petition under this Act.  

Under the Indian Divorce Act, a husband can seek divorce on the ground that after solemnization of marriage the wife has been guilty of adultery.

A wife, however, may petition for divorce on any of the following grounds:

  1. Husband has changed his religion and started professing some other religion than Christianity

  2. Husband has married another woman

  3. Husband has been guilty of incestuous adultery, meaning adultery committed by a husband with a woman with whom, if his wife were dead, he could not lawfully contract marriage by reason of her being within the prohibited degree of consanguinity.

  4. Husband has committed bigamy with adultery, meaning adultery with the same woman bigamy was committed

  5. Husband has married another woman with adultery

  6. Husband has committed rape, sodomy or bestiality

  7. Adultery coupled with cruelty

  8. Adultery coupled with desertion, without reasonable excuse for more than two years

As per divorce law in India, The District Court or the High Court of competent jurisdiction is the appropriate court to file a petition for divorce under Indian Divorce Act.

Under divorce law in India, Sec. 19 of the Indian Divorce Act lays down specific grounds on which a decree can be obtained to the effect of declaring the marriage as null and void;        

  1. Husband/wife impotent at the time of marriage and at the time of institution of suit

  2. Parties are within prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity

  3. Either party is a lunatic or idiot at the time of marriage

  4. Subsisting marriage with one’s former husband/wife

  5. Consent of wither party obtained by force or fraud

A suit for judicial separation can be sought under Sec. 22 of the Act on the grounds of adultery, desertion and cruelty.  

As per the Indian Divorce Act, a person can re-marry:

    • 6 months after the date order of a High Court confirming of the decree for dissolution of marriage made by a District Judge

    • After 6 months from the date on which a decree of dissolving of marriage is passed by a High Court and no appeal has been madewhen appeal has been dismissed