‘Denial of sex’ can’t be ‘exceptional hardship’ for divorce within a year: Delhi HC

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New Delhi–┬áThe Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by a couple who mutually sought divorce before the mandated one-year cooling-off period, observing that though denial of conjugal relationship is a ground for divorce, and tantamounts to cruelty, it cannot be “exceptional hardship”.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was dealing with the appeal filed by the couple challenging an order of a family court that dismissed their application under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act as it was filed before the one year time.

“Once the Parliament, in its wisdom, has legislated that denial of cohabitation/ conjugal relationship over a period of one year, or more, would tantamount to cruelty, it cannot be said that denial of sex simpliciter within the period of one year, would be a case of exceptional hardship. Thus we reject the submission of the appellant that the denial of conjugal relations by both parties is such, that it causes ‘exceptional hardship or exceptional depravity’ to either or both of them,” said the order which was reserved on April 13 and delivered on Monday.

During the course of the hearing, various judgments have been referred including the Punjab & Haryana High Court verdict in Shivani Yadav vs Amit Yadav case which had stated: “Since the couple had stayed together only for two days, this is the sufficient ground to allow their application filed under Section 14 of the Act for waiving off the mandatory period of one year.”

Another case of Ratheesh M. vs Dhanya K.V. in the Kerala High Court was also referred, in which the court had noted that there is a denial of sex from the part of the petitioner and it would amount to cruelty falling under section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

While dismissing the arguments, the Delhi High Court said: “We reserve the right of the parties to move the appropriate court independently, after the expiry of one year of separation.”

As per the plea, the marriage of the couple was solemnised on April 4, 2021, as per the Hindu rites and ceremonies at Ram Nagar, Uttarakhand. The bride after marriage shifted to the matrimonial home in Faridabad, Haryana. Soon after the marriage, marital differences cropped up between the parties, and from April 14, 2021, onwards, they started living separately in the same house. On July 29, 2021, the appellant left her matrimonial home and went to her parental house at Rohini, Delhi.

The couple hardly lived together as husband and wife, and no child has been born out of the wedlock. (IANS)


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