Swati Jindal Garg & Associates

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)
On Matrimonial Law

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What can I do if my wife has left my house without any reason?

When a person’s spouse leaves them without any reason, they can find remedy under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. This section allows the aggrieved person to file a petition for the restitution of conjugal rights, in which case the court endevours to bring the erring spouse back to the matrimonial house and lead a normal married life.

My husband lives in Delhi and I live in Punjab. Where can I file a divorce case?
As per the law in India, a divorce case can be filed either in Delhi, or in Punjab, or in the place where the individuals got married. 
According to Sec. 19 of Hindu Marriage Act. Such cases can be filed at following places
(i) the marriage was solemnized, 
(ii)   the respondent,   at   the   time of   the presentation   of   the petition, resides, (iii) the parties to the marriage last resided together, or 
(iii­a) in case the wife is the petitioner, where she is residing on the date of presentation of the petition, or 
(iv) the petitioner is residing at the time of the presentation of the petition,
 in a case where the respondent is, at that time, residing outside the territories to which this Act extends, or has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of him if he were alive.
What legal remedies do I have if my husband is having an affair with another woman?

Even though adultery has been decriminalized under the Indian Penal Code, it remains a strong ground for divorce. Section 13(1)(i) of the Hindu Marriage Act lays down that if a person’s spouse is found to have had sexual intercourse with anyone other than their spouse, they have committed adultery and the aggrieved spouse can file for divorce on this ground.The court also ruled that a person indulging in phone sex with someone outside marriage does not come under the ambit of adultery; but it would be construed as infidelity.

What criminal action can I take if my husband rapes me?

Unfortunately, the Indian law does not as yet recognize marital rape as an offence and there is no legal recourse for the same, however the wife can file a complaint based on grounds of cruelty, unnatural sex and grevious hurt in the courts of law in order to get redressal.

How can I file for divorce mutually?

When you and your spouse have amicably resolved terms of separation to part ways, you can dissolve the marriage by filing a mutual consent divorce petition (under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955) (under Section 28 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954) before the Family Court.

How to get my marriage registered? How to get a marriage certificate?

You can apply at the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in whose jurisdiction the husband or wife resides on any working day. Fill the Application form duly signed by both husband and wife. Verification of all the documents is carried out on the date of application, two witnesses from both sides duly sign the form and a day is fixed for the appointment and communicated to the parties for registration.

How can I get my Stri Dhan back?
In order to retrieve stridhan, a woman can file a complaint against her husband and/or in-laws under section 406 of the IPC.
Application u/s. 405 of IPC
Application under allied laws
A woman’s right to her Streedhan is protected under law. S. 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 R/w S. 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 make a female Hindu an absolute owner of such property.
S. 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides for women’s right to her Streedhan in cases where she is a victim of domestic violence. 
Sec 18(ii) of the Domestic Violence Act the law says that a woman is entitled to receive the possession of the Streedhan, jewelry, clothes, and other necessary items. 
Where to file domestic violence complaints against in-laws?

In case a woman has been subjected to domestic violence at the hands of her husband and/or in-laws, she can approach the nearest police station and file a complaint under section 498A of the IPC.

Does a wife get residence protection/right to shared household under the Domestic Violence Act?

When a domestic violence complaint has been lodged, the victim retains a right of residence and cannot be forced to leave her house/premises even if it is a shared household.

What to do if my husband/ wife does not want any child?

No spouse can be forced to have a child against his/her wishes. Mutual consent is imperative and must be sought in order to procreate, however, not consenting to have a child without any reasonable excuse may amount to cruelty and can be taken up as a ground for divorce.

Can divorce be claimed if the spouse is caught sexting?

The Indian courts have ruled that a person indulging in phone sex with someone outside marriage does not come under the ambit of adultery; but it would be construed as infidelity. If the sexting by wife is considered as an act which causes mental harassment to husband and this mental harassment or cruelty is proven to be a good enough ground for breaking the marriage between both, then that may be taken into consideration by the Family Court for divorce on the ground of cruelty but definitely not on the ground of adultery as explained above.

Can I claim gifts given by husband's relatives as my stridhan?

Answers –  Streedhan is a movable or immovable property that a woman receives during her lifetime such as, prior to marriage, during the marriage, etc. A woman has a right to her streedhan and this right is provided by S.14 of the Hindu Succession Act,1956 and S.27 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955. “A Hindu woman is an absolute owner of her streedhan and can deal with in any way she likes even if it is in custody of her in-laws or husband or any other person, they are bound by law to return such property when and if demanded by her.” When they refuse to give it back, she may also be liable for the criminal offence of ‘criminal breach of trust’ U/S 405&406 IPC,1860.

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Swati Jindal Garg & Associates

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Doctorate in Criminal Law and is the Legal Member in the Internal Complaints Committee of various private as well as Government Organizations. She is also an empanelled advocate of various government institutions. The author has been a visiting lecturer in Law Centre-I, Law Faculty, Delhi University and has been writing on various legal issues in reputed journals and legal magazines.
She has also authored books on legal issues impacting women as working on women related issues is her keen area of interest. Confidence building and leadership development of women is close to her heart and she is a firm believer of the fact that holistic development happens women coach women and take each other forward.