Grounds for Divorce

The following are the grounds for divorce in India mentioned under the

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Adultery – When a spouse enters into any kind of sexual relationship including intercourse outside marriage, it is termed as adultery. Even one single act of adultery is enough for the petitioner to get a divorce. Unlike other grounds, substantial evidences are required to prove adultery because adultery is also a criminal offence.

Desertion – If one of the spouses voluntarily abandons his/her partner for continuously a period of two years, the abandoned spouse can file a divorce case on the ground of desertion.

Conversion – Incase either of the two converts himself/herself into another religion, the other spouse may file a divorce case based on this ground.

Cruelty – Cruelty is an act of physical, mental or emotional torture which may affect the life, limb and health of a spouse. While dealing with cruelty it is to be noted that conduct of spouse is not as important as its effect on other spouse. Cruelty has not been defined under H.M.A but it is quite exhaustive and could cover any act/acts which may affect the other spouse.

Mental Disorder – If a spouse suffers from incurable mental illness the other spouse can file a divorce petition. The crux is that mental disorder should be of such a type that the other spouse can not be expected to live with him. Under this ground the medical evidence becomes vital.

Leprosy – In case of a ‘virulent and incurable’ form of leprosy, a petition can be filed by the other spouse based on this ground.

Venereal Disease – If one of the spouses is suffering from a serious disease that is easily communicable, a divorce can be filed by the other spouse. The sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS are accounted to be venereal diseases.


Renunciation – A spouse is entitled to file for a divorce if the other renounces all worldly affairs by embracing a religious order.

Not Heard Alive – If a person is not seen or heard alive for a continuous period of seven years, the other spouse can file a divorce petition.

No Resumption of Co-habitation – If a court has passed a decree for judicial separation under Sec 10 and no cohabitation take place between the parties within one year, either of the party can file a divorce petition citing such ground. No additional ground is needed.