Marriage was once considered as a permanent union. In the present world, marriage has assumed the role of a contract between two adult individuals. Though marriage is still based on personal laws largely derived from religious order, marriage has transformed itself to the characteristics of a civil contract. Consequently, gone are the days when cancellation of this contract, widely known as divorce, is considered as a social taboo. Inter-alia with all other contracts which demanded a ground for its cancellations, the cancellation of marriage too needed certain grounds. With the passage of time, the grounds got altered. Some new grounds are created, while some grounds are dismantled. This article argues for the introduction of conviction as a ground for divorce.
At present, The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and Indian Divorce Act 1869 do not have any express provision regarding convicted spouses. But, The Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act 1939 and, The Special Marriage Act 1954 contains provision for divorce if the husband has been under imprisonment for seven or more years. Interestingly, only the wife can claim divorce. To put it in another perspective, the husband can never claim divorce, even if the wife has been convicted for any heinous crime. Thus, it is evident that a wife cannot bring forth the ground of conviction as divorce if the husband has been convicted for less than 7 years. Inter-alia, husband cannot bring forth the ground of conviction as divorce against a convicted wife.