Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 lays down that husband or wife may by presenting petition, get the
marriage dissolved by decree of divorce on the grounds enumerated therein. Clause (v) of
Sub-Section (1) of Section 13 says lays down that Petitioner may apply for decree for divorce on the
ground that the other party has been suffering from venereal disease in communicable form.
In case in hand, husband can get decree of divorce dissolving his marriage with his wife on the ground
that wife has for somemetime been suffering from venereal disease in communicable form. If we see the
defence taken up by wife. then the fact that disease is curable is not helpful to wife. because from
perusal of base provision, it will clear that once it is proved by petitioner that respondent is
suffering from venereal disease incommunicable form, it is sufficient and it is no defence to urge that
disease is curable. So first plea of wife is not sustainable.
Coming to second plea, taken up by wife i.e. disease has been contracted from husband himself. Here
Section 23 of Hindu Marriage Act is relevant. Clause (9) of Sub Sec(1) of Section 23 lays down that' if
the court is satisfied that:
(a) any of the grounds for granting relief exists and petitioner...is not in any way taking advantage of
his or her own wrong or disability for the purpose of such relief and there is no other legal ground why
relief should not be granted, then, and in such a case, but not otherwise, the court Shall decree such
relief. The latter part of clause (a) of S.23(1), i.e. "is not in any way taking advantage of his or her
own , Tong or disability" read with the words at the end of Sub Section (1) "then and in such a case, but
no otherwise" makes it abundantly clear that the Court cannot pass a decree granting any reliefunder the
act in favour of a petitioner who is in any way taking advantage of his or her own wrong or disability
for the purpose of such relief. It is not enough that the petitioner has established the ground on which
relief is sought. His or her own wrong or disability is an absolute bar to the relief sought by the
In Tarachand v. 8mt. Narain Devi AIR 1976 Pun. 300 Punjab & Haryana High Court observed that Section 23
is based on equitable principle that he who comes to the court, must come with clean hands in other words
a wrongdoer should not be permitted to take advantage Of his or her own wrong or disability \ hile
seeking relief from the court.
In Dharmendera Kumar v. Usha Kumar AIR 1977 8C 2218 Supreme Court observed that in order to be "wrong"
within the meaning this clause, the conduct alleged must be misconduct, serious enough to justify denial
]n case in hand, it is proved by W (Wife) that disease in question has been contracted to her from R
(Husband) therefore in view of provisions of Section 23 of Act petitioner is not entitled to decree of
divorce because he is trying to take advantage of his own wrong and disability.