Judicial separation means when a competent court passes an order to husband and wife to cease cohabiting but not dissolving the marriage.
Section 10 of The Hindu Marriage Act , 1955 states:
Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition to the district court praying for a decree for judicial separation on the ground that the other party-
(a) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(b) has treated the petitioner with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the petitioner that it will be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the other party; or
(c) has, for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the presentation of the petition, been suffering from a virulent form of leprosy; or
(d) has, immediately before the presentation of the petition, been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, the disease not having been contracted from the petitioner; or
(e) has been continuously of unsound mind for a period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(f) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, had sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse.
Explanation.-In this section, the expression “desertion”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent or against the wish of such party, and includes the willful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage.
(2) Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it shall no longer be obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent, but the court may, on the application by petition of either party and on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition, rescind the decree if it considers it just and reasonable to do so.
Legal separation (sometimes “judicial separation”, “separate maintenance”, “divorce a mensa et thoro”, or “divorce from bed-and-board”) is a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married. A legal separation is granted in the form of a court order, which can be in the form of a legally-binding consent decree. The most common reason for filing with the courts for a legal separation is to make interim financial arrangements for the two of them, such as deciding which one will pay which bills, possess which property, and whether one of them shall pay the other temporary financial support. These financial arrangements are actually what the term “separate maintenance” refers to, and “separate maintenance” is not a synonym for “legal separation”