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Restitution of Conjugal Rights

What Is Restitution Of Conjugal Rights?

Conjugal Rights Restitution is a legal entitlement that is based on Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The aggrieved party may apply to the district court for restitution of conjugal rights if the husband or wife is withdrawn from the other partner's company without valid. In simple terms, the restitution of conjugal rights is regaining the companionship of a spouse who has abandoned the relationship for no apparent reason.

Who Can Seek Relief?

When either the husband or wife has withdrawn from the other's society without sufficient justification, the aggrieved party may petition the district court for restitution of conjugal rights, the court has to examine if the petition is true and there is no legal reason why the application should not be granted the restitution of conjugal rights.

Why Is The Relief Given?

The legislature, in its wisdom, has provided a statutory remedy for either spouse to reclaim the company of the spouse who has left the company without good reason, with the objective of protecting the sanctity and legality of the institution of marriage.

When & Where To File The Petition?

The district court's jurisdiction is asserted whenever a husband or wife is excluded from the other's company without good reason. For Restitution of Conjugal Rights, the Principal Judge of the Family Court would be invoked under Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Every petition filed under the HMA must be filed in the Family Court of the original civil jurisdiction where:
  • The marriage was solemnized;
  • The respondent resides;
  • The parties to the marriage last lived together; and
  • If the wife is the petitioner, where she has been residing on the date of filing the petition.

Procedure And Steps For Restitution Of Conjugal Rights:
Step 1: File the Petition;
Step 2: File the Reply;
Step 3: Present the Petitioner's Evidence;
Step 4: Present the Respondent's Evidence;
Step 5: Present the Arguments;
Step 6: Present the Judgment & Decree.

Constitutional Challenge Before The Hon'ble Supreme Court:

Previous challenge: In Smt.Saroj Rani vs. Sudarshan Kumar Chadha, 1984 AIR 1562, the constitutional validity of Section 9 of the HMA was questioned before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The Hon'ble Supreme Court ruled that conjugal rights, i.e. a husband or wife's right to be in the company of the other spouse, are not a legal authority in India. Divorce is a legal right that is embedded in the institution of marriage.

The Hindu Marriage Act, Section 9, includes sufficient safeguards to prevent it from becoming a tyranny. It also decided that Section 9 of the Act does not violate Article 14 or Article 21 of the Constitution if the purpose of the decree for restitution of conjugal rights in the aforesaid Act is viewed in its correct context and the mode of execution in cases of disobedience is considered. It overturned the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

In Ojaswa Pathak and Anr. vs. Union of India, WP (C) 250/2019, a new challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 9, HMA was filed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The Hon'ble Supreme Court's judgments in Justice KS Puttaswamy vs. Union of India, 2017 10 S.C.C. 1, Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1, and Joseph Shine vs. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 39, where the Hon'ble Supreme Court declared the provisions of laws to be unconstitutional, are likely to have an impact on the outcome of this case.

How To Deal With Matters Related To Matrimonial Disputes?

Couples who are embroiled in a divorce dispute are under a lot of stress, and the litigation can be tedious at times. Qualified matrimonial lawyers can give you the correct advice and explain the implications of your actions and it is always advisable to consult matrimonial lawyers since the beginning of the dispute to have a desirable outcome.


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