Tag Archives: Cohabitation

Desertion vis-à-vis Wilful Separation

The offence of desertion is a course of conduct which exists independently of its duration, but as a ground for divorce it must exist for a period of at least three years immediately pending the presentation of the petition where the offence appears as a cross-charge, of the answer. Desertion as a ground of divorce differs from the statutory grounds of adultery and cruelty in that the offence founding the cause of action of desertion is not complete, but is inchoate, until the suit is constituted. Desertion is a continuing offence.
The quality of permanence is one of the essential elements which differentiates desertion from willful separation. If a spouse abandons the other spouse in a state of temporary passion, for example anger or disgust, without intending permanently to cease cohabitation, it will not amount to desertion. For the offence of desertion, so far as the deserting spouse is concerned, two essential conditions must be there namely, (1) the factum of separation, and (2) the intention to bring cohabitation permanently to an end (animus deserendi). Similarly two elements are essential so far as the deserted spouse is concerned: (1) the absence of consent, and (2) the absence of conduct giving reasonable cause to the spouse leaving the matrimonial home to form the necessary intention aforesaid. Mohan Singh Mawri v. Haripriya, 2017 (121) ALR 533.

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Filed under Matrimonial Dispute, Wilful Separation

Law Presumes in Favour of Marriage – And Against Concubinage

In the case of A. Dinohamy v. W.L. Balahamy, AIR 1927 PC 185, it was held that where a man and woman are proved to have lived together as husband and wife, the law will presume, unless the contrary is clearly proved, that they were living together in consequence of a valid marriage and not in a state of concubinage. The court observed as under:
“The parties lived together for twenty years in the same house, and eight children were born to them. The husband during his life recognized, by affectionate provisions, his wife and children. The evidence of the Registrar of the District shows that for a long course of years the parties were recognized as married citizens and even the family functions and ceremonies, such as, in particular the reception of the relations and other guests in the family house by Don Andris and Balahamy as host and hostess-all such functions were conducted on the footing alone that they were man and wife. No evidence whatsoever is afforded of repudiation of this relation by husband or wife or anybody.
In the case of Gokal Chand v. Parvin Kumari, AIR 1952 SC 231, the court observed that continuous cohabitation of woman as husband and wife and their treatment as such for a number of years may raise the presumption of marriage, but the presumption which may be drawn from long cohabitation is rebuttable and if there are circumstances which weaken and destroy that presumption, the court cannot ignore them.
It is well settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage, when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a long period of time. However, the presumption can be rebutted by leading unimpeachable evidence. A heavy burden lies on a party, who seeks to deprive the relationship of legal origin. Dhannulal v.Ganeshram, 2015 (4) AWC 3539.

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Filed under Civil Law, Presumption of Marriage

Desertion – For The Purpose of Seeking Divorce

In Savitri Pandey v. Prem Chandra Pandey, (2002) 6 SCC 73, it was held as under:
“Desertion for the purpose of seeking divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, means the intentional permanent forsaking and abandonment of one spouse by the other without that other’s consent and without reasonable cause. In other words it is a total repudiation of the obligations of marriage. Desertion is not withdrawal from a place but from a state of things. Desertion, therefore, means withdrawing from the matrimonial obligations, i.e. not permitting or allowing and facilitating the cohabitation between the parties. The proof of desertion has to be considered by taking into consideration the concept of marriage which in law legalizes the sexual relationship between man and woman in the society for the perpetuation of race, permitting lawful indulgence in passion to prevent licentiousness and for procreation of children. Desertion is not a single act complete in itself, it is a continuous course of conduct to be determined under the facts and circumstances of each case. After referring to a host of authorities, the Court in Bipinchandra Jaisingbhai Shah v. Prabhavati, AIR 1957 SC 176, held that if a spouse abandons the other in a state of temporary passion, for example, anger or disgust without intending permanently to cease cohabitation, it will not amount to desertion.”
In Lachman Utamchand Kriplani v. Meena, AIR 1964 SC 40, it has been held that desertion in it’s essence means the intentional permanent forsaking and abandonment of one spouse by the other without that other’s consent, and without reasonable cause. For the offence of desertion so far as the deserting spouse is concerned, two essential conditions must be there (1) the factum of separation, and (2) the intention to bring cohabitation permanently to an end (animus deserendi). Similarly two elements are essential so far as the deserted spouse is concerned: (1) the absence of consent, and (2) absence of conduct giving reasonable cause to the spouse leaving the matrimonial home to form the necessary intention aforesaid. For holding desertion as proved, the inference may be drawn from certain facts which may not in another case be capable of leading to the same inference; that is to say the facts have to be viewed as to the purpose which is revealed by those acts or by conduct and expression of intention, both anterior and subsequent to the actual acts of separation. Malathi Ravi, M.D. v. B.V. Ravi, M.D., (2014) 7 SCC 640.

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