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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