The Kerala High Court stated that judicial separation cannot be given as an alternative when divorce grounds under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act are unproven.

Title: S v. D & connected matter

Decided on: 18, September 2023

Writ C No. – 148/2014

CORAM: The Honorable Mr. Justice Anil. K. Narendran and The Honorable Mrs. Justice Sophy Thomas.


The Kerala High Court is hearing a case involving a marital dispute. According to Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the husband filed an Original Petition (OP) alleging matrimonial cruelties and an illicit relationship between his wife and her brother in order to obtain a divorce from her. The divorce petition was denied by the Family Court, but a judicial separation decree was approved. Furthermore, the husband was recognized by the Family Court as the child’s biological father and given compensation, all without the need for any special pleadings or prayers. Both parties then filed appeals in the case—the wife against the judgment of judicial separation and the husband against the dismissal of his divorce petition.


In this case, a husband requested a divorce, claiming that his wife had an extramarital affair with her brother and conceived despite the fact that their union had not yet been consummated. In order to establish that he wasn’t the child’s biological father, he also asked for a DNA test. The wife wished to keep the marriage intact and refuted these accusations. The husband was named the child’s father by the Family Court, which also granted judicial separation and awarded the child compensation, even though the divorce was denied. The ruling was appealed by both parties. 


The Kerala High Court rejected a husband’s request because there was insufficient proof to back up the husband’s allegations of his wife’s supposed adultery, the Kerala High Court denied the husband’s request for a divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act. The court further decided that judicial separation was not an acceptable substitute remedy. It stressed that a long-term absence alone does not prove an irreversible marital breakdown and chastised the Family Court for overstepping its bounds of authority. The husband’s appeal for divorce was denied, the wife’s appeal was upheld, and the judicial separation decree was annulled. The wife’s costs were also mandated to be covered by the husband. 

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Written by- Kusuma R

Kerala Hc 1


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