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SECTION 9 OF THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955

SECTION 9 OF THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955

Context:

The Supreme Court is expected to start hearing a fresh challenge to the provision permitting restitution of conjugal rights under Hindu personal laws.

Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:

  • It offers restitution of conjugal rights,  the right to consortium and secures it by permitting a spouse to move court to uphold the right.
  • Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 reads: When either the husband or the wife has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply, by petition to the district court.
    • For restitution of conjugal rights and the court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such a petition and that there is no legal ground why the application should not be granted, may decree restitution of conjugal rights accordingly.

Why is the law being challenged?

  • The law is being tested now on the primary grounds that it violates the fundamental right to privacy.
  • Although the law is gender-neutral since it permits wife and husband to ask for restitution of conjugal rights, the provision disproportionately affects women.
  • Another relevant point taken into consideration is the misuse of this provision as a shield against divorce proceedings and alimony payments.

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