Adultery by the Husband
Adultery, or having a voluntary sexual relationship outside marriage, is one of the most common reasons that wives file for divorce in India. For example, if a Hindu wife can prove her husband had sexual intercourse with another woman, she can file for divorce on grounds of adultery under the Hindu Marriage Act. The Special Marriage Act and Indian Divorce Act also allow wives to seek divorce if adultery is proved.
However, she may lose grounds if she lives with him again after knowing about the adultery. Forgiveness can also invalidate this reason. Proof of adultery is important.
Cruelty by the Husband
Subjecting a wife to cruelty, physical or mental, allows her to file for divorce on grounds of cruelty across personal laws. For example, a Christian wife can file for divorce if her husband physically harms her. Under Islamic law, a Muslim wife can seek divorce if the husband insults, threatens or harasses her mentally.
The wife needs to prove the cruelty caused her much hardship and made it difficult to live with her husband. Isolated minor incidents may not qualify as cruelty.
Desertion by the Husband
If the husband deserts the wife for at least two continuous years without reasonable cause and her consent, she can file for divorce on grounds of desertion. For example, a Hindu wife can seek divorce if her Hindu husband abandons her for more than two years.
Conversion by the Husband
If the husband converts to another religion, the wife can seek divorce on grounds of conversion under her personal religious law. For example, a Christian wife can file for divorce if her Christian husband converts to Hinduism or Islam.
Incurable Mental Illness of the Husband
If the husband is diagnosed with an incurable mental illness that makes it difficult for the wife to live with him, she can use it as grounds for divorce if strong medical evidence is produced. For example, a Sikh wife can file for divorce on grounds of mental illness if medical reports prove her Sikh husband has schizophrenia.
Wives can also seek divorce by mutual consent in India. The grounds may differ based on religion, so legal guidance is advisable before filing for divorce. Overall, wives can seek divorce only under specific circumstances sanctioned by Indian personal laws.