Restitution of Conjugal Rights
It is one of the reliefs that is provided to the spouses who are in distress in the institution of marriage. This is a Right which can be exercised by a party to Stay Together with the other party who avoids cohabitation with the aggrieved party deliberately – There has to be cohabitation between the people who enter into the institution of marriage. However, if either of them fail to fulfill such obligation or deliberately avoids cohabitation, then the other party can approach the court for restitution of conjugal rights.
The aggrieved party (petitioner) approaches the court of law when one of the spouses withdraws from the company of the other without reasonable causes. Thus, in order to approach the court of law there has to be a valid marriage, as per the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, amongst the parties.
The complaint / petition has to be filed in the civil courts in whose limits:
- Both the parties resided together or
- Both the parties resided last or
- The marriage was validly solemnized
The petitioner (aggrieved party), in order to get awarded the decree for restitution of conjugal right has to establish (a) that the respondent (other party) withdrew from the company/society of the aggrieved party without any reasonable cause and (b) there is no legal ground which disentitles the petitioner for such relief. Thus the onus lies on the party which has withdrawn from the society of the other party. Amongst many reasons, continuous demand for dowry, causing physical and mental torture are certain reasons which can be exercised by the aggrieved party.
By the passing of the decree of restitution of conjugal rights, the guilty party is ordered to live with the aggrieved party. Thus this remedy can be exercised only by the deserted spouse against the spouse who leaves the aggrieved / deserted spouse due to unreasonable causes.
The remedy provided by Restitution of Conjugal Rights decree is a positive remedy that makes both the parties to the marriage live together and cohabit.
If the decree of restitution is not honored for one year from the date of passing of the decree, then it is one of the valid grounds for petition for divorce. Apart from this the implication of this decree is that it even provides an opportunity to the aggrieved party to file petition for maintenance.