Marriage in the Hindu context from ages is considered sacrosanct relation and not a contract . Though in modern times it has become a fashion to have sexual relationship before marriage by the students of all ages. Though they are used to have sexual relationship prior to marriage but not yet acceptable to this reality and except that their partner should be of unimpeachable integrity which amounts to double standards by any means.
By these introductory words let me reply the query.
Sub section 1 of Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 mentions that any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party
- (i) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, had voluntary sexual intercourse with anyperson other than his or her spouse; or
- (ia) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or
- (ib) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or]
- (ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or
- (iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittentlyfrom mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
- (iv) has has been suffering from a virulent and incurabe form of leprosy; or
- (v) has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or
- (vi) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or
- (vii) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive;
In addition to this sub section 1A of section 13 of the Act some provides some other grounds for divorce. In addition to that sub section 2 of section 13 of the Act prescribes other gronds for wife to take divorce .
For the present problem only section 13(1)(i) and section 13(1)(ia) is relevant.
Sub section 1(i) of section 13 of the Act provides that a ground for divorce that other party , after the solemnization of the marriage, had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse. It means that section provided a ground for divorce only having sexual intercource with any other person after marriage and not before the solemnization of marriage . Even the act have not given so much importance to the relation of any person before marriage . The Act has imposed obligation on husband and wife to have scared relations after the solemnization of marriage .
When sub section 1(ia) of section 13 of the Act provided “treated the petitioner with cruelty” a round for divorce after the solemnization of the marriage and not before its solemniszation.
So directly your wife cannot take divorce on the ground of your having illicit relations with under section 13(1)(i) of the Act . Neither directly she can take the benefit of section 13(1)(ia) of Act as it provided “ treating with cruelty ground for divorce only if petitioner is treated after the solemnization of marriage. It means husband has done nothing after marriage but this will be separate matter in case husband has kept this relationship even after marriage .
Although cruelty has not defined in the Act but it is explained in many cases .In the case of Anita Krishnakumar Kachba vs Krishnakumar Ramchandra Kachba on 20 December, 2002 Equivalent citations: AIR 2003 Bom 273, 2003 (4) BomCR 731, 2003 (1) MhLj 828.
“ Cruelty must be of such a type which will satisfy the conscience of the Court that the relationship between the parties has deteriorated to such an extent that it has become impossible for them to live together without mental agony. Cruelty generally does not consist of a single isolated act but consists of a series of acts spread over a period of time. The cruelty practiced may be in many forms. It must be productive of an apprehension in the mind of the other spouse that it is dangerous to live with the erring party.”
So it depends upon the peculiar circumstances of the case whether such an act is amounts to cruelty . In cases wife always treated you with mistrust and you are also paying in the same coin and your relations reached to such a phase that it almost become impossible for reconciliation, then the court may consider to give divorce .
However in case you continue to treat your wife with respect in spite of her allegations try to reconcile the relations , then the court may not grant divorce but judicial separation under section 13A of the Act.
So it is advised that although this is not a direct ground for divorce still the court may order divorce in your relations have become irreconcilable but in case you wish that this may not happen then you should treat your wife with respect and keep trying to reconcile her that it is gone case and after marriage our relations are sacrosanct, till you are able to convince her with your seniority .