“I promise to take care of him/her… peace and war… sickness and health……until the death apart us”. These promises are often made by the parties to the marriage at the time of solemnization of marriage. In India, marriages are considered a sacrament. It is a step towards the legalization of sexual intercourse and the procreation of children. According to the Hindu view, it is a permanent union for the next many births of spouses. Once it is tied between two, even death cannot apart from them.  These views of Hinduism attract the attention of foreign states and make them keep admirable of Hindu Marriage.


But now a day the marriage has become a social contract between two who have the capacity to marry. And it can be terminated at will subject to certain conditions. This is known as matrimonial relief. Matrimonial relief is the solution to the one who is suffering from a frustrating marriage. Matrimonial relief is a remedy available to the parties to the marriage if the marriage turns into a wrong way. It is provided under Section 9-13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 such as Judicial Separation, Restitution of conjugal Rights, Divorce.  But these matrimonial reliefs are subject to some bar.


Bar to matrimonial relief is based on the maxim: “ONE WHO COMES TO EQUITY MUST COME WITH CLEAN HANDS”. The petitioner who wants matrimonial relief, not only has to prove the fault of the respondent but also must cross the bar to such relief. One cannot be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong. Some bars apply to all the matrimonial relief but some apply only to divorce. According to Section 23 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 some of the bars to matrimonial relief are as follows:

  1. The doctrine of strict proof
  2. Taking advantage of one’s own wrong or disability
  3. Accessory
  4. Connivance
  5. Condonation
  6. Collusion
  7. Delay
  8. Any other legal ground

These are absolute bars and the decree passed in disregard to these bars is nullity. Under English law, some of the bars to matrimonial relief are discretionary.

  1. Doctrine of Strict proof

The burden of proof is on the petitioner to prove the grounds for matrimonial remedies. In the case of Dastane Vs Dastane, the court held that the petitioner must prove his grounds beyond a reasonable doubt. This doctrine as laid down in section 23(1) has relaxed by the judiciary in recent times. The standard of proof is not “beyond reasonable doubts”. It is enough if the balance of probabilities may prove the guilt. 

  • Taking advantage of one’s own wrong or disability

There is no legal ground upon which the petition for matrimonial is not granted except if the petitioner is taking advantage of his own wrong. For example, if the husband beats his wife and as a result of it, the wife withdraws from his society. The husband’s petition for restitution of conjugal rights cannot be granted.  This clause does not apply to Section 5(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act. According to it if a person files for annulment of marriage on the ground that he was not able to give a valid consent the petition will not be hit by Section 23(1) (a).

  • Accessory

The term Accessory means active participation in the crime of the respondent. If the ground for matrimonial relief is Adultery, the petitioner should not be an accessory in the crime.

  • Connivance

This is the same as an accessory. The difference between both of them is only that in Accessory there is active participation but there is no participation in connivance. The term Connivance means, anticipatory willing consent. If the petitioner is willing with the respondent to earn money with illegal means, the petition will be hit by section 23. This applies only in case of adultery.

  • Condonation

Condonation means forgiveness plus restoration of status quo ante. If the ground is adultery or cruelty, the petitioner should not Condon the act of the respondent.

  • Collusion

Collusion is a bar to every matrimonial relief. The Hindu marriage act abolished the bar in case of marriage null and void but available under the Special Marriage Act. 

  • Improper delay and laches 
  • Any other legal ground

Thus is the residuary clause and applicable to all matrimonial relief.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.