Restitution of Conjugal Rights (RCR) is a legal remedy available in some jurisdictions to spouses who seek the court’s intervention in compelling their estranged partner to cohabit with them. This article will explore the legal repercussions of non-appearance in RCR proceedings, emphasizing the implications for individuals who choose not to participate in the legal process.

Non-appearance in Proceedings: Legal Consequences

  • Court Decree in Absentia: If the respondent, the spouse against whom the RCR petition is filed, fails to appear in court or respond to the summons, the court may proceed to pass a decree in absentia. This decree essentially orders the respondent to fulfill the conjugal rights or return to cohabitation.
  • Contempt of Court: Non-appearance in court despite a summons constitutes contempt of court. The court may impose fines or other penalties on the non-compliant party.
  • Dismissal of the Petition: The court may choose to dismiss the RCR petition if the respondent consistently fails to appear. This dismissal signifies that the court will not compel the absent party to reunite with the petitioner.
  • Costs and Damages: The court may order the non-appearing party to pay the costs incurred by the petitioner due to the legal proceedings. Additionally, damages may be awarded if the court deems it appropriate.
  • Proceeding Ex Parte: In the absence of the respondent, the court may choose to proceed ex parte, meaning the case continues with only one party present. This may result in a one-sided judgment that could be unfavorable to the non-appearing party.
  • Impact on Subsequent Proceedings: Non-appearance in RCR proceedings may have implications for other legal matters, such as divorce proceedings. The court may consider the lack of cooperation in RCR as a factor when deciding on other issues related to the marriage.
  • Enforcement Actions: If the court issues an order for the restitution of conjugal rights, and the non-appearing party still refuses to comply, the court may take further enforcement actions, including imprisonment in some jurisdictions.
  • Adverse Inferences: The court may draw adverse inferences from the non-appearance, assuming that the absent party does not wish to reconcile or has no valid defense against the RCR petition.

Case Law: Anjur Pawar Vs. Ashokbhai Pawar

The Supreme Court decided in the Poonam Anjur Pawar vs. Ankur Ashokbhai Pawar case that one spouse had filed an RCR petition while the other had not actively participated in the proceedings. The court claimed that the respondent’s (i.e., the party against whom the Restitution of Conjugal Right is filed) non-appearance shows a disregard for the holy institution of marriage and a lack of motivation in making amends.

The court stated clearly that both parties must actively participate in the Restitution of Conjugal Right process, which aims to look into the possibility of reconciliation. It is possible to see the respondent’s absence as a want to end the marriage and a failure to address the issues that led to the separation.


In Restitution of Conjugal Rights proceedings, non-appearance carries significant legal repercussions. While the intention behind RCR is reconciliation, failing to engage in the legal process can result in court decrees, contempt charges, and negative implications for future legal matters. Parties involved in such proceedings should seek legal advice, consider mediation, and actively participate in the process to safeguard their legal rights and interests.

We are a law firm in the name and style of Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates at Gurugram and Rewari. We are providing litigation support services related to law matters in India, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to provide you with expert legal counsel and representation tailored to your specific needs and concerns.

Written by: Avichal Singhal Adv.

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