Divorce is the only legal way for terminating a Marriage other than act of God. The process of divorce is very simple in Bangladesh just in three steps to divorce for both Husband and Wife wanting separation; i) Giving Notice in written, ii) Facing the Arbitration Board, iii) After expiry of 90 days, taking a registration certificate from Registrar.
The said three steps are also applicable in case of wife. The wife can file a suit under the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 for dower money and maintenance for herself and the children living with her in a family court which is called civil suit. Section 7 of the ordinance provides the grounds relating to divorce.
And section 6 of the Marriages and Divorces (Registration) Act, 1974 provides that a Nikah registrar may register divorce affected under Muslim law within his jurisdiction on application being made to him for such registration. If a notice was served and Talaq was registered in accordance with law stated above a legal Divorce or Talaq will be executed.
Hindu family laws do not permit divorce under any circumstance although the decision to divorce is mutual. By contrast, in India, by virtue of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, both the husband as well as the wife has the right to go to court and seek dissolution of the marriage.
Section 13 of the said Act, the accepted grounds for seeking divorce includes cruelty, adultery, desertion, insanity or incurable disease and so forth. Section 12 provides the additional ground available to a wife, that being impotency of the husband and section 13(2)(4) provides that a Hindu wife can seek divorce on the ground that her marriage was solemnized before she attained the age of 15 years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of 18 years.
Thus, it is quite clear that compared to India, the law regarding divorce for a Hindu woman in Bangladesh is rife with unfairness and it requires modernization. Bangladesh Government should enact divorce law for Hindu husband and woman.
There exists another law of divorce in Bangladesh which is called the Special Marriage Act, 1872. It also covers some marriages. Section 17 of this Act has mentioned that the Divorce Act, 1869 shall apply to all marriages contracted under this Act, and any such marriage may be declared null or dissolved in the manner therein provided, and for the causes therein mentioned, or on the ground that it contravenes some one or more of the conditions prescribed in clauses (1), (2), (3) or (4) of section 2 of this Act.
The Divorce Act, 1869 contains the dissolution of marriage in chapter III, nullity of marriage in chapter IV and judicial separation in chapter V. These laws are applicable for all citizens of Bangladesh.
The writer is Advocate, Dhaka Judge Court and Research Officer, Chancery Research and Consultants Trust (CRC-Trust). Email:[email protected]
BDST: 1200 HRS, JAN 11, 2015