The Hindu Marriage Act ,1955:
- Delay resulting from ignorance of law;
- The petitioner's want of means and property;
- Unwillingness to involve members of the petitioner's family in family difficulties;
- Fear of scandal and desire to avoid a final break-up, if possible;
- Reasonable hope of reconciliation; and,
- Patience and forbearance on the part of a spouse and particularly the wife and considerations of welfare and position and interest of children of the marriage.
"The language of the section did not permit of delay being pleaded in bar of the relief. Under the present sub-section it would be competent to the court and even necessary and incumbent on it to consider in any case whether there was any unnecessary or improper delay in instituting the proceedings as laid down in Section 23(1)(d) of the Hindu Marriage Act."
Balvindar Kaur v. Avtar Singh (1985) 2 D.M.C. 26: held that "mere delay or long lapse of time in launching of the proceedings by itself is not a bar to the grant of decree under Hindu Marriage Act if it is explained properly"
Gopibai v. Hukumchand 1977 M.P. W.N. 480: it was held that "under Section 23(1) of the Act the Court should satisfy before proceeding to grant any relief under the Act that there has not been unnecessary or improper delay in instituting the case"
According to this finding, "it is clear that the petitioner married Anakarudu as his second wife, while the first Wife Arumbu was alive. As such, this marriage is null and void under Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act." If so much is granted, it certainly provokes one to ask why the Courts below should at all have felt compelled to dismiss the wife's petition on the ground of delay? My answer is that they had no call to do so."
The decree for nullity of her marriage upheld ,despite 17 yrs delay in filing of proceedings for nullifying a marriage.
The cases remanded for unexplained delay :
In Manchar Bapuji v. Chandrawati, AIR 1936 Nag 26 the, Nagpur High Court held that a delay of seven years in presenting a petition for divorce is, prima facie, unreasonable and raises a presumption of connivance or condonation and the burden is on the petitioner to explain the delay before he can be granted the decree he seeks. The case was remanded for further enquiry.
In Ammanna v. Ammanna, AIR 1949 Mad 7 it was observed by the Madras High Court that the petitioner should have given evidence to explain the delay of 12 years intervening from the time when the wife left home until he presented his petition for dissolution of his marriage. The case was remanded.
Other cases :
It is evident that the courts in India are very liberal in condoning the delay in matrimonial cases.
- Nirmoo vs Nikka Ram on 14 March, 1968 AIR 1968 Delhi 260
- Dr. Niranjan Das Mohan v. Mrs. Ena Mohan AIR 1943 Cal 146.