Stipulations of a Parsi Divorce
The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 governs all Parsi matrimonial relations in India, except those in the territories of Jammu and Kashmir. This Act encompasses dissolution of a marriage between two Parsis or followers of Zoroastrianism. The scope of certain provisions of the Act has been enlarged to align them with some terms of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Valid Grounds for Filing for a Divorce
The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 has laid down the following grounds for filing a valid divorce petition:
- Willful non-consummation or impotency of a spouse
- Unsound mind of a spouse, which was unknown to the other spouse before marriage
- Desertion by a spouse for over three years
- Imprisonment of a spouse for seven or more years, provided at least one year of the sentence has lapsed
- Involvement of a spouse in bigamy, rape or any such offense
- Physical or mental abuse by a spouse
Additionally, a Parsi couple can mutually consent for a divorce, by providing the requisite proof of marriage.
If a divorce is filed on these valid grounds, then the decree for divorce is passed by the court. The court thereupon sends a copy of the decree to the Registrar of Marriages that lies in its jurisdiction, who makes a formal record of the dissolution.
The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936: Scope of Alimony
The Act recognizes the wife’s right to obtain alimony after the sanction of the divorce decree. The maximum amount of alimony, while a matrimonial lawsuit is pending in court, is one-fifth of the husband's net income. Once, the suit has been settled, the size of permanent maintenance is determined by the court, by taking into consideration the wife’s assets and the husband’s ability to pay. The order remains in force until the wife remains chaste or unmarried.
Re-marriage before Obtaining Divorce: Punishment of Bigamy
Bigamy is a punishable offense under the Parsi Laws. A Parsi who remarries without being lawfully divorced from his/her spouse is subject to penalties under sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code. A party can remarry, even if his/her spouse does not consent to the divorce, provided s/he is able to lawfully nullify the marriage.