Who can apply?
There is a very popular proverb that one can take the horse to a water tank, but you cannot force him to drink water. The provision of Restitution of Conjugal Rights in the Hindu Marriage Act seems to be a similar one. After solemnization of marriage under the Act if one of the spouse abandons the other without reasonable excuse, the aggrieved party has a legal right under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to file a petition in the matrimonial court for restitution of conjugal rights. Section 3 (b) of the Act defines the court that is competent to hear such petition and grant relief prayed for by the aggrieved party.

If, after hearing the petition of the aggrieved party, the court concludes that the grounds in the petition are genuine and have been satisfactory proved, it can pass a decree of restitution of conjugal rights.

Execution of the decree
The execution of the decree of restitution of conjugal rights is very difficult. The court though is competent to pass a decree of restitution of conjugal rights, but it is powerless to have its specific performance by any law. Of course, the non-compliance of the said decree amounts to constructive desertion on the part of the erring party. As per provisions of the present Act, the aggrieved party can move a petition for a decree of divorce after one year from the date of the passing of the decree and the competent court can pass a decree of divorce in favor of the aggrieved party. But under no circumstances the court can force the erring party to consummate marriage. Another advantage the aggrieved wife can have from this provision is that she can claim maintenance from the husband.


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