In England until 1858 the only remedy for desertion was a suit for restitution of conjugal rights. But by the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, desertion without cause for two years upwards was made a ground for a suit for judicial separation. It was not till 1937 that by the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1937, desertion without cause for a period of three years immediately preceding the institutions of proceedings was made a ground for divorce. The law has now been consolidated in the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1950 (14 Geo. VI, C. 25). It would thus appear that desertion as affording a cause of action for a suit for dissolution of marriage is a recent growth even in England.
The question as to what precisely constitutes “desertion” came up for consideration before this Court in an appeal for Bombay where the Court had to consider the provisions of S. 3(1) of the Bombay Hindu Divorce Act, 1947 whose language is in pari materia with that of S. 10(1) of the Act.