Frederick William Gentle, C.J.
1. This matter comes before the Court pursuant to Section 17, read with Section 3(1)(b) of the Indian Divorce Act. It is a petition by a husband seeking dissolution of his marriage from his wife on the ground of her adultery with an unmarried man. The adultery is said to have commenced in the year 1933 or 1934 and no proceedings were taken until the institution of the petition, out of which this reference arises, on September 20, 1946. The name of the adulterer is not mentioned in the petition and there is a prayer, for which no reason is manifested, that the petitioner may be excused from making the adulterer a counter-petitioner.
2. The only evidence which was given was that of the petitioner, who stated very little. Summarised it is the following. The wife left the petitioner 12 years before he gave evidence in 1946. She ran away with another Christian named G.S. Maben and the petitioner did not know where they were living. In 1936 he found in a copy of the South India Observer dated 5th March, 1936, an advertisement inserted by the wife that she had separated from the petitioner and a copy of the advertisement was exhibited.' The petitioner concludes, in his evidence, that he wished for a formal separation from his wife and he did not wish her to be known as his wife; nor did he wish her to come back to him.
3. The advertisement states that Mrs. Epsey Gidion Ammanna then at the Nilgiris gave notice that she had separated with her child from the petitioner; she would not be responsible for any debts he had incurred and had decided her own course for the future.
4. There was no evidence whatever of adultery. The petitioner states merely that his wife ran away with another man whose name is not disclosed in the petition, and who is not a party to the proceedings. Further there was no reason given for the delay of 12 years between the time the wife left the husband and his institution, of the petition for the dissolution of marriage. The learned District Judge of Coorg expressed himself as satisfied on the evidence and declared the marriage between the parties to be null and void subject to confirmation by this Court.
5. There was no warrant whatever for the order of the District Judge and in the absence of any evidence, as there was not in this case; the petition should not have been successful. For it to be dismissed by this Court would, perhaps, cause hardship and for that reason it will be remanded back to the Court of the District Judge of Coorg for proper and correct disposal, which it has not yet received. A decree nisi for dissolution of marriage on the ground of adultery can in no circumstances be granted save when there is evidence which the Court can accept of the adultery alleged in the petition, upon which relief is sought. Further, in this case, the petitioner should have given evidence to explain the delay of 12 years intervening from the time when the wife left him until he presented his petition for dissolution. On remand that delay must also be the subject of investigation as well as the consideration of any evidence acceptable to the Court of the commission of adultery.