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Marry to divorce

New Delhi, Fri, 20 Jun 2008 M Shamsur Rabb Khan

The Supreme Court’s recent observation that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, is breaking more homes than uniting them is worth consideration. The apex court has voice concerned over the fact that a large number of divorces are being sought on the pretext of some diseases under which the legal separation is valid. For example, on provisions like insanity and leprosy, which are grounds for divorce under the Act, are helping the spouses go for divorce.

The Justice Arijit Pasayat observed: “Our grandparents also suffered from mental illness. But spouses never parted company... The effort was to save the home”. He is absolutely right, especially when we talk about marriage in India, it is a solemn and life long institution, not just ‘till feel happy’ period. Disease cannot be offered as excuse for separating ways forever. Lamenting at the current trend in society, the Supreme Court went afar when it held that nowadays, divorce petitions were being prepared even before the nuptial knot had been tied.

Well, in this materialistic times, life style particularly in metros has given rise to growing number of divorce cases, in which both husbands and wives keep the divorce option open. Perhaps education and information has taught us to be extra conscious of our rights that propel us to demand more and give less than the vice verse. Or people take due advantages of legal procedures by interpreting them in more liberal ways.

We can explore the reasons: is it too much freedom? Or preference for single family? Or too deep professional and personal engagement? Or lack of adjustment? There can be many more such causes. Office relations and ‘many options in life’ are perhaps helping men and women seek something new every time that leads to newer relations. And like old ways give way to new one, people like to change wives or husbands as they change jobs.

When we think of divorce in Indian society, a country where the concept of divorce has been traditionally alien, we think of unprecedented progress on the part of individual preferences over conjugal life that was meant for a life-long bond. However, divorce become mandatory in cases and situations where both husband and wife can no longer live together. Keeping these exceptions in mind the Indian Parliament enacted the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, allowing divorce.

Under the Act, either spouse may seek termination of marriage on grounds of infidelity, cruelty, desertion and conversion, or if the other party has renounced the world, suffers from a mental illness, incurable leprosy or communicable venereal disease. While all other clauses are in consonance with the time that gives the liberty to husband and wife to go for divorce by mutual consent, the word ‘cruelty’ has yet to be defined. Moreover, practically, divorce does hardly end with mutual consent but in fight and frustration for separation.

There was a time when divorce was a rare phenomenon in Indian. In fact, India had the lowest divorce rates in the world. That, was years ago. But now, research findings have proved that divorce rates in India have been rising alarmingly. While in Delhi, the divorce rates have literally doubled over the past five years; in, Bangalore, the technology capital of India the divorce rates have tripled in the last four years. In this regard, Muslims enjoy the luxury of ‘triple talaq’ that has been used and abused for a long time.

If we look at the statistics, we find that New Delhi leads with the highest number of divorces in the country, with more than 8,000-9,000 cases every year, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore with 4,000 and 5,000 cases per year. Even in Kerala, the most literate state in India accounts for an increase of 350 per cent in the last 10 years, while Punjab and Haryana have recorded 150 per cent increase. The judge of a matrimonial court commented that there used to be one to two cases in the 1960s, 100-200 in 1980s, about 1,000 in 1990s, but now it has increased to about 9,000 cases per annum.

While Indian ethos is going the western way, only laws will not work when human relations are concerned. And if the current trend of divorce continues, the day is not far when pati-patni quality of the celestial relation will be a distant dream and the solemn pledge ‘till death do us part’ or ‘in sickness and in health’ will be utterances san essence.

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September 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

eveuthing is right but today the mariiage act acoording to indian law is given more importance to women only and the mena re more tortured womens are taking the law 498 as weapon against men to threaten mostly the studied girls do this this law is used as a illegal way when there was a fight between my wife and me and we didnot talk to each my wife put the case against me the dowry act and i had suffered years for the case liek this how ill the men will be like to live with her again they will go only for divorce only the police stations are tahing the womne to take the 498 a s weapon against now a days 80 percent of the cases of 498 are not true they are false complaint only this si the resons where men are now going for divorce case aganst women it was a period where men and women lived for life together with all their difficulties and adjusting together now ther is nothing like that all live like stone every where separted here and there law should be equal to all in case there is no use of man didnot like a women he is compled to live with her that will lead to psychology problems between them wasting both of their lives if they didnot want to live they can go away saying bye to each other and they can live a happy life


August 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

This is a reply with regards to the comment posted by Mr.Mithun Kumar. With all due chauvinistic can you be....I am a divorcee myself who was living with my husband In the US. I came back to India in order to end the horrible marriage i was in. This is not 1950 where the parents get the girl married and tells her ur husband is life with him in happiness or in sadness.... if a person you are married to is not a good person, is cronically depressed all the very abusive verbally... u cannot build a home with that person.... WHY ARE U BRINGING IN GENDER BIAS as a topic... What family are you speaking about ...the girl will keep crying...and will always hate the man...the kids will grow up with the same hatred towards their father... what Indian values are we discussing....we Indians adjust with everything just for fear of society .... women like me choose to do the right thing ...because i have a great job, a good education and parents who supported my decision..(they believed that i deserve a happy life..and no one should be made to feel that bad in a marriage).... and you bring in the statement called Gender before you make comments like that again... think about women as people in a very different world today who can excercise a simple right called CHOICE .... only a man cannot be a judge as to whether he wants to be in a relationship ... the women can do it too....
Every country and culture has its own flaws ... before you criticize another country... lets work towards setting our own flaws right ....


August 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM

There is much more freedom to divorce a spouse these days than there was before. While it might give rise to the number of younger couples seeking divorces for trivial reasons, it also works for those genuinely trapped in a marriage.

There is no reason for anyone to be stuck in an unhappy circumstance. If a spouse is being abusive or suffers from an illness such as a mental disorder, why should someone be obligated to stay in such a marriage? "To save the home" as the judge said? Excuse me but what kind of a miserable home situation is that to be rendered any thought of being saved?

I do not see the point in carrying on an unhappy union just for the sake of. If someone is truly unhappy, they should have the freedom to get out...period!

Mithun Kumar

June 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM

So very true!
We are indeed heading towards the US kind of society where the institution of marriage no longer holds any ground.
In fact there is a vast possibility that its the US AID in the background that's driving the Indian feminist organizations to pass more and more gender biased laws to promote more breakage of families in our country.
After all for India, the institution of families was the ultimate strength that kept it from breaking apart in so many tough times in the past. So, to break the country into pieces, its very essential to break the family system within the country by creating a rift between the genders! Congratulations US AID, you are succeeding at it...



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