Groom: Aged about 40yrs, Bride: 41 yrs, Son: Aged about 12yrs
On or about 1984, I, at the age of 15 years proposed to a 16-year girl – and the story began. I forgot that I lost my father at the age of 11 years and I had a sister aged 5 yrs and also I had my widow mother. I had lots of responsibilities to carry out as the only son of my beloved father. In a romantic mood I forgot the difference in financial status of the two families. The story could have been entirely different if the girl would have refused me then and there, but she accepted me. But her family was “matured” and they opposed it in every possible way. I had my first big exam (10+) just at door. In spite of broken heart I tried my best and got 70% in the exam.
Thereafter I could realize the real state of affairs, as the girl was silent. But I wanted to meet the girl for the last time and finally found her in 1988, 15 km away from her home. In between, the girl never informed me about her whereabouts. Again on that day the girl agreed to “CARRY ON” the romance for the time being.
In 1993, myself got married after lots of inside drama from her family. Her father could never accept me “from heart” as an eligible husband of his daughter and he did a “FAVOUR” to us; he managed to get a job for her, in a school 65 km away from her in-law’s house, just a month before the said marriage. Meantime I managed to make a house with the proceeds received from LIC, obtained after my father’s death.
At that time, I was looking after the “small” business left by my father. But her father could never rely on my financial condition and his daughter continued with the service by ferrying daily up and down 130 km. She used to stay very often at her father’s house (close to workplace). She conceived in 1995, but had a miscarriage, and she had two more miscarriages after that in two consecutive years. I lost the joy of being a FATHER and the doctors told specifically that all these miscarriages happened due to the strenuous journey daily.
In between, I have decided to take up a job. And my wife finally decided to leave her job, her father also agreed (after some drama again) to the decision. And just after that she became the “proud mother” of our only son. But she could never forgive me for that decision, although she made her own decision always.
I started feeling humiliated for the indirect responsibility for the cause of leaving the job. The misunderstanding began and it increased day after day. I concentrated on my job, and obtained recognition from my employer. I was earning enough money to carry on my responsibilities. I built up another floor in the house, since my mother had a long desire for that. I performed my last pending duty by getting my sister married.
I started realizing slowly, that I am nothing but a moneymaking machine for my wife. Needless to say, in between, the marriage lost all its charm in all way. My wife became a “lady” by then and was satisfied with her monetary status, and I became a late 30’s gentleman and kept myself satisfied with my job with an understanding that for the sake of my son, we should stay together.
But from 2007, she started humiliating me even in front of my son. I became mentally broke. My health was broken, started suffering from IBS, BP etc. (diseases from tension and mental unrest) and started thinking about separation and divorce. I had to take sedative regularly. At the same time I was worried about my son’s future. I was in a dilemma till April (on the death anniversary of my father); she humiliated me about my parents and myself with some nasty words (“you have some problem in your blood, that’s why I am worried about my son’s future with you”). I have finally decided for DIVORCE.
Previously, she said many times that she would also prefer the mutual application for Divorce, for a healthy future. But this time she disagreed and after discussing with her father, they demanded huge ransom money as “compensation”. She also told me that as divorce is inevitable one of us should leave the house. I have decided to move out, as I wanted to give my son at least the same house after separation, which I felt necessary for my son’s upbringing. I have shifted to a rented apartment near my place of work.
She was taking money (whatever needed) from me as usual and delaying the filing process for any separation, keeping the same humiliation process on. Now I have decided to clear the status, as I do not want to increase the bitterness further with that broken relationship. I agreed (also paid till date) to pay all necessary expenses for maintenance of my son and wife, including paying the maintenance for the house where they are still staying with my mother. Now I would like to have a legal divorce only. At the same time I shall assure the Court for maintenance of them, and would like to have legal right for visiting my son once in week.
I tried to compromise and adjust, but I couldn’t. Now I am realizing, we need to break before it becomes too late. We are sleeping in different rooms for the last 2 years. But I cannot live in this manner anymore. I love my job; it has given me my own identity. But now, I am regularly taking medicines for sleeping, blood pressure and high cholesterol. Before the situation affects my job performance, I want to end it. I can take everything else, but not a bad performance of myself at workplace.
After all this in 25 years, her father again failed to rely on me. Earlier, I had no money, that’s why they hesitated to get myself married to her. But now, they do not know how much money to claim from me, to spoil me even after Divorce, and that is why they are hesitating to go for a mutual divorce. So I have no other alternative to file the divorce petition.
Now it’s already 5 months gone after my filing. Lots of incidents happened in between: -
In October, I felt for my son (but nothing for my wife) and came to my old address. But the “drama” continued. I got seriously depressed after noticing my wife’s behavior. Actually she got much more “CRUEL”, and silently (sometime with abusive language in a very low voice) she started humiliating me. Finally, I went to a psychiatrist. I suffered from a tremendous depression and trauma for my wife’s behavior. After being checked up by 2 more doctors, I am taking anti-depressant drugs since then
I got a “fit certificate” from Doctor, but still having medicines. In between, she forced to bring all household goods from my rented apartment and stopped to me sell the same, although some items (like fridge) were duplicated. I really got spellbound noticing her attitude. She forced me to shift to 1st floor leaving my mother on ground floor.
Fortunately for me, my rented apartment is not yet left.
Now I am again residing at my rented apartment, as my all efforts resulted in a failure. In the beginning, I was much immature (perhaps in emotion and man woman relation till date) and due to some ego from both side, the distance made between us. And it was keep on increasing in several way in many forms. We tried many times to compromise and adjust- but couldn’t. I know lots of odds will come from my mother and relatives, might face financial crunch also. But still I have to do this, my mother is also suffering last few months, guessing my mental condition, and unfortunately in spite of my trying - relation between wife and mother isn’t healthy yet. My wife stopped using Sindoor from 2006. I really wanted to forget all past days as bad dreams , but I couldn’t.
Contest divorce itself is a very tough decision. Even in my professional life, people wont take it easily. Still I want to take my own black spots, my failure in the marriage - to the public, at least to the people who matters; cant play hide and seek game anymore. I stopped myself several times; thinking about my son, but he should also better see one parent than parents without love or respect for each other. Perhaps by saying apart both of us can maintain a healthy relation with him. The issue was already pushed for 10 years - but nothing changed. I shall fulfill all their (wife and son) other need like now, but not by staying together anymore. I know healthy parent relationship is essential for kids to grow. But the way I was living, is not a healthy way, staying apart is a far better option surely. I want our marriage do be dissolved by a decree of divorce. That’s the only healthy solution to my particular case. I hope Honourable Court won’t hesitate to grant my appeal of relief from the said marriage.
My wife knows all of these but still not ready to divorce me- "just for my son” and her status to society! She is harassing me for by keeping this legal battle alive.
How to tackle her and HONURABLE INDIAN COURT?
THE LAWS- INDIAN DIVORCE LAW!!!
ARE WE REALLY MOVING FORWARD???
I filed my divorce petition on September 2009. The first date was in Dec 2009. On that day I just got another date.
When we talk about “India’s globalization”, it’s just a MOCKERY of its height. Just think about States (majority of the world by now), where No- Fault divorce exists. But we Indians are different. We are really different! We had a custom of “SATI DAHO PROTHA”, “BOHUBIBHAOO of Brahmins”, “dowry” and so on, which no longer exists (at least in the so called Indian social society). All those practices are no longer permissible by Indian Law. Other states also had some old beliefs like “burning a witch”. The basic difference was, they at least used to admit their belief about the victim as “witch”, but we named her “SOTI” tagging with a very “noble” cause. Whenever we (or someone) stick to something old, we always tag that as “custom”, “tradition” etc. This is human nature. Everyone always wants to be in his stability and status co. Nobody in normal condition will agree to part with a limb of his own. But sometime a surgery is needed to avoid the gangrene - it’s done only when it’s necessary. Is not this the right (if not delayed already) time to address the problem associated with Indian Divorce Act itself? Please note, I am not the 1st to say this, the law commissions already felt this in 1971 and 2009 (reports enclosed). Both “seriously” recommended introducing THE IRRETRIEVABLE BREAK DOWN OF MARRIAGE as a ground for divorce. We have now a “Fault divorce” and mutual divorce. But what’s the way out when one spouse is not cooperating with other?
That means, when my partner and me can’t agree on a less affecting thing like divorce (which means to break the tie of marriage), how can we STAY TOGETHER in marriage thereafter. My wife now more “ cruel” in behaviour. She is fighting legally with me – that means she don’t have any ‘emotional” dependence on me. When we talk about our “old tradition of marriage” we often forget that, no “traditional” wife will come to court to keep or leave the marriage. And when a person like me, who act as a Manager in a reputed company, files the divorce for wife’s cruelty, how people would collate? Actually it’s very much humiliating for me to file the petition and fight for that. It’s not explainable to anyone, but one who is in similar condition, can very well understand this. Can the Judiciary ask me to point out very private part of my life like marriage? All of us know that, staying together (in any form) requires much more agreement between any two people than to stay apart. That means I have to request (or beg or buy) my wife to be free from marriage, just like a sentenced captive from the Jail. Judiciary indirectly being used as a tool to bargain terms for divorce. Yes when there is legal battle between couple, who are staying separate over a year, the only motto can be to get a “good bargain” or to harass. As we all know, nobody or nothing can compel a person to live with another person. Laws can delay the process, but can’t really change the direction in this scenario.
Is not this obstructing my basic fundamental right as a citizen? When there is no such law for a “father & son” or “mother & son” relation to be in that tie for ever (although maintenance clause is there), why would be such gross disparity in case of marriage? Are later the more “NOBLE” or “MUST ON” relations than the earlier? Is institution of marriage a serious “offense”, which I have done once, so can’t be freed till my death? Is wedlock means deadlock?
But unfortunately our “Honourable Legislation” is yet to make the amendment in the divorce law. Whenever we delay something, it affects. In this scenario its affecting unfortunate people like me. But there is always some ray of relief as the Judiciary already granted divorce where they felt couple couldn’t stay together any more.
I would like to mention another thing. My petition primarily based on “CRUELTY”, as the most suitable “available ground” for divorce. But one has to understand that fairer sex normally don’t act “cruel” by physical nature. Even in some cases “SILENCE” or “ABSENCE OF CORDIAL NATURE” between husband and wife can be cruelty of severe nature, which happened in my case.
I am referring to one very pertinent case where Honourable Supreme Court of India understood the gravity of the circumstances and granted the decree of divorce by dissolving the marriage, sometimes even after the lower court’s verdict for an opposite direction. In most of the cases, petition filed against wife’s cruelty. Judiciary understood that delaying the process would only increase bitterness and further cruelty.
(1) Vineeta Saxena Vs Pankaj Pandit
CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 1687 of 2006
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 21/03/2006
BENCH: Ruma Pal & Dr. AR. Lakshmanan
(2) Kajol Ghosh Vs Sanghamitra Ghosh
CASE NO.: Transfer Petition (civil) 228 of 2004
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 20/11/2006
BENCH: G.P. MATHUR & DALVEER BHANDARI
(3) Shobha Rani Vs Madhukar Reddi
DATE OF JUDGMENT12/11/1987
BENCH:SHETTY, K.J. (J), RAY, B.C. (J)
CITATION: 1988 AIR 121 1988 SCR (1)1010
1988 SCC (1) 105 JT 1987 (4) 433
1987 SCALE (2)1008
(4) Ashok Hurra Vs Rupa Bipin Zaveri- Dt 10/03097
CIVIL APPEAL NO 1835 OF 1997
(5) Suman Kapur Vs Sudhir Kapur – Dt - 07/11/2008
CIVIL APPEAL NO.6582 OF 2008
(6) V. Bhagat Vs D. Bhagat
DATE OF JUDGMENT19/11/1993
BENCH: JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J), KULDIP SINGH (J)
CITATION: 1994 AIR 710, 1994 SCC (1) 337
JT 1993 (6) 428 1993 SCALE (4)488
(7) A. Jayachandra Vs Aneel Kaur
CASE NO.:Appeal (civil) 7763-7764 of 2004
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/12/2004
BENCH: RUMA PAL, ARIJIT PASAYAT & C.K.THAKKER
(8) Mayadevi Vs Jagdhish Prasad
CASE NO.:Appeal (civil) 877 of 2007
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 21/02/2007
BENCH: Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & DALVEER BHANDARI
(9) N. G . Dastane Vs S. N. Dastane - dt 19/03/1975
BENCH: CHANDRACHUD, Y.V. GOSWAMI, P.K. UNTWALIA, N.L.
CITATION: 1975 AIR 1534 1975 SCR (3) 967, 1975 SCC (2) 326
CITATOR INFO : RF 1988 SC 121 (7,10)
(10) Romesh Chander Vs Savitri - Dt 13/01/1995
BENCH: SAHAI, R.M. (J), MAJMUDAR S.B. (J)
CITATION: 1995 AIR 851 1995 SCC (2) 7
JT 1995 (1) 362 1995 SCALE (1)177
(11) G.V.N. KAMESWAR RAO Vs G. JABILLI
CASE NO.:Appeal (civil) 140 of 2002
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/01/2002
BENCH: D.P. Mohapatra & K.G. Balakrishnan
(12) Samar Ghosh Vs Jaya Ghosh
CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 151 of 2004
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 26/03/2007
BENCH: B.N. Agrawal, P.P. Naolekar & Dalveer Bhandari
(13) Sujata Uday Patil Vs Uday Madhukar Patil
CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 5779 of 2006
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 13/12/2006
BENCH: G.P. Mathur & A.K. Mathur
(14) Rishikesh Sharma Vs Saroj Sharma- Dt 21/11/2006
CASE NO.:Appeal (civil) 5129 of 2006
(15) Satish Sitole Vs Smt Ganga - Dt 10/07/2008
CIVIL APPEAL No. 7567 of 2004
(16) Praveen Mehta Vs Inderjit Mehta- 11/07/2002
CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 3930 of 2002
(17) Durga Prasanna Tripathy Vs Arundhati Tripathy – Dt 23/08/2005
CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 5184 of 2005
(18) K R Mahesh Vs Manjula – Dt – 11/07/2006
CASE NO.:Transfer Petition (civil) 947 of 2005
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/07/2006
BENCH:ARIJIT PASAYAT & S.H. KAPADIA
And Last but not the least
(19) Naveen Kohli Vs Neelu Kohli – Dt 21/03/2006
CASE NO.:Appeal (civil) 812 of 2004
Newspaper article :-
“Examining the irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce
Ankit Kejriwal, Prayank Nayak
Irretrievable breakdown of marriage can be defined as such failure in the matrimonial relationship or such circumstances adverse to that relationship that no reasonable probability remains of the spouses remaining together as husband and wife for mutual comfort and support.. It is the situation that occurs in a marriage when one spouse refuses to live with the other and will not work towards reconciliation. When there is not an iota of hope that parties can be reconciled to continue their matrimonial life, the marriage can be considered as Irretrievable Breakdown of marriage.
This concept was first introduced in New Zealand. The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act, 1920 included for the first time the provision for separation agreement for three or more years was a ground for making petition to the court for divorce and the court was discretion whether to grant divorce or not. In England, the gate for this theory was opened up in the case of Masarati v. Masarati, where both the parties to the marriage had committed adultery. The court of appeal, on wife’s petition for divorce, observed breakdown of marriage. The law commission of England in its report said, The objectives of good divorce law are two: one to buttress rather than to undermine the stability of marriage and two, when regrettably a marriage has broken down, to enable the empty shell to be destroyed with maximum fairness, and minimum bitterness, humiliation and distress. On the recommendation of the Law commission, Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage was made the sole ground for divorce under section 1 of the Divorce Law reforms Act, 1973. The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1959 of the Commonwealth of Australia provided for divorce on the grounds of breakdown of marriage. In India, breakdown of marriage is still not ground divorce in spite of the recommendation of the Law Commission and various Supreme Court judgments to include breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. This paper examines the need to introduce irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground of divorce.
Theories of divorce
The provisions relating to divorce are contained in Sec 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The Act recognizes two theories of Divorce: the fault theory and divorce by mutual consent. Under the fault theory, marriage can be dissolved only when either party to the marriage had committed a matrimonial offence. Under this theory it is necessary to have a guilty and an innocent party and only innocent party can seek the remedy of divorce. However the most striking feature and drawback is that if both parties have been at fault, there is no remedy available.
Another theory of divorce is that of mutual consent. The underlying rationale is that since two persons can marry by their free will, they should also be allowed to move out of their relationship of their own free will. However critics of this theory say that this approach will promote immorality as it will lead to hasty divorces and parties would dissolve their marriage even if there were slight incompatibility of temperament.
Some of the grounds available under Hindu Marriage Act can be said to be under the theory of frustration by reason of specified circumstances. These include civil death, renouncement of the world etc. In this article we shall see that how these theories, owing to change in social circumstances and change in attitude towards the institution of marriage had failed to provide full justice in matrimonial cases.
The Supreme Court has adopted a literal view and granted divorce under irretrievable breakdown of marriage. In Ashok Hurra v. Rupa Bipin Zaveri, the husband and wife filed a suit for divorce by mutual consent. But, subsequently wife withdrew her consent. So the petition was dismissed by trial court. The Supreme Court held that We are of the view that cumulative effect of various aspects involved in the case indisputably point out that marriage is dead both emotionally and practically, and there is no chance at all of the same being revived and continuation of such relationship is only for name-sake. The Honble Court used Article 142 and granted divorce. The Delhi High Court in its full judge bench decision in Ram Kali v. Gopal Das took note of modern trend not to insist on maintenance of an union which was broken and said, it would be practical and realist approach, indeed it would be unreasonable and inhumane, to compel the marriage to keep up the facade of marriage even though the rift between them is complete and there are no prospects of their living together as husband and wife.
In the case of Savitri Pandey v. Prem Chandra Pandey, the Supreme Court reiterated the need for the inclusion of irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. The Supreme Court in Manjula v. K.R. Mahesh held, the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there would be no point in making an effort to bring about conciliation between the parties. In Neetu Kohli v. Naveen Kohli, husband alleged that the wife was quarrelsome and was found in compromising situation with one Biswas Rout. The wife counter alleged that husband had a concubine. This established that the marriage had broken down irreparably and hence granted divorce on grounds of an irretrievable breakdown. It also observed that it was high time that this be included as ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Seventy-first Law Commission Report
The 71st Law Commission of India submitted to the Government on 7th April 1978 dealt with the concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This matter was taken by the Law Commission as a result of the reference made by the Government of India in the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs. The Report points out the fact that the fault and the guilt theories of divorce are not sufficient and cause injustice in those cases where the situation is such that although none of the parties is at fault, or the fault is of such a nature that the parties to the marriage do not want to divulge it, yet there has arisen a situation in which the marriage cannot be worked. The marriage has all the outward manifestations of marriage but the real substance is gone, it’s just like an empty shell. The Report unequivocally asserts that in such circumstances it will be in the interest of justice to dissolve the marriage. It is also mentioned in the Report that in case the marriage has ceased to exist in substance and in reality, there is no reason for denying divorce, the parties alone can decide whether their mutual relationship provides the fulfillment, which they seek. Divorce should be seen as a solution and an escape route out of a difficult situation. Such divorce is unconcerned with the wrongs of the past, but is concerned with bringing the parties and the children to terms with the new situation and developments by working out the most satisfactory basis upon which they may regulate their relationship in the changed circumstances. The other majority view, which is shared by most jurists, according to the Law Commission Report, is that human life has a short span and situations causing misery cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. A halt has to be called at some stage. The law cannot turn a blind eye to such situations, nor can it decline to give adequate response to the necessities arising there from. By refusing to sever that tie the law in such cases do not serve the sanctity of marriage; on the contrary, it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of the parties.
In most developed nations, the irretrievable breakdown of marriage is recognised as a ground for divorce. New Zealand was the first country to recognize it, through the (New Zealand) Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act, 1920 where a separation agreement for three years is a ground for making a divorce petition. In England, on the recommendation of the Law Commission, it was made the sole ground for divorce under section 1 of the Divorce Law reforms Act, 1969. The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1959 of the commonwealth of Australia provided for divorce on the grounds of breakdown of marriage. The Family Law Act (Australia), 1975 considers irretrievable breakdown as sole ground for divorce. USSR in the initial years was very liberal in the granting of divorce. It was called post card divorce. Family instability led to the tightening of the divorce conditions lately. Under the (Canadian) Divorce Act, 1967-68 it is clearly recognised as a ground for divorce, apart from the normal fault grounds.
However the an attempt to introduce irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce has met with resistance by women organization on the grounds that husbands would desert their wives and then ask for divorce under breakdown of marriage. Also it has been stated by few that the concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriage is somewhat vague. In answer to first criticism it has to be stated in situation where wife has been deserted it indicates that husband wants to get rid of wife and any continuation of such relationship would not make sense to both the parties to the marriage. However a safety clause can be inserted which would empower the court to refuse divorce if it adversely affects the interests of the children. A provision for maintenance for child and wife should be made. As far as the second objection is concerned, it should be necessary for grant of decree of divorce under this theory that parties had lived separately for reasonably long time say for three years. Living separately can be considered as objective criteria for breakdown of marriage.
The concept of marriage is moving from a sacrament to a contract. The spouse should be granted a right to move out of the wedlock if they cannot live together due to extreme situations. Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of Aboobacker v. Mam stated while the stream of life, lived in marital mutuality, may wash away smaller pebbles, what is to happen if intransigent incompatibility of minds break up the flow of stream. Since the social conditions prevailing in the country are peculiar, sufficient changes are needed to be made in the law made so that law is able to ameliorate the conditions of the people who, in absence of required law are craving for relief and hence would be able to make process of dissolution less excruciating. A question may be asked that when irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been recognized as a ground for divorce by judiciary why we need an amendment in legislation. This is so because amendment would lay down conditions and safe guards, which should be taken into consideration before the grant of any decree.
It is high time that the Government recognizes the need of the time and save many couples from the disgrace and humiliation by introducing the irretrievable breakdown of marriage as ground for divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Mulla, Principles of Hindu Law, Vol II, 19th ed. (ed SA DESAI), LexisNexis Butterworths, New Delhi.
Paras Diwan, Hindu Law, 2nd ed.2002, Orient Publishing Company, New Delhi
Rangnath. Misra, (rev.),Mayne, Hindu law and Usage, 15th ed.2003, Bharat Law House, New Delhi.
Agrawala, Raj Kumari (1972). Changing Basis of divorce and the Hindu Law, Journal of Indian Law Institute, Vol.14, 1972, New Delhi.
B.D. Agarwala (1997). Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage'' as Ground of Divorce - Need for Inclusion, (1997) 8 SCC (Jour) 11.
Kusum, Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage: A ground for divorce, Journal of Indian Law Institute, Vol.20, 1978, New Delhi.
(The authors are students of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.)”
If a marriage breaks down, it can legally be ended by the court granting a Divorce.
There is only one ground for divorce in Australia - the fact that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The legal test of irretrievable breakdown is that you have lived apart for at least twelve months and
there is no prospect of reconciliation. As far as the court is concerned, this is all you have to establish. The judge won't be interested in who left whom, or whether one of you is having an affair, or whose 'fault' it was that the relationship broke down.”
“Divorce law in our country belong to an era that has long elapsed. But the laws have neither kept pace nor do they take into account the altered socio-economic realities of contemporary India. This is highlighted, once more, by the recent controversy surrounding grounds for divorce following Smriti Shinde's petition to the apex court urging it to consider granting unilateral divorce when a marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Supreme Court itself is ambivalent about where it stands on the matter.
Under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act, there are no provisions that recognise "irretrievable breakdown" or "irreconcilable differences" as grounds for granting divorce when it is not a mutually consensual decision. However, in 2006, the apex court granted divorce in the Naveen Kohli vs Neelu Kohli case, precisely because of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. But, early this year, another SC bench refused to entertain this argument in the Vishnu Dutt Sharma vs Manju Sharma case. It decided to stick to the letter of the law.
This is as good a time as any for the laws governing divorce to be updated. In doing so, the issue must not be looked at through a moral prism alone. As Indians interface with the world and are exposed to new ideas and opportunities, there is bound to be a social churn, which impacts on personal affairs like marriage and family relations. Add to this the fact that more women today are economically more independent and assertive of their rights and choices. Divorce must be seen as a social reality, unfortunate though it might be, and not as a social evil.
There are of course legitimate concerns that waiving the mutual consent clause to grant divorce in cases of irreparable marital breakdown would put women in a vulnerable position. But that cannot be used as an excuse to deny those who would genuinely benefit from easing the process of obtaining a divorce. As things stand, one has to go through a lengthy, convoluted and extremely stressful procedure to get a divorce. It's time that changed.”
Forget everything else , just imagine a scenario in a bedroom of a couple where a Judge is sitting and deciding about the “cruelty” performed or not among the couple. It must be sounding ridiculous and impossible, but sometimes it happened by Judiciary. To avoid that embarrassment they suggested the amendment through recent Law Commission Report (Report no 211, November 2008) :-
3.1 It is, therefore, suggested that immediate action be taken to introduce an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 for inclusion of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as another ground for grant of divorce.
3.2 3.2 The amendment may also provide that the court before granting a decree for divorce on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down should also examine whether adequate financial arrangements have been made for the parties and children
“Feelings of two human beings are involved in a couple’s married life. This could not be patched up by enforcement of law by courts. It is up to the individuals to mend themselves. A horse can be taken to water but it is the horse that should drink it. However, the law should not deny divorce if the marriage has really broken down. By forcing unity with a hammer in the hand, the law does not serve the sanctity attached to the institution of marriage by religions. If the relationship of husband and wife wrecks beyond repair, what is wrong in recognizing that fact and allow them to live separately. How can one compel a wife or a husband to continue to live with spouse if they have fallen apart? If so compelled they would have to lead miserable life.”
Now as an effect I have two options –
EITHER to stay in my marriage forgetting about my all own negative feelings and compromise with my mental heath
to badmouth my son’s mother in the court to prove her fault to get rid of her. In both cases either my wife or I would be sufferer, not the Honurable Judiciary or legislative body ! Won’t the chances of any healthy relation would decrease or diminish just because of amount of tension created between the two during the process, as more dates means more blames or more defense (which is also a part of attack mechanism)? Even the child would be indirectly sufferer for the bitterness between the parents as helpless witness of the whole event. Breaking up is a hard decision for anyone, but while doing, why we (in the process itself for its duration & nature) need to be nasty instead of peaceful? If a marriage can be done in a one-month notice period, why the divorce would be delayed for YEARS ?
I like to highlight some facts in countries, where there is NO- FAULT (effectively faster & peaceful) divorce exists : -
· A decline in the rates of domestic violence (which is obviously of a very high concern in India)
· These laws empower a man or woman in an “abusive marriage” and make it easier to leave and live separate
· Means less conflict during divorce, which means less emotional harm to children whose parents, are divorcing (very much valid in my case)
· Shortens the length of time it takes to obtain a divorce, which, in turn, shortens the amount of time spent in a stressful situation causing physical and mental damage to involved party (as in my case, I am having anti depression drugs as prescribed)
· Financial settlements are based on need, ability to pay and contribution to the family finances, rather than on fault ( I am ready to accept any reasonable amount decided by judiciary)
· Helps reduce the heavy caseloads of family courts (obviously valid for India)
At the end we all must remember-
LAW IS MADE BY THE PEOPLE
LAW IS MADE FOR THE PEOPLE.