As per latest census, 1.36 million people in India are divorced, which is equivalent to 0.24% of the total married population in our country. Divorce rates in our country have gone up from 5% in 1980 to 14% in recent years. On an average, 50,000 cases of domestic violence are registered annually in our country, whereas only 2 out 100 accused are convicted under section 498 A of IPC (that deals with cruelty to married women). Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 parties have the right to file divorce under section 13 on the grounds specified like adultery, cruelty, dissertation, converting faith, leprosy, etc.
To shed more light on the subject in a comprehensive manner, an informative and educative discourse on “Mirage or Marriage: destined marriage and forethought divorce” was held recently in the national capital, addressing policy-level contemplation on the changing dynamics in our society regarding marital relationships leading to pre-planned exits from marriages, and the remedies available as per the Indian Law. Divorce and separation usually comes with a set of obligations and responsibilities, a new and somewhat disturbing trend offorethought divorces is currently on the rise in Indian cities.
The event was curated by Amritam Charitable Trust, and jointly organized in collaboration with the prestigious Indian Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, and ace High Court advocates, law practitioners, and members of the legal fraternity.
Hon’ble Justice Ms. Hima Kohli of Delhi High Court graced the occasion as chief guest. Notable panelists present at the event included Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate; Dr. Achal Bhagat, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist; Ms. Goldy Malhotra, Educationist; Ms. Gayatri Puri, Advocate; Ms. Deepika V Marwah, Advocate; and Media partner Ms. Binny Yadav.
Delivering the welcome address and putting things in perspective, Ms. Promila Badhwar, Amritam Charitable Trust said, “In recent times, we have noticed that forethought or pre-planned divorces are creating unrest in the society, specially youth, who are getting abundantly sensitive about stepping into the beautiful institution of marriage, as they see the wave of planned abandoning of spouses everywhere around. Through today’s deliberations, we will be trying to address this problem, as well as look for reasons and solutions to the same.”
In her keynote address, Hon’ble Justice Ms. Hima Kohli, Delhi High Court expressed serious concerns over the growing nuisance related to marital relationships in India.“In today’s age of social media, there is least or no secrecy in terms of sharing of personal data. In these circumstances, the wonderful institution of marriage is almost turning into a threat, as old cultural values and respect for life partner gets dissolved with each passing day. Add to that, in our family courts, we have numerous cases pending related to domestic violence or marital rapes.” she said.
Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate commented that marriages should evolve to become more dynamic in nature. He added, “The new indulgence of people into planning their divorces to curb the rights of their spouses is creating a sense of insecurity amongst the society at large.”
Ms. Goldy Malhotra, Educationist explained the “social evil” attached with forethought divorces. “While people may consider divorce as an individual right, not many are wary about the implications it can have on children. Dividing siblings after the divorce or leaving them isolated can have a negative impact on their physical and mental health, whereas nasty talks about each other from parents after divorce can demoralize them. We must be careful that breaking marriages must not break our children,” she said.
The panel discussion covered the wide arena of matrimonial relationships, psychology involved, and pros and cons of planned separations along with its legal aspects.