Mirage or Marriage: Forethought divorces making inroads in India

New Delhi: 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 morelight on the subject in a comprehensive manner, an informative and educativediscourse on “Mirage or Marriage: destined marriage and forethought divorce”was held recently in the national capital, addressing policy-levelcontemplation on the changing dynamics in our society regarding maritalrelationships leading to pre-planned exits from marriages, and the remediesavailable as per the Indian Law. Divorce and separation usually comes with aset of obligations and responsibilities, a new and somewhat disturbing trend offorethoughtdivorces is currently on the rise in Indian cities.

The eventwas curated by Amritam Charitable Trust, and jointly organized in collaborationwith the prestigious Indian Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, and ace HighCourt advocates, law practitioners, and members of the legal fraternity.

Honble Justice Ms. Hima Kohli of DelhiHigh Court gracedthe occasion as chief guest. Notable panelists present at the eventincluded Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate; Dr. Achal Bhagat, SeniorConsultant Psychiatrist; Ms. Goldy Malhotra, Educationist; Ms.Gayatri Puri,Advocate; Ms. Deepika V Marwah, Advocate; and Media partner Ms.Binny Yadav.

Deliveringthe welcome address and putting things in perspective, Ms. Promila Badhwar,Amritam Charitable Trust said“In recent times, we have noticed that forethought orpre-planned divorces are creating unrest in the society, specially youth, whoare getting abundantly sensitive about stepping into the beautiful institutionof marriage, as they see the wave of planned abandoning of spouses everywherearound. Through todays deliberations, we will be trying to address this problem, as well aslook for reasons and solutions to the same.”

In herkeynote address, Hon’ble Justice Ms. Hima Kohli, Delhi High Court expressed seriousconcerns 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 thesecircumstances, the wonderful institution of marriage is almost turning into athreat, as old cultural values and respect for life partner gets dissolved witheach passing day. Add to that, in our family courts, we have numerous casespending related to domestic violence or marital rapes.” she said.

Mr.Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate commented that marriages should evolve tobecome more dynamic in nature. He addedThe new indulgence of people into planning theirdivorces to curb the rights of their spouses is creating a sense of insecurityamongst the society at large.”

Ms. GoldyMalhotra, Educationist explained the “social evil” attached with forethoughtdivorces. “While people may consider divorce as an individualright, not many are wary about the implications it can have on children.Dividing siblings after the divorce or leaving them isolated can have anegative impact on their physical and mental health, whereas nasty talks abouteach other from parents after divorce can demoralize them. We must be carefulthat breaking marriages must not break our children,” she said.

The paneldiscussion covered the wide arena of matrimonial relationships, psychologyinvolved, and pros and cons of planned separations along with its legalaspects.

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