Legal Experts said divorce petitions are being filed more by men than women and the core issues between spouses are the rising standards of expectations from each other, lack of time for the partner and lack of communication between the couple. According to experts, this is because both the husband and wife are busy with their respective professional and career commitments, and lack of communication leads to conflicts between them.
Last year despite the family court at Bandra remaining closed for about six months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, a daily average of 19 divorce petitions was recorded.
With divorce applications and break-ups skyrocketing across India, the Legal firm of Mumbai said they received a 122% increase in enquiries between January 2021 and January 2022, compared with the same period earlier year. There is a spike in searches for online advice on ending a relationship.
In Mumbai, a major legal contract-creation site recently announced a 34% rise in sales of its basic divorce agreement, with newlyweds who’d got married in the previous five months making up 20% of sales. There’s been a similar pattern everywhere in India.
Advocate Pratibha Bangera told Afternoon Voice, “Divorce cases are increasing because parties have the courage to break the taboo and mindset attached to divorce. It takes time for settlement if either party’s lawyer stretches it as a bargaining tactic to favour their client or if parties themselves have unresolved anger and ego and don’t settle. Matters don’t reach the trial and evidence stage due to delaying tactics. Unfortunately, parties don’t know how they are being played against their own interest and waste precious time battling in court.”
Senior advocate Abha Singh said, “Lack of adjustment, aggressive behaviour on both sides, elders in the family not working towards solving issues between couples and economic independence. Also, good laws to protect and take care of women, these are some of the reasons for the delay in judgements.”
Renowned lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh, who has handled numerous high-profile divorce cases in India, said “Well various reasons for the surge in divorce cases, less tolerance leading to incompatibility. Extramarital relationships and in a few cases physical and financial violence towards women is the main cause. The legal system with its rule of law takes time.”
Advocate Satish Maneshinde said, “The Women of today are of Substance and can lead their own life without any dependence on a Man. Women empowerment has brought in a lot of courage and knowledge of their rights in Modern Society. Though some women suffer the vagaries of life in a married household even in the 21st Century, the majority of the women are in no position or mood to be used as a Chattel. Gone are the days when a woman’s rights could be trampled upon and made to suffer untold miseries, consequences and harassment both physical and mental. Apart from the above, the Pandemic has created untold miseries in a large number of households. A modern household has lost its tolerance and since the Concept of a Joint Family is slowly and certainly disappearing, problems in a marriage have increased.”
Mane further stated “In view of all these issues, the number of Divorce cases has gone up disproportionately compared to other cases. The Family court in Mumbai is heavily overburdened and due to the COVID Protocol, is unable to cope with the increase in the cases. Apart from that, we need a greater number of judges compared to the present strength of 7 Judges which is highly inadequate and unable to handle a large number of pending cases. We also have a number of other laws made for the benefit of solving matrimonial issues. This has further created an explosion of cases.”
“I hope the Central and State Government work in tandem to improve the standards of infrastructure and increase the number of Judges and Courtrooms. The Judiciary is the most neglected system in our Country. It remains the only source of strength to a common citizen. 75 years of Independence has seen no improvement in our Judicial Infrastructure and strengthening the Judicial System. God alone can help our Country,” Adv Maneshinde said.
Professor Shubhada Maitra said, “In the current scenario, the key reasons for breaking up marriages are increased expectations from each other. The expectations of women are to a large extent centred around companionship, helping with household or domestic chores, a greater degree of freedom and understanding, because women are now stepping out of their houses frequently.” “However, men do not seem to have not moved on with women, they continue to expect women to fulfil the traditional goals,” said Shubhada Maitra, Dean, School of Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Zenobia Khodaiji, a wellness counsellor said, “Dynamics of marriage have changed, women have their own personalities and expectations and when they are not fulfilled, they want to end the marriage. Women are educated and also prefer either not to marry or they marry late –most often after the age of 25 -26 – as compared to earlier times, when they used to get married at the age of 20-22 years. If one gets married early, the young mind can be moulded.”
Deepti Ayathan, advocate and founder of Ayathan Associates says that education has played a role in the increase in the number of divorces. “With knowledge, there is an understanding of personal space, freedom and equality. Marriage is no longer understood as assuming certain duties, but as coexisting with each other,” she explained.