One morning, when I went to a Mahila Court in Delhi after the summer vacations, the court rooms were chocked with estranged husbands, wives and their families in support to show their strength. The courtroom was filled with screams of counsels of men and women fighting various cases filed by both the parties against each other.
Be it the case of maintenance or right of residence, custody of children or adultery—all the matters are so openly discussed that neither of the party thinks that they are levelling allegations against each other, and opening their personal lives in front of public.
There are six family courts in Delhi and at every court, one will get to see the similar sight. In midst of the pitched battle of words, a lawyer being aggrieved by the case getting adjourned to November, asked for a shorter date. The Judge remarked, “This is the shortest date available. I have 4,200 cases pending in my court.” The divorce rate is so alarming that it led me to think what has happened to the marriages in India, particularly Delhi.
Till now, divorce was considered a dirty word and the divorced women were treated badly. But these days, it is so cool. Either side readily washes their dirty linen in public without a second thought.
The matrimonial litigation was confined to the marriage laws and was a civil offence only. There was no punishment for dowry harassment until and unless the wife was killed or had committed suicide.
But when Section 498 A (dowry harassment) came into force, sudden increase in complaints was witnessed. It also came to notice that the law was being misused by couples and their families.
To curb this trend of divorce, judges, lawyers and litigants should choose the path of mediation to resolve disputes. Otherwise, families would go on to shatter like this, and the trust of younger generation on the institution of marriage will vanish gradually.