CHENNAI: Holding that matrimonial disputes involving women and children should not be allowed to suffer inordinate delay, the Madras High Court has called for progress reports from all the courts dealing with the same.
The reports should be filed by the seventh of every month, Justice P Devadass said while dealing with an appeal relating to a family dispute, last week. The judge was referring to the delay caused by the Sub-Judge, Gudiyattham, who took more than two and-a-half years to dispose of a maintenance petition, that too with a dismissal, on a misunderstanding of the law.
“All stake-holders in the administration of gender justice shall owe responsibility for this sorry-state-of-affairs. This is a classic example of law’s delay, courts’ delay, judges’ delay and system failure.”
Observing that women and children are in a disadvantageous position whereas it is not so in the case of husbands, Justice Devadass said capitalising this financial constraints, the husbands torture them by dragging on even these simple maintenance petitions for years together. Adding fuel to their worries, the courts also contribute their part by their long delay in disposing them.
“Actually by their inaction, the courts abet the perpetration of matrimonial violence and exploitation of women and children by the husbands. The present case before us itself is a classic example for this allegation.” The judge then directed all courts dealing with matrimonial cases to submit monthly statements showing details with regard to maintenance petitions filed and progress made.