Hindu Marriages Act breaking more homes than uniting: SC

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over an increasing number of divorce cases flooding the courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the Hindu Marriages Act had done more harm to the family system in the country than strengthening it. “The Hindu Marriages Act has broken more homes than uniting,” a vacation Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and G S Singhvi observed. The apex court regretted that the growing number of divorce cases in the country was having a disastrous effect on children of families which get broken in such a manner. Enacted in 1955, the Hindu Marriages Act which had undergone several amendments till 2003 contains various provisions for validity of a Hindu marriage, restitution of conjugal rights and divorce, the latter being a concept evolved from the English law. “Even at the time of marriages, anticipatory divorce petitions are being filed,” the Bench remarked sarcastically. The apex court passed the observation while dealing with a petition filed by a divorcee for seeking his child’s custody. “Ego should get dissolved for the sake of the child,” the Bench remarked even as the separated parents tried to air their views. The apex court told the separated couple that it was more concerned with the welfare of the child, rather than the mutual recrimination between the two. “Ultimately the child suffers. If it is a girl the trauma is more, particularly at the time of the marriage of such children,” Justice Pasayat speaking for the Bench observed. The apex court lamented that the provisions provided in the Hindu Marriages Act for granting divorce on the grounds of spouses suffering from diseases like leprosy, mental illness were being misused by some couples. “In those days our forefathers never had such problems,” the apex court observed while stating that marital disputes during the olden days were sorted out within the four walls of the house. In this case, Gaurav Nagpal through counsel Manik Karanjawala had sought custody of his 11-year old son. Nagpal had filed the appeal after the trial court and the Delhi High Court had both granted the custody of the boy to his estranged wife Sumedha Nagpal. There was high drama during the hearing of the case when Gaurav asked his wife to give him an hour time to sort out certain differences between. But even before the court could give its views on the plea, Sumedha bluntly rejected the idea. “It’s just an eyewash your Lordship. He has been beating me and my father,” Sumedha told the Bench, which however, said that it would not go into the merits of the case at this juncture. Instead, the Bench said it would personally talk to the couple in chamber during the afternoon. The matter was also listed for further hearing on Wednesday.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
17 Jun 2008, 1825 hrs IST,PTI

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