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Younger generation thinks marriage is an evil; end nuptial ties for selfish reasons, extra-marital affairs
Libin Varghese Vs Rajani Anna Mathew
MAT. APPEAL NO. 456 OF 2020
About/from the judgment:
The High Court, in an order declining a decree of divorce, lamented the casual and selfish manner in which the younger generation treats marital relationships.
A Division Bench opined that the increasing instances of divorce - effected by extra-marital affairs - may be the result of a rise in consumer culture, and that live-in relationships are on the rise.
"Now-a-days, the younger generation think that marriage is an evil that could be avoided to enjoy free life without any liabilities or obligations. They would expand the word ‘WIFE’ as ‘Worry Invited For Ever’ substituting the old concept of ‘Wise Investment For Ever’. The consumer culture of ‘use and throw’ seems to have influenced our matrimonial relationships also. Live-in-relationships are on the rise, just to say good-bye when they fell apart," the Court said in its judgment.
The Bench further opined that the destruction of once solemn marital ties would affect society as a whole.
"Kerala, known as God’s own Country, was once famous for its well knit family bondage. But the present trend it seems to break the nuptial tie on flimsy or selfish reasons, or for extra-marital relationships, even unmindful of their children. The wails and screams coming out of disturbed and destroyed families are liable to shake the conscience of the society as a whole. When warring couples, deserted children and desperate divorcees occupy the majority of our population, no doubt it will adversely affect the tranquility of our social life, and our society will have a stunted growth" the judgment stated.
In the judgment, the Court recalled that marriage once was once considered as solemn and was the foundation of strong family units and in turn, a strong society.
In this regard, the judgment quoted Confucius:
“Marriage is the union of two different surnames, in friendship and in love, in order to continue the posterity of the former sages, and to furnish those who shall preside at, the sacrifices to, heaven and earth, at those in the ancestral temple, and at those at the altars to the spirits of the land and grain.”
Pertinently, the Court held that parties to a marriage cannot walk away from each other by seeking the assistance of a court of law to obtain a decree of divorce and then go on to legalise their extra-marital relationships.
"Courts cannot come to the aid of an erring person to legalise his activities, which are per se illegal. If the husband having unholy alliance with another woman wants to avoid his lawfully wedded wife and his three little children, he cannot seek the assistance of a court of law to get his present relationship legalised by dissolving his lawful marriage, without any valid reasons for the same," the judgment stated.
The Court was considering an appeal moved by a man against the order of a family court which dismissed his divorce petition under Section 10(1)(x) of the Divorce Act, 1869.
The case of the appellant husband is that he got married to the respondent-wife in 2009 and had three girl children together. But later, his wife allegedly developed some behavioral issues and kept picking quarrels with him for no reason, alleging an illicit relationship with another woman. She failed to perform her marital duties and was physically and mentally abusive towards him, he claimed.
The respondent-wife opposed these claims and said that the husband was concocting reasons so that he can leave her and their children and pursue the extra-marital affair that had commenced some time around 2017. She claimed that the husband's own mother and close relatives were aware of the extra-marital affair.
From the testimonies of some witnesses, the Court found that the wife's claim seemed to be true. It also noted that the husband had no hesitation to question the chastity of his own aged mother, as she was supporting the respondent.
It also opined that the wife's reaction to the affair was normal human conduct and would not establish a case of behavioural abnormality or cruelty on her part.
"When the wife had reasonable grounds to suspect the chastity or fidelity of her husband, and if she questions him, or expresses her deep pain and sorrow before him, it cannot be termed as a behavioural abnormality, as it is the natural human conduct of a normal wife. The normal human reactions or responses from a wife, on knowing that her husband was having illicit connection with another lady, cannot be termed as behavioural abnormality or cruelty on the part of the wife, so as to dissolve their marriage", the Court said.
The Court stated that mere quarrels, ordinary wear and tear of matrimonial relationships or casual outbursts of emotional feelings cannot be treated as cruelty warranting a divorce.
Since the wife was still willing to reunite with the husband and since no act of cruelty that would cause the appellant to apprehend that continuing in the marriage would be harmful to the appellant was established by him, the Court held that he is not entitled to get a decree of divorce on the ground of matrimonial cruelty.
"If the appellant is ready to come back to his wife and children, they are ready to accept him, and there is nothing to show that the chances of an amicable reunion is foreclosed forever. So the finding of the Family Court, Alappuzha, that the appellant is not entitled for a decree of divorce on the ground of matrimonial cruelties is liable to be upheld", the judgment stated.
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