Observing that the “present trend” is to break marriages on “flimsy grounds” and for “selfish reasons”, or over extramarital relationships, “even unmindful of their children”, a division bench of Kerala High Court has observed that people, especially those from the younger generation, now look at marriage as an evil that can be avoided to enjoy a life without any liabilities or obligations.
“Live-in-relationships are on the rise, just to say goodbye when they (partners) fall apart,’’ the bench of Justices A Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas said.
The court made the observations on August 24, while dismissing an appeal moved by a man challenging the ruling of a family court in Alappuzha that he is not entitled for divorce on the ground of matrimonial cruelties, purportedly inflicted on him by his wife.
Referring to the case, the HC said that if a man who has an “unholy alliance” with another woman wants to avoid his lawfully wedded wife and his three children, “he cannot seek the assistance of a court of law to get his present relationship legalised by dissolving his lawful marriage without valid reasons”.
The court stated in the order, “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. Our society will have a stunted growth.’’
The court said the younger generation now expands the word ‘WIFE’ as “Worry Invited For Ever”, as against the earlier concept of “Wise Investment For Ever”. The “consumer culture of use and throw seems to have influenced our matrimonial relationships also”, it noted.
No divorce can be granted under law without establishing cruelty to an extent, the court said.
The mother and close relatives of the husband had deposed before the court that the appellant, who was married in 2009, had developed an extramarital affair in 2017 and subsequently sought to avoid his wife, children and his mother.
The man had filed the divorce case stating that his wife would pick up a quarrel with him citing his illicit relationship with another woman.
The court said the appellant’s extramarital affair has caused disturbances in the family life. To the man’s allegation that his wife was behaving “abnormally”, the court said, “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 from the part of the wife, so as to dissolve their marriage.’’
The bench noted in the order, “Law and religion consider marriage as an institution by itself, and parties to the marriage are not permitted to walk away from that relationship unilaterally, unless and until they satisfy the legal requirements to dissolve their marriage through a court of law, or in accordance with the personal law which govern them. Mere quarrels, ordinary wear and tear of matrimonial relationships or casual outburst of some emotional feelings cannot be treated as cruelties warranting a divorce. ‘’