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Supreme Court examines self; ‘Are we being too liberal with law in granting divorce?’

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divorce-india

By NewsGram Staff Writer

A bench of Supreme Court has decided to examine whether the top court should grant divorce to couples on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, without taking into consideration the mandatory 18-month period of separation.

Under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has been exercising its authority to grant divorce to married couples even when the Hindu Marriage Act demands the couple to stay apart for 18 months before separating with mutual consent.

The Article 142 states that the Supreme Court has the power to deliver any order required “for doing complete justice.” The court has used this act as a provision to grant divorce in many cases, dispensing the six-month waiting period after a judicial separation of one year, which makes it 18 months under Section 13B of the Act.

As reported in The Indian Express, the government has informed the top court that there is no proposal in the Article to include irretrievable breakdown of marriage as one of the conditions to grant divorce. However, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana has decided to examine whether judges should override the legislative will. As per the report, while negotiating a bunch of petitions wherein couples wanted the waiting period to be dissolved since there was an “irretrievable breakdown of marriage,” Justices Gogoi and Ramana conjectured on whether they should exercise such power against what the Act permits.

They asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his perspective. AG Rohtagi reportedly stated that the legislature was not considering irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a basis for granting divorce.

Rohatgi said that there have been dissenting views of different benches of the apex court between 1996 and 2010, regarding the dissolution of the six-month notice period. While some judges agreed for the relaxation of six-month notice period, the others said if legislature had a specific provision, couples should be sent to family courts for getting divorce .

According to the report, Rohatgi decided to leave it on the constitution bench to decide whether divorce can, at all, be granted on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage and the waiting period should be done away with.

While the bench is waiting to hear the case in August, NewsGram asked general public for their opinions on the subject.

Himanshu Kumar, a working professional, states, “Irretrievable breakdown will be a too flexible law to grant divorces, because the definition for irretrievable varies from person to person. And even a futile situation could be irretrievable for some people. Like, I once read in news where a woman demanded divorce because her husband used to switch off the fan at night. So, instead of making flexible laws, proper & mature counseling should be provided to the couples.”

While Himanshu seems to be against considering irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce, Tanuj Mitra, a Kolkata resident, is of the opposite views. Tanuj states, “What I feel is that granting divorce on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be flexible enough and justice should prevail without the mandatory 18-month separation. The top court should override the legislative will irrespective of government proposals. Since it’s a pro-Hindutva government, it will look to preserve the marriage in the set parameters of the Hindu Marriage Act and might not introduce any such legislature. As per my view, the waiting period should be curtailed and the SC should exercise its power on granting absolute justice. Sending the divorce cases to family courts will only leave the case as well as the panel perplexed as human beings are complex individuals.”

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Bride Sale in India: Buy A Wife Policy

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Human Trafficking
Bride Slavery in India: Abhishek Suresh

Bride Sale: Story of transformation of Indian Bride into Slave Bride

Samridhi Nain

Bride Sale in India seems to be trending in Haryana, a state with the lowest sex ratio, even marriage continues to be a way of exploitation as Indian brides for marriage are purchased at cattle rate and trafficked into the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab.
These ‘brides’ are imported from poverty-stricken states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orrisa, West Bengal & Assam, where the traffickers either take advantage of the family’s poverty or abduct the young girls varying anywhere between the ages of 15 and 30, according to 2013 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The bride sale practice has been completely normal in the northern states due to the acute shortage of girls because of practices like sex selection and female foeticide. But if the reports are to be believed then even if not a single case of female foeticide takes place in Haryana, it would still take 50 years to get the numbers back to normal from India’s sex ratio today. However, the problem remains as locals & Khap leaders keep refusing to accept the facts at hand. Some believe it is the education of women that is the root problem because they want to marry a man who is also well-educated, whereas some believe that there has always been a shortage of girls but before where one woman would take care of five brothers, now, it requires five separate women to do the same.
As Haryana keeps preferring the male child and that male child grows up to prefer a bride, the best solution available at hand remains of these women who are bought at a price varying on their age, beauty & virginity and once bought, they are turned into a slave bride. Once married, these women can be resold as they are not viewed as a respected member but a commodity as they are not considered to be entitled to any inheritance by the family.

Human Trafficking to Bride Sale
Stencil of Missing Girls Project, Wikimedia Commons

A field study, covering 92 villages of Mahendragarh, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonipat & Mewat districts had been conducted on the impact of the sex ratio on marriage which covered over 10,000 households and found that 9,000 married women were bought from other states. The study was conducted by NGO Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra but the families kept denying of any exchange of money for the bride.
In 2016, the ministry of women and child development came up with India’s first comprehensive anti-trafficking laws under ‘Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection & Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 but the bill faces many challenges and is believed to not achieve its objectives of preventing trafficking & providing protection & rehabilitation to trafficked victims. Activists also believe that the bill will be able to do very little to stop the bride sale.
With such haunting demographics at hand, the hope still remains that sooner or later, the government might realize the need for stringent implementation of the rules & regulations to stop the violation of these young women at the hands of sex traffickers and quell this ‘Buy A Bride’ policy.
-Samridhi is a student of Philosophy Hons. at the University of Delhi.

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Love Jihad Case : Kerala’s State Women Commission Directs SP to submit report on Hadiya’s Condition

24 year old Akhila had converted to Islam and taken the name Hadiya to marry Shafin Jahan.  However, their marriage was declared null and void by the High Court of Kerala

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Office of Kerala Women Comission
Office of Kerala Women Comission. Official Website KWC

Kerala, October 28, 2017 : A day after a video of Hadiya pleading to be ‘saved’ from her father’s brutalities was released, Kerala’s State Women Commission has directed Kottayam Superintendent of Police to inquire and submit a report on Hadiya’s present conditions.

In the video release at a press conference in Kochi by social activist Rahul Eashwar, Hadiya can be heard saying, “You have to get me out. I am sure I will be killed tomorrow or the day after.” Hadiya claims that her father is physically assaulting her and pleads to be saved in the video before her voice trails away.

The direction came following reports that Hadiya is being sedated and physically abused at her parents’ house.

The State Women Commission has told the SP that an officer not less than the rank of a DSP should conduct the inquiry and submit a report on the condition of the 24-year old woman in love jihad case.

24 year old Akhila had converted to Islam and taken the name Hadiya to marry Shafin Jahan.  Their marriage was declared null and void by the High Court of Kerala after Hadiya’s father Ashokan has approached the court, claiming that his daughter had been forcefully converted and her alleged husband was involved in plans to take her out of the country for questionable reasons.

Consequently, Hadiya’s husband Shafin Jahan had approached the Supreme Court and challenged the order by the High Court of Kerala, which is still hearing the case.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

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Gorkhaland: SC allows withdrawl of Central Forces from Darjeeling

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 27: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Centre to withdraw seven companies of central paramilitary forces from trouble-torn Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal where the agitation for Gorkhaland, a separate state for Gorkhas took a violent turn.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the Centre to withdraw the seven companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) for being used for election duties in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

The bench also sought a response from the West Bengal government on the Centre’s appeal against the High Court’s order putting on hold its decision to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of the central paramilitary forces deployed in the hill district.

The apex court also stayed the pending proceedings before the High Court and said that it will deal with the case in a holistic manner and posted the appeal of the Centre for further hearing on November 27.

In an interim order, the High Court had stayed the withdrawal of CAPF from the Darjeeling hills till October 27 after the state government approached it against the Centre’s decision.(IANS)