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DC Edit | Quicker divorces are welcome


Published on: May 1, 2023 | Updated on: May 1, 2023

Faster divorces and separation processes, especially in certain circumstances, are very healthy. Representational image/DC

The Supreme Court’s landmark move,  waiving the mandatory waiting of six months for granting divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, holding that marriage can be ended in certain circumstances, including due to "irretrievable breakdown", after invoking powers under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, but after laying down the procedures and circumstances in which it can be used, and allowing for adequate safeguards, is highly welcome. Faster divorces and separation processes, especially in certain circumstances, are very healthy and much needed for a young nation in modern times.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, A.S. Oka, Vikram Nath and J.K. Maheshwari, has also laid down the factors which ought to be and can be considered adequate to determine as to when it can be concluded that there is indeed an irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

A summary ending is good for youngsters and couples who need to be freed from the shackles of a bad marriage and be allowed to move on — a modern life requirement that the order will facilitate and help society and people.

At the same time, the wisdom of the order also lies in achieving sufficient balance against misuse and has specified reasonably objective and verifiable guidelines, which mandate and provide for protection of either partner in the marriage, including contentious and post-divorce aspects like maintenance, alimony and the children’s rights.

The constitution bench of the apex court was reviewing in response to a petition in relation to divorces by mutual consent as per the Hindu Marriage Act (under Section 13B) and waive the mandatory waiting period. Prior to this judgment, couples whose marriage had broken down and even where both partners were consenting for a separation, would be asked to wait during the cooling off period of between six and up to 18 months, and sent to emotionally and financially excruciating legal processes before getting recognised as separate.

A welcome judgment.