Hyderabad: A family court in the city directed payment of ‘court fee’ for a divorce and permanent alimony case. Court fee, which is charged for civil suits, is rarely charged in the family court cases, but in an unusual move this was charged in one particular petition.
The petitioner was a 53-year-old woman who had approached the court for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act Section 13(1)(ia) and permanent alimony under Section 25 respectively. Citing physical abuse and infidelity, the woman wanted a divorce from her husband as well as permanent alimony of Rs 25 lakh.
The court noted that the couple had been married for 30 years, and had two grown-up children. The court asked the wife on what prompted her to apply for divorce.
The woman stated that her husband, a government employee had been unfaithful and abused her physically and despite repeated attempts at counselling, it had failed to reform him. The court examined the rationale behind the alimony demand of Rs 25 lakh from a retired government employee, with a pension of Rs 20,000.
With these points in mind, the court granted divorce and an alimony of Rs 5 lakh, but directed payment of a court fee, amounting to Rs 30,000, to be paid by the woman, as per the Andhra Pradesh Court Fees And Suits Valuation Act, 1956.
While it goes against the practice, lawyers say the rationale is to discourage exorbitant demands of alimony and an attempt to save the institution of marriage shared by the couple for 30 years. The woman though, insistent on divorce went ahead to pay the court fee without further contestation or review petitions.
Lawyers observe that increasingly women in higher age brackets are opting for divorce to escape the lifelong abuse they faced.
“The women may turn desperate after waiting for all these years for the marriage to work and when it doesn’t, they seek divorce. Such stringent measures by the court may be incorporated to filter out the unwarranted divorce request,” said advocate Anita S. Jain.