The Supreme Court may have acted pragmatically in easing the strict six-month cooling-off period mandated in Hindu divorces. But there’s no arguing against the logic of the time given to estranged couples to correct themselves if they have acted hastily or in an emotional moment without thinking of the consequences.
Different religions have varied approaches to marriage. What must change is the old rigidity in the institution of marriage, now under stress like never before thanks to urbanisation and changing lifestyles, particularly when both parties are working professionals. The old family “umbrella” is also not as protective as it used to be — perhaps another reason for rising divorce rates.
The court made just an enabling provision by which the period can be waived, not a blanket order scrapping it altogether. In any case, the system is so slow in handling divorces that six months is a small window for any couple going through the process. Alternative cohabitation might be one reason why such people could be in a hurry.
The point is that a more compassionate view of divorce must be taken in this age, when the social fabric is under pressure. The stress is not only on couples in nuclear families as on those in the older joint family system. It’s a pity that far more marriages are falling apart far quicker than earlier. The Supreme Court is clearly seized of this, as apparent in its recommendation that modern devices like video-conferencing be used to speed up the legal process.