NEW DELHI: A Delhi court recently granted a mutual-consent divorce to a couple, noting that if the parties are involved in an “acrimonious matrimonial discord” with grave allegations and with no hope of living together, refusing to dissolve the marriage because one party has not been able to prove the fault of the other would amount to forcing the parties to suffer further.
“Refusal of divorce would lead the parties to face law-induced mental cruelty,” family court judge Harish Kumar said.
The case in question was of a couple fighting a battle for seven years. They married in 2011 and had a daughter in 2014. The battle also involved the child’s custody. The disputes came to the fore in 2016 when the wife registered a complaint of domestic violence against the husband.
Advocate Varun Sharma, who represented the husband, welcomed the judgment as a first step towards setting a precedent of a no-fault divorce and lauded the co-parenting approach.
The court kept both parents as legal guardians of the child for her school, academic activities and extra-curricular development. It directed the mother to get the name of the father added in the daughter’s school records.
Considering that both parents live in same society in Gurgaon, the court granted the father daily access and weekend overnight access to the daughter.
The court directed that the daughter be taken for a consultation with a child psychologist with the clear objective of removing any unfounded fear she may have of her father to ensure that she spends time with him during vacations. It said that the mother being the custodial parent cannot be left unblamed if the daughter does not want to meet her father.
On maintenance, the court said that the expenses claimed by the mother were exaggerated. It divided the cost into need, want and luxury based on the incomes of the parents. The court directed both the parents to bear 50% of the daughter’s expenses that are needs and wants.
The judge said that in the present case, the parties followed the Hindi idiom “tu dal dal, mai pat pat” which loosely translates to “if you are smart, I am smarter”. “Hence, in the peculiar facts of this case, dissolving their marriage… is the only way out to provide quietus to their unending matrimonial acrimony,” he added.
Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, a filmmaker and activist working on men’s issues, called the order remarkable and progressive. “There’s no point making young men and women do the rounds of courts for years for divorce when the marriage has completely broken down. This judgment by Judge Harish Kumar sets a precedent for its nuances on matters of maintenance, custody and divorce.”
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