ML Raghunath, a district and sessions court judge, spoke about his cases where couples filed for divorce over trivial issues on Friday at a court in Mysuru, India, as reported by The New Indian Express.
During the press conference, he recalled one experience, which he called the “Maggi case,” where a husband ended his marriage because his wife made him the same dish for every single one of his meals.
“The husband said his wife did not know how to prepare any food other than Maggi noodles,” he said. “It was noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He complained that his wife went to the provision store and brought only instant noodles.”
Although he didn’t reveal any specific details about the couple, Raghunath noted that they got divorced with mutual consent.
As noted by India’s Special Marriage Act of 1954, divorce by mutual consent is when parties have been living separately for a year and both agreed that their marriage should come to an end.
Over the years, reports have found that India has a fairly rate of divorce. In 2018, one study by the International Journal of Management, Technology and Social Studies found that the country had a divorce rate of 11 per cent, while the United States had a rate of 50 per cent.
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However, according to Raghunath, instances of divorce have still continued to rise in India, as the Mysuru district has five family courts, with a total of 800 cases that include people who are looking to get a divorce.
“Divorce cases are increasing drastically over the years. Couples have to stay together for at least a year before seeking divorce,” he explained. “If there was no such law, there would be divorce petitions filed directly from wedding halls.”
He also acknowledged that he gets more “divorce petitions” from people who live in “urban areas” of India, as opposed to the “rural parts”. He said that this was due to the fact women in cities are more “financially independent” than those in rural locations.
“In rural areas, village panchayats intervene and settle the problems,” he continued. “Women have no independence and their fear of society and family sentiments force them to cope with the situation. But in cities, women are educated and financially independent.”
Although he confessed that settling marital disputes can be difficult, Raghunath has had cases where couples have ultimately decided to stay together.
“We use sentiments to bring a compromise among couples and reunite them. It is more of psychological issues than physical,” he added. “In most cases, though couples reunite, scars of their dispute remain. Out of 800-900 matrimonial cases, we succeed in about 20-30 cases.”