‘Cruelty’ grounds for most divorces

Couples in Bengaluru seeking to call it quits almost always cite cruelty in the form of physical and mental violence. Tomorrow is World Day For Elemination of Violence Against Women

Many films show scenes of domestic violence. This scene is from Bollywood production Provoked.

Domestic violence is a major reason for couples in Bengaluru to call it quits.   

Advocate Pramila Nesargi says, “Domestic violence includes physical, mental, emotional and economic cruelty. Physically hurting someone, and taking away salary the salary of an individual also come under domestic violence and provide strong grounds for divorce.” 

Women from their 20s to their 70s file for divorce. “We try to mediate and check if there is any possibility for a reconciliation, before approaching the family court,” she says.

Other reasons cited for divorce are conversion to another religion, impotency and sexually transmitted diseases. 

“About 99 per cent of cases filed for divorce are on grounds of cruelty, while just one per cent is on grounds of impotency and venereal diseases,” she adds.

Advocate Hemanth S of Hemanth and Associates says more than 90 per cent of divorce cases cite cruelty. 

“The cases can be segregated between mental and physical cruelty, but most cases have elements of both. Of 100 cases, allegations of mental torture come in 100 per cent while physical abuse is cited in 60 per cent cases. Most cases filed are within five years of marriage, by couples in their late 20s and early 30s,” he says.

A majority of divorce applications come from couples in the IT sector, with couples living away from their extended families. “Only about 40 per cent live with other family,” he says. Both men and women say they face cruelty when they seek a divorce.  Advocate Kapil Dixit of Kapil Dixit and Company on MG Road says 80 to 90 per cent of divorce cases are triggered by verbal fights, with the couple cursing each other’s families. Mental cruelty and spats often arise out of unrealistic expectations.

“Many fights break out when a working wife does not take care of the household expenses and gives a share of her income to her family. Despite being an urban space, cases that lead to divorce for such reasons exist here,” says Dixit.

In his experience, 20 to 30 per cent of divorce cases are connected to physical assaults. “A lot of people don’t tolerate physical assault nowadays, and this could be because of general awareness,” he says.

Neglect of wife and the children and refusal to pick up the tab for household expenses are the biggest reasons for divorce, according to advocate Jyoti Jain.

“The worst part is when a case is taken to the court and the judgment says the wife is well-educated and so can find another job,” she says.

She attributes a majority of divorces to “emotional domestic violence.” Cases connected to physical assault are not so high in her experience.

“Divorce cases are still filed by men more than women though. Women mostly file cases when they have been tortured mentally or physically and cannot take it anymore,” she adds.

Both in it

A lawyer says cruelty in marriage often has elements of both mental and physical violence.

The other side

Not all charges that lead to divorce are true. Some cases are filed just to trouble the men and their families.

— Jyoti Jain
Divorce lawyer

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‘Cruelty’ grounds for most divorces

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