New Delhi: It is one of India’s toughest divorce laws to implement, with the Supreme Court ruling last week that all such marriages were invalid.
However, the law also provides for a limited time for couples to file for divorce and a “voluntary separation” that can last up to three months.
For those who do file for separation, their court is obliged to grant a temporary stay on the divorce in the absence of any evidence of a breach of the agreement.
If no such evidence emerges, the divorce becomes final.
While the “voluntarily separation” is seen as an option by some, a majority of the judges in the Supreme court disagreed with it.
The judges, led by Chief Justice of India J. Chelameswar, ruled that the stay does not have any legal effect.
“The Court does not accept the plea of the petitioner that his marriage is invalid and thus his separation will not be valid,” the judges said in the judgment.
The judges also said the state should ensure that a person can take legal action against his or her former spouse in court in case of a case of “misleading” or “unfair” behaviour.
The decision has set a precedent, said Sanjay Kumar, a senior lawyer at a Delhi-based law firm who has been following the case closely.
“It’s a precedent that will not go away.
In a country where divorce is the norm, it will be very difficult for the courts to get a clear view on the issue,” said Kumar.
The ruling will likely affect a significant number of couples.
In the past few years, the number of divorce cases has gone up significantly, reaching almost 30,000 cases in 2014, according to data compiled by the Delhi- based legal advocacy group Aakar Patel.
The Supreme Court has been the primary venue for several landmark cases, including the Delhi High Court judgment that found the constitutionality of the Delhi Police’s “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” campaign and the case of the woman who married an Indian Army officer in 2003.
In 2016, the court issued a landmark ruling, stating that women and girls had a right to equality under the law and that marriage was not an institution which was meant to benefit one class of society above another.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the right of women to marriage and ordered that the law be amended to provide that a marriage between a man and a woman should be considered valid.
The new verdict has not been universally welcomed by the community, who are not happy that a married woman has the right to divorce her husband.
“It’s shocking to see a judge rule that women can’t divorce their husbands,” said Aakash Patel, a lawyer in New Delhi who has written two books on the case.
“There is no provision for women in marriages.
Women are considered as second class citizens.
We are not entitled to the same rights as men.
This is not a good decision.
We will continue to fight,” he added.
In the case before the Supreme Council for Women, the women had challenged the divorce of a divorced man, but the court allowed it.
The state government had, however, said it would not allow a stay on divorce because it was “inadmissible”.
The state had also asked the court to stay the “marriage” between the woman and her husband and give her a separate life and property.
In its judgment, the SC said that the “separation” would not have an effect unless it is followed by a “valid marriage certificate” signed by both the parties.
“This does not mean that the wife must go through any separation procedure,” the SC told the court.
In a separate judgment, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Constitutional Court also said that “voluntariness” in marriage is not “faultless” and that a divorce is “not a right of the husband”.
The court also pointed out that the woman had “volunteered” to be a wife to her husband for the last 20 years.