The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 6 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Last February, she was glad to find a life partner; this January, she chose to end the conjugal life — the itch had struck in less than a year.

Devastated and fed up with frequent fights, Ratna (name changed), a postgraduate in social science from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, called off her year-old marriage because her husband was not as qualified as she was.

According to Ratna, she was not in a position to compromise with her businessman husband, who was academically not as sound as her.

Daughter of a renowned Patna High Court lawyer, 30-year-old Ratna, who got married in February 2012, thought it better to live separately and filed a divorce petition in the family court last year. Ratna’s counsel said the couple were not ready for a compromise, leading to a divorce in January-end.

The couple’s counsel, Seema Kumari, said ego clashes between the two led to their separation within a year of their wedding. “While the girl came from a highly educated family, the boy belonged to a traditional businessman family,” she added.

Ratna’s is not an isolated case of couples seeking divorce on “frivolous” grounds. The family court in Patna is flooded with such petitions. If the official figures of divorce petitions are any indication, there has been a substantial rise in divorce cases in the state capital.

Records available with The Telegraph show that 640 divorce petitions were filed in the family court in Patna in 2007.

The number rose to 775 in 2008, 814 in 2009, 863 in 2010, 953 in 2011 and 965 in 2012 respectively. There has been an over 50 per cent increase in the divorce petitions in the past five years. Out of this, 90 per cent cases lead to divorces, said lawyers.

Lawyer of Patna civil court (family court), Ajay Mishra, said he came across divorce petitions that stated reasons he had never heard before.

A senior deputy collector has sought divorce from his wife, who is a mother of three children aged between four and eight years. The petitioner said he wanted to divorce his wife, the daughter of a retired senior officer of the Bihar government, because she preferred to live with her parents in Patna.

“Why should I always go to my in-laws’ house?” the petitioner asked.

Posted in a district in south-central Bihar, the petitioner said it was beyond his dignity to visit his sasural every time.

“I have become a laughing stock among my colleagues, who are aware of my family-related problems,” the petitioner said. He moved the court for separation after almost 11 years of marriage.

Advocate Mishra was of the opinion that most divorce seekers were madly in love before tying the knot.

“What is noticeable is that the majority of the divorce petitioners had love marriages. But it doesn’t mean that arranged marriages are out of danger,” the civil court lawyer said.

Official data revealed that the Patna family court received 233 petitions seeking maintenance (sustenance allowance) in 2007. The number of such complaints went up to 384 in 2012. Similarly, the court received 31 complaints related to guardianship of the off springs in 2007. The number of such petitions went up to 51 in 2012.

Sociologist Hetukar Jha said the trend was noticed mostly in the upper class and to some extent the upper middle-class families. He attributed the reasons for rise in divorce cases to partner’s self-interest. “Earlier, couples used to talk about their family and not about themselves. Now, they think more about their self-interest and not about the family. This is all about short-term and long-term interests,” he added.

Anupama, a member of the counselling centre (family court), cited intolerance among the newly-wed couples as the reason behind the rise in the divorce cases. “Ego clash is the most common factor responsible for separation among life partners,” she added.