Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its anguish and concern at the increasing number of divorce cases.

Justice Arijit Pasayat, heading a vacation Bench, orally observed that the Hindu Marriages Act “has broken more homes than uniting.”

‘Disastrous effect’

He said: “The growing number of divorce cases in the country is having a disastrous effect on children of families which get broken.” In a lighter vein, he said: “Nowadays even at the time of marriages, anticipatory divorce petitions are being filed.”

Hearing a petition filed by Gaurav Nagpal, seeking custody of his minor son, Justice Pasayat said: “Ego should get dissolved for the sake of the child,” even as the mother, Sumedha Nagpal, who argued in person, opposed giving custody of the boy to her separated husband.

Welfare of child

Justice Pasayat told the couple that the court was concerned about the welfare of the child rather than their mutual recrimination.

“Ultimately the child suffers. If it is a girl, the trauma is more, particularly at the time of the marriage of such children.”

Provision misused

Justice Pasayat said: “The provisions under the Hindu Marriages Act for granting divorce on grounds of either of the spouses suffering from diseases like leprosy and mental illness are being misused by some couples. Those days, our forefathers never had such problems and marital disputes were sorted out within the four walls of the house.”

Gaurav Nagpal filed his appeal against an order passed by the Delhi High Court confirming a trial court order, which granted custody of the 11-year-old boy to the mother.

Justices Pasayat and G.S. Singhvi suggested to the couple that they sort out their differences for the sake of the child. However, when Mrs. Nagpal turned down the offer, the judges heard the couple in the chambers. The Bench will pass an appropriate order on Wednesday if there is no settlement in the in-camera hearing.