Sat. May 18th, 2024

The Supreme Court has refused to grant an octogenarian man the right to divorce his wife after a 27-year legal battle. Divorce is still widely considered taboo in India, with only a small percentage of marriages ending in dissolution due to societal pressure. In order to obtain a divorce, individuals must provide evidence of cruelty, violence, or financial demands. Nirmal Singh Panesar, now 89, first filed for divorce in 1996, citing irretrievable breakdown of their relationship since 1984. However, the district court’s initial decision to grant the divorce in 2000 was later overturned on appeal. After two more decades of legal proceedings, the Supreme Court ultimately denied the divorce petition, acknowledging that the couple’s marriage was beyond reconciliation. The court’s judgment emphasized the cultural significance of marriage in Indian society, describing it as a sacred and emotionally valuable institution. Granting the divorce would be deemed unfair to the wife, who expressed her unwillingness to live with the stigma of being a divorcee and her continued commitment to taking care of her husband in his old age. The couple shares three children. The Indian criminal justice system faces significant delays, causing cases to take years, and in this case, decades to reach a resolution. As of last year, the number of pending cases in Indian courts exceeded 43.2 million.

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