Digital India & Divorce

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Marriage is a sacred relationship.  Some people are able to make their marriage work until death, while others choose to part away to seek solace.

Radha and Satish college buddies after courtship of 3 years got married in Mumbai and thereafter settled in New York. Both blessed with a successful career in IT industry lived happily in New York until their high pressure jobs and career aspirations took a toll on their relationship. With passage of time their relationship worsened. Fights on petty issues took a toll on their career, yielding to mental anxiety, depression, anguish.  They decided to part and start living separately.

Radha in due course grabbed a great career opportunity and relocated to Australia to pursue her career ambitions.  Thus the hopes of reviving the marriage failed miserably due to the long distance between Radha and Satish.  Thus, both of them decided to get divorced mutually. To add to their woes came the lengthy and time consuming procedure of divorce in Family Courts. The lawyers insisted that they both come personally at the same time to initiate the divorce proceeding in the Family Court. The biggest delay in filing of the divorce Petition of Radha and Satish was their professional commitments and disagreement between them over the place and time of filing the divorce Petition as they could not take out time to reach Mumbai at the same time for filing of the same. Thus, this prolonged their agony and it resulted in depression and anguish.

After a lot of persuasion by their respective families and friends, Radha came from Australia and Satish came from New York for filing of their divorce Petition. They had to further visit the Family Court three to four times to complete the entire procedure of divorce by mutual consent.  They ended up spending about 10 Lakhs to 12 Lakhs on international air tickets, loss of pay, etc.  At the same time they also took the risk of losing their job and visa.

With the motto of “Power to Empower” the launch of digital India program; high speed internet network, improved online infrastructure and digital literacy, digital revolution has already started happening in India.  With an aim to fast-track the disposal of pending cases the Government has been going for major transformation of court rooms into digital and paperless entity, which has come as a boon to litigating couples who are living in different countries and cities.

With the invent of technology, now it is possible for litigating couples living in different country and / or city and for those professionals requiring frequent travel viz. merchant navy, pilots, etc., to file for divorce in the Courts without coming to the Courts in India. This not only saves their time, money, energy and risk of losing job, but also saves them from unnecessary pain, trauma and anxiety which may be caused due to lengthy Court procedures and repeated long travels.

The Courts in India are aware about the changing times, the busy schedules of the incompatible couples and the practical difficulty of not being personally available for the said process due to abroad postings by their employers. In fact the Supreme Court of India has gone one step further and directed the Family Court to use its discretion to dispose of mutual consent divorce Petitions in 7 days by waiving off the mandatory six months cooling period.

It is not known to many about the use of digital technology in the divorce proceedings from their comfort zone and thus they continue to adapt to old, lengthy and costly Court procedures.

Seema Gajakos (B.Sc., LL.M.) is a practising advocate in Civil and Criminal Laws with 19 years of specialized experience in matrimonial law.
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