Gujarat : Marital Discord on Rise; Cases Jump 50% in Two Years, Experts Cite Pandemic Stress
Ahmedabad : Gujarat's family courts are struggling with a surge in marital disputes, with a worrying 50% increase in cases filed over the past two years. In 2023 alone, a staggering 27,194 cases landed in the state's family courts, translating to 75 daily filings. This number was significantly lower in 2021, with only 51 cases filed daily.
Pandemic Fallout or Changing Priorities?
Experts attribute this rise to the stress and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced couples to spend extended periods together with limited social interaction. Others point to changing societal norms and evolving priorities, particularly among women, as contributing factors. The trend also indicates a shift in the nature of marital disputes, with cases of wife harassment increasing alongside the traditionally prevalent husband abuse complaints.
A National Trend:
Gujarat is not alone in facing this challenge. Nationally, family courts saw a jump from 4.97 lakh cases in 2021 to 8.25 lakh in 2023, with over 11 lakh cases currently pending. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 2.87 lakh cases, followed by Kerala and Punjab.
Alarm Bells and Calls for Action:
This alarming trend has prompted the Gujarat High Court to advise lawyers to prioritize reconciliation over litigation, highlighting the societal value of preserving marriages. Experts emphasize the need for open communication, stress management techniques, and addressing the changing dynamics of relationships within families.
The report further highlights the backlog of cases pending in the family court of Ahmedabad, exceeding 10,000, and the growing issue of discord between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. These factors further complicate the already strained family court system.