India and Fault Divorce

A new Bollywood film concerns a woman who left her husband for failing to provide a toilet. It’s based on the true story of Anita Narre who threatened divorce to get her husband to build one. Do you need grounds to file for a divorce?

Indian Toilet Shortages

Many are surprised to learn that about 60% of India’s households lack access to toilets. That is surprising news for a country associated with ‘high tech’, but the situation is so bad, health advocates launched a “No toilet, No bride” campaign.

And, a family court judge in the state of Rajasthan has ruled that failure to provide a bathroom is an act of cruelty sufficiently significant to be grounds for divorce.

Florida No Fault Divorce

The Indian case is interesting for Floridians because Indian courts can grant divorces only in limited circumstances, by proving fault, such as physical abuse.

I’ve written about no-fault and fault standard divorces around the world before. Florida, as opposed to India, is a no-fault state.

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Many people argue that the introduction of no fault divorce is the reason the United States has a high divorce rate. In fact, many people think so, and want to return to the old “fault” system to promote families and er flush away no fault.

Down the Drain

The divorce case in India, described as a first by The Times of India, came in the case of a woman whose husband refused to provide a toilet, saying they were unnecessary. This forced her to go to the bathroom outside.

“We spend money on buying tobacco, liquor, and mobile phones, but are unwilling to construct toilets to protect the dignity of our family”.

Private bathrooms are in rare supply, and in some places, women have to wait until sunset to answer nature’s call.

This is not only physical cruelty but also outraging the modesty of a woman,” said the judge Rajendra Kumar Sharma.

The ruling comes at a time when the government is running a crusade against open defecation under the `Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.

The Times of India article is here.