Divorce cases up in Dhaka

The number of divorce cases filed with the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is on the rise for disparate reasons, including infidelity, torture and disagreement, with women filing most of the cases.

The husbands seeking divorce usually cite disagreement with and infidelity and disobedience of their wives as reasons, while wives generally accuse their husbands of irresponsibility and, in some cases, torturing them.

A young girl, who lives in Rampura area of the capital city, said her husband’s extra-marital affairs had prompted her to seek divorce about two years ago. “I did not want a divorce as I was pregnant at that time but my family insisted on getting divorce, considering my future.”

According to DCC officials, the number of divorce cases has increased in recent years, with nearly 26 divorce cases being filed on an average
every day.

The number of divorce notices submitted to the DCC was 5,324 in 2007, which increased to 7,065 in 2008. The number of cases filed was nearly 6,000 in both 2009 and 2010, the officials added.

“There has been 1,493 divorce notices filed in the first three months of the current year. There are days when as many as 26 notices are received,” said Abdur Rashid, the receiving officer at the DCC dispatch department.

He said nearly 80% of the divorce notices were served by the wives.

The Muslim family laws ordinance, 1961 empowers women to exercise the right to serve divorce notice to husband.

DCC regional executive officer A K M Aminul Islam said after receiving a divorce notice, they send one notice each in the following three months to both the parties to be present at a hearing to settle their disputes without going for divorce, if possible.

“If both the parties fail to be present at the hearing on the three consecutive notice dates, the divorce automatically comes into effect,” Aminul added.

Shamim F Karim, a professor of psychology at Dhaka University, said many issues were related to the increase in the rate of divorces in Dhaka city.

She said that, in most cases, the woman’s family now even did not ask for the dowry from the husband as they only wanted to ensure that the woman would not be subjected to torture by her husband on that ground.

Besides, with rapid urbanisation in Bangladesh, the tradition of joint family is becoming weaker, leading to less interference in settling disputes between husband and wife, Shamim pointed out.

Information commissioner Sadeka Halim, also a sociology teacher at Dhaka University, said women never went for divorce willingly. “Giving importance to social values, no woman wants to send divorce notice to her husband but they now are going for it as they have, at least, a choice to live as single mothers,” Sadeka added.

She also pointed out that women from the higher and middle classes only came to the city corporation with divorce notices, while a large number of lower class women remained unaccounted for.

“Urban women from low income group, particularly garment workers and domestic helps, have more than one marriages on temporary contract basis, usually called social marriage, to have some sort of security,” she said, adding that these women never come to file divorce notices with the DCC.

(Source: Gulf Times)

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