5 Divorces every hour in Kerala, more than any other states in India

Thiruvananthapuram, June 22: Family courts in the prosperous, southern state of Kerala ruled on just over five divorces every hour in 2014–130 every day–more than any of the 12 Indian states that compile such data, according to government data.

Although India does not appear on the world divorce statistics records, a global divorce repository (compiled by the University of Illinois, USA), because it lacks nationwide data, the volume of divorces handled by courts in Kerala and the other 11 states indicates that couples are more willing than ever to separate than stay–as tradition still demands–in bad marriages.

The number of divorces appears large in a nation where courts tend to be conservative in granting legal separation, but they may be a fraction of failing or failed marriages because many Indian women stay married despite abuse, as we later explain.

The data–in this March 2015 government reply to the Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower house–are compiled from family courts in the 12 states and are inadequate to compare India’s divorce rates clearly with other countries or across states. The government does not maintain divorce statistics.

It is hard to estimate the divorce rate–calculated against the number of married people, not the general population, as is done with, say, with crime and accident rates–because India does not maintain any divorce data. Most use the term “divorce rate” loosely in India, since the data do not reveal divorces, only cases before the courts.

What is clear is that divorce cases before family courts are steadily growing. For the year 2014-15, almost every state reported more divorces awaiting court verdicts than were settled in 2014, according to the government’s reply to Parliament.

However, none of the other 11 states–five of which are more populous–had more divorce cases than Kerala: 47,525 cases in 2014. Maharashtra witnessed half as many divorces as Kerala, which has a population a third the size of Maharashtra.