Smartphones, Facebook, WhatsApp break down marriages in Bangalore

Friday, 14 March 2014 - 6:15am IST | Agency: dna

Technology is taking its toll on marital life and leading to more divorces in India's IT city.

Of the more than 5,000 divorce cases filed last year, at least 3,000 are related to technology. The grounds of divorce varies from illicit messages or calls or chats or Facebook posts on smartphones getting tracked by either of the spouses to using GPS to track down a partner with a lover to an extreme case where the wife chats on WhatsApp during sex. Some even use Apps to retrieve deleted messages or photos to prove their partners are cheating on them.

The Wall Street Journal recently quoted the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers saying they have seen a rise in the number of divorce cases because of social networking sites. A 2011 UK survey by Divorce Online, a legal services firm, says more than a third of divorce cases contain the word Facebook.

Legal experts in Bangalore say divorce cases involving social networking sites and smartphones are on the rise. Emails and SMSes are being used to file for divorce.

Veena, a housewife, and Rajesh, an IT engineer, were happily married. But Rajesh grew suspicious when she started using her phone surreptitiously in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. He checked her phone but found nothing in her message inbox or other folders. He then used an App to retrieve her deleted messages and pictures. He discovered that Veena had an affair with their young neighbour.

Manjula, a school teacher, noticed her husband, Raghavendra's, a businessmen, behaviour change after 16 years of marriage. He was disinterested in family matters and he rarely gave her money to run the household.

She approached a detective agency to get to the root of the problem. The agency used GPS to track him down through his mobile phone. He bunked office every day from 11am to 3pm and also skipped lunch at home. He was found at a ladies garment store on Commercial Street. Manjula chanced upon an SMS on his phone saying the dress he had given for alteration was ready.

Advocate Revathy Rohira, a divorce specialist, said gone were the days when women filed for divorce because of dowry harassment. Rohira is the founder of Matrimonial Law Chambers. "Smartphones have taken over the lives of not just IT guys or upper middle class people, small businessmen and petty shop owners too are affected. I have had a case where the man complained that his wife was so obsessed with WhatsApp that she used it even when they had sex."

IT geeks Rahul and Sneha, married for seven years, have a kid. One day she told Rahul that she had to go to Pune on official work. But Rahul saw an SMS alert on her phone saying her US visa and tickets were confirmed. When he confronted her, she admitted that she planned to shift permanently to the US with her lover.

Advocate IS Pramod Chandra said he dealt with a case where the husband hacked into his wife's mail and found intimate chat messages of her with a 'friend'.

Rohira said divorce cases related to Facebook and Twitter have gone up by at least 50%.

Family court statistics say 1,213 cases were filed this year till March 13.

Dayanand Hiremath, Karnataka high court advocate, said divorce cases are on the rise and smartphones and Apps are among the main culprits. There was a time when family courts used to see 3,000-4,000 cases in a year. Now, the number is 1,500-2,000 in a month, he said.

Gunaki Narendra Kumar, family court principal judge, said smartphones have invaded our lives. Often, SMSes and emails are submitted as evidence.

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