Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, J. dismissed a petition impugning the order of Family Court whereby the petitioner and his wife were directed to appear in person before the Court.
The petitioner and his wife were residents of USA. They applied for a decree of divorce under Section 13-B(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 through their respective attorneys. The Family Court accepted the petition and allowed the first motion after interacting with the parties through video conferencing via Skype. The Family Court, in the order impugned, had observed that the parties were stated to be residing separately for 10 years, but were noticed to be living under the same roof. Furthermore, the wife did not seem very comfortable with the proceedings. The Family Court, thus directed the parties to be present in person for the second motion under 13-B(2), so that the Court could record satisfaction of their respective statements having been made independently and without undue influence. Aggrieved thereby, the husband filed the instant petition.
The High Court perused the record and considered submissions made by the parties. It was noted that the relation between the parties and their respective power of attorneys was nowhere mentioned. Also, it was not a case where the parties could not make themselves present before the court. In fact, the petitioner was in Delhi at the time of filing of the petition. The Court observed that the consistent view of High Courts is that the statements through the h power of attorneys are permissible, but at the same time the Court should take necessary precautions and if it smells fraud being practiced, insist om personal appearance of the parties. Merely because the law permits the parties to act through attorney, even in matter of seeking dissolution of marriage, does not bind the Court to, even where it feels that personal presence of the parties is necessary and gives reasons, s therefore, act mechanically on the basis of petitions filed by attorneys and dissolve marriage after interacting with the attorneys of the parties only. The Court, in the facts of the case, held that the order impugned passed by the Family Court did not suffer from any infirmity and require no interference. The petition was, thus, dismissed. [Raja Banerji v. Alka Banerji,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11397, decided on 11-09-2018]