Punjab and Haryana High Court: G. S. Sandhawalia, J., allowed the application for waiving off the mandatory period of six months for divorce by mutual consent.

The instant petition had been filed by the petitioners i.e. Wife and husband who were aggrieved by the order of the Family Court, whereby their application for waiving off the mandatory period of six months had been rejected.

The petitioners submitted that they had sought divorce by mutual consent and their joint statement was recorded under Section 13-B of Hindu Marriage Act on the ground that husband was residing abroad in Houston TX (USA) since 2019. The parties were living separately since then and three children, which were borne out of the wedlock remained with the husband. Therefore, it was submitted by the parties that the mandatory period of six months be waived off.

Reliance was placed by the Family Court on the decision of the Supreme Court in Amandeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur, (2017) 8 SCC 746, wherein it had been held that, “where there are no chances of reconciliation, six months period cannot be waived off except in exceptional circumstances and the parties are thus aggrieved by the impugned order.”

Observing that the couple had settled the matter and were mature to the extent that first petitioner was 34 years old and petitioner 2 was 35 years of age and had been blessed with 3 children; moreover, it was not disputed that the husband was also staying abroad for the last more than two years and they had even settled regarding the children; the Bench opined that in such circumstances, further waiting period would only prolong the proceedings and it was a fit case to exercise the jurisdiction of the Court in waiving off the mandatory period of six months.

The Bench opined that the judgment in Amandeep Singh’s case had not been appreciated in its real sense by the Family Court. The relevant portion of the said judgment reads as under:-

“16. The object of the provision is to enable the parties to dissolve a marriage by consent if the marriage has irretrievably broken down and to enable them to rehabilitate them as per available options. The amendment was inspired by the thought that forcible perpetuation of status of matrimony between unwilling partners did not serve any purpose. The object of the cooling off the period was to safeguard against a hurried decision if there was otherwise possibility of differences being reconciled. The object was not to perpetuate a purposeless marriage or to prolong the agony of the parties when there was no chance of reconciliation. Though every effort has to be made to save a marriage, if there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the Court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option.”

Accordingly, the impugned order was set aside. The Family Court concerned was directed to take up the application again and dispose of the main case within a period of 10 days.[Sukhjeet Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1606, decided on 16-08-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

Counsel for the Petitioners: Mohd. Salim, Advocate

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