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Punjab HC dismisses divorce plea of couple that got separated in 3 days

🔴 As per the petition filed before HC, against the order of trial court, the marriage of the parties was solemnised on September 10, 2020. They have been separated since September 13, 2020. The marriage has not been consummated.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 12, 2021 11:23:02 am
Punjab and Haryana High Court (File)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) have dismissed the divorce plea of a couple that got separated from the third day of their marriage. The plea was filed seeking waiver for six months period, the HC, however, dismissed the petition and held that “timeframe a safeguard against hurried decision”.

As per the petition filed before HC, against the order of trial court, the marriage of the parties was solemnised on September 10, 2020. They have been separated since September 13, 2020. The marriage has not been consummated.

Citing irreconcilable differences, a petition under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (to be referred as the Act), has been filed for dissolution of the marriage by the petitioner (man), contending that neither party has any claim against the other and no maintenance or permanent alimony has been demanded. Many efforts were made at mediation but the same could not yield any fruitful results.

As per the order, first motion was recorded on September 30, 2021, and on October 12, 2021, an application was filed for waiving the six months statutory period prescribed by Section 13B(2) of the Act, however, the application has been dismissed by the trial court by relying upon the judgment of the Supreme Court, as one of the four conditions laid down in the said judgment was not fulfilled which is statutory period of six months specified in Section 13B(2) in addition to the statutory period of one year specified in Section 13B(1) was not over before the first motion.

While arguing that the trial court was in error in rejecting the application, the counsel for the parties submitted that “the period of six months stipulated by Section 13B(2) is only directory in nature, thus, the same can be waived. It was further contended that the present case is one where exceptional circumstances exist for exercise of the power of waiver of six months period. Both parties are mature being 31 years and 30 years of age respectively, are well educated and have a good standing in society. The husband is an IPS officer whereas the wife is IFS officer. Adequate thought has gone into the consequences of a mutual divorce.”

The Bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal, after hearing the matter said, “The judgment in Amardeep Singh (supra) is unambiguous. It lays down that the object of Section 13-B of the Act is to enable parties to dissolve a marriage by consent if it has broken down irretrievably. This would enable them to explore other options and to move on in life. A period of six months has been provided in Section 13B (2) of the Act to safeguard against a hurried decision. However, if a court comes to the conclusion that there is no chance of a reunion, it should not be powerless to waive the statutory period of six months so that the parties may not be subjected to further agony. Thus, it has been held that six months statutory period prescribed is directory in nature.”

The Bench after perusing the conditions of the Act, held that, it shows that all of them are fulfilled except the condition of a period of 1 ½ years having elapsed before the first motion. Thus, the family court had no option but to dismiss the application filed for waiving the period of six months. In this view of the matter no error has been committed by it warranting any interference by this court.

The Bench thus dismissing the revision petition of the couple held, that the judgments in Jobanpreet Kaur (supra); Nav Raj Bhatta (supra) and Priyanka Chauhan (supra) can not be relied upon even though in the said cases a period of 1 ½ years had not elapsed before the first motion for the reason that none of them have considered the issue of waiver being subject to period of 1 ½ years having elapsed before first motion.

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