Rajasthan High Court waives 6-month cooling-off period for mutual consent divorce

The High Court of Rajasthan has granted leave to a joint petition filed by the petitioner wife and the defendant husband for the waiver of the six-month cooling-off period prescribed under Section 13-B(2) of the 1955 Act on Hindu Marriage for Divorce by Mutual Consent.

Judge Dinesh Mehta, observed,

In light of the facts and circumstances of the case, particularly that the parties are sufficiently educated and know their rights…as they mutually decided to end their marriage finding no hope/chance for reconciliation, I am of the is of the opinion that their request for derogation from the legal period of six months provided for in Article 13-B(2) of the law of 1955 deserves to be accepted.

The parties had gone to court after being aggrieved by the order issued by the Bhilwara Family Court, which on December 16, 2021, dismissed the parties’ aforementioned prayer.

Essentially, the parties’ marriage was solemnized according to Hindu customs on 25.11.2003 at Mandalgarh, Bhilwara. Shortly after the wedding, their relationship became strained and for the past four years the two have been residing separately. Subsequently, every effort was made to restore marital relations and despite regular advice from their relatives, the marital dispute between them could not be settled.

As a result, the parties jointly filed a petition for divorce with the Family Court by mutual consent, which in turn registered said petition and set the next date of January 20, 2022 for counsel.

Lawyers for the parties have argued that the parties’ decision to end their marriage was not made in haste and that a reconciliation between the parties is highly unlikely.

It can be noted that Section 13B(2) Hindu Marriage Act excludes that the divorce be granted before six months from the period which elapses after the filing of the petition for divorce by mutual consent.

The High Court found that the parties’ petition was worth succeeding because the parties are sufficiently educated and know their rights – the respondent (husband) also runs a shop. In this regard, the court also observes that the parties mutually decided to end their marital relationship after finding no hope/chance for reconciliation.

The order was issued by the court in the exercise of its extraordinary powers available under Section 226 of the Constitution of India.

The court relied on the conditions set out in the case of Amardeep Singh vs Harveen Kaur, where the Apex Court held that the period provided for in Article 13-B (2) is not mandatory but direct. The Supreme Court added that it will be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility for the parties to resume cohabitation and where there is a likelihood of alternative rehabilitation.

The court ordered the parties to appear in family court on January 20, 2022, after which the relevant family court will issue a divorce judgment according to law.

Case Title: Sheela Dhobi v. Satish

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 19

Click here to read/download the order

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