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Punjab and Haryana HC dismisses divorce plea for waiving six-months period, says timeframe a safeguard against hurried decision

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a divorce petition filed by a couple for the waiver for six months period necessary for their divorce with mutual consent under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (The Act) citing irreconcilable differences. The marriage was not consummated and the couple is living separately from the very third day of their marriage.

The single-judge bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal upheld the decision of Family Court stating,

“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.”

Justice Mittal opined, “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.”

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,”

-the bench noted while mentioning the judgment in Amardeep Singh is unambiguous. Where the judgment 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.

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Arav Gupta, advocate for the petitioner, and Amit Chaudhary advocate for the respondent, have argued that the six months period stipulated by Section 13B(2) of the Act can be waived even if one and a half years have not elapsed before date of first motion as has been done by this Court in Jobanpreet Kaur vs. Jaspinder Singh, 2020(3) RCR (Civil) 582 and Re: Nav Raj Bhatta and others, 2019(2) RCR(Civil) 712. Reliance has also been placed upon Division Bench judgment of Allahabad High Court in Priyanka Chauhan vs. Principal Judge Family Court and others, AIR 2021 All 164.

All conditions laid down in Amardeep Signh vs. Harveen Kaur, 2017(4) RCR(Civil) 608 stand fulfilled and, therefore, the trial Court was in error in rejecting the application, the counsels submitted further.

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To which Justice Mittal remarked,

“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.”

Marriage of the parties was solemnized 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 has been filed for dissolution of the marriage. It has been averred in the petition 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.

Read the order below.

PunHaryanaFINAL_ORDER

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