No divorce even for Rs 65 lakh

Couples dilemma

No divorce even for Rs 65 lakh

“Taking note of a number of earlier cases, where a decree of divorce had been granted by mutual consent by the court without awaiting the expiry of the statutory period of six months, it was held that neither the civil courts nor the high courts can pass orders before the period (6 months) prescribed in Section 13-B(2) of the Act expired,’’ said the Bench of Justices D K Jain and C K Prasad.

While refusing to use Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, which provides the Supreme Court special power to ignore the law, the Bench refused to grant an instant decree of divorce to Neeti and Rakesh Malviya, who have been facing matrimonial dispute before a Bangalore family court for the past 3 years.

The Bench referred the matter to Chief Justice S H Kapadia for constituting a 3-judge Bench to decide the question of law “whether the period prescribed in sub-section (2) of Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, can be waived or reduced by this court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution.” Neeti had approached the Supreme Court for transfer of the divorce case from Bangalore to another court in Madhya Pradesh.

The couple, during their appearance before the Supreme Court on September 6, 2008, had agreed to go for mediation at the Delhi High Court Mediation Centre. Both parties had reported to the apex court that they had arrived at a settlement and according to the agreement, Rakesh would pay Rs 65 lakh to Neeti for filing divorce on mutual consent.

The agreement of settlement was filed before the Supreme Court Lok Adalat on April 25, 2009, for approval, before granting the decree of divorce.  However, on May 10, 2010, the advocates of one of the parties cited some judgments pronounced earlier by the Supreme Court and said the mandatory 6- month period after filing the petition for divorce on mutual consent could not be waived or reduced by the apex court.

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