A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly asked both the parties to explore “if there is any possibility or chance of reconciliation”.
Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Shinde, submitted that there was no chance of coming together of the two and it was a case of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage.”
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by Shinde seeking divorce without the consent of her husband, citing “irretrievable breakdown of marriage.”
The bench told the lawyers to “make an attempt for amicable settlement”.
Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, who appeared for Shinde’s husband Sanjay Pahadia, submitted that the couple had been speaking to each other but he was not certain whether there was any positive development. Pahadia has been living in New York and had a meeting with Shinde in the last few weeks, Singh said.
Rohatgi said Shinde has been living separately for the last five years and her husband has been resisting divorce after consenting for it in the beginning. They have two sons aged 15 and 13 who are in the custody of the mother.
Smriti, in her petition, has challenged provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act which requires subsistence of mutual consent throughout the divorce proceedings.
“The law cannot compel a woman, who is emotionally and mentally unable to cope with a marriage, to remain bound in a wedlock to her spouse even when it is established that the marriage is dead,” she said in her plea.
“The compulsion upon wife to obtain the consent of the husband to maintain and prosecute a petition of divorce by mutual consent is violative of the principles of gender justice and thereby of the Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution,” the petition said.