Bombay High Court (when will they switch to calling themselves Mumbai HC, next century?) has decided that 6 months waiting period in mutual consent divorce under Sec 13 of HMA is not required if a divorce petition between couple was already pending in court and was converted to mutual consent divorce.
The case pertained to a couple married under the Hindu Marriage Act in 2005, who had lived together for a year before separating. The husband then filed for divorce a year later. Both traded charges of cruelty and harassment, but soon agreed to bury the hatchet and withdrew their allegations. In December 2009, they filed consent terms for a mutual divorce plea and sought a waiver of the 6-month period—stipulated under law to enable the couple to reconsider their decision. However the family court judge rejected their request.
With more than three years of separation behind them, the couple, who wished to get on with their separate lives, moved the high court to challenge the family court order. Taking a progressive approach, Justice Roshan Dalvi held that after considering the law and reading the various provisions for grant of divorce “harmoniously’’, the view taken by the family court judge was “erroneous’’.
Even though Supreme Court has clearly said that only it can waive off the 6 months cooling period in mutual consent divorce, the beauty (or ugliness) of case law system as in India is such judges are free to interpret law and precedents, so you are always left guessing before going to court. Who does it help? Lawyers? maybe, maybe not.
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