By LE Desk

Chandigarh, June 7, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a trial court’s insistence on an estranged couple waiting for six months in a divorce case even after the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage was unwarranted.

“The marriage between the parties has irretrievably broken and now they have decided to part ways, so that they both have an opportunity to live their lives in the manner they like. In the given situation, the insistence of the court below to wait another six months would result in adding to their woes,” Justice Arun Monga ruled, as reported by The Tribune.

The judgment assumes significance as the Supreme Court in a case had ruled that the period mentioned in Section 13B (2) of the Hindu Marriage Act was not mandatory, but directory.

The apex court had also made it clear that it would be open to the court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there was no possibility of the parties resuming cohabitation and there were chances of alternative rehabilitation.

But Justice Monga’s Bench was informed that Fatehabad Family Court Principal Judge on February 26 had dismissed an application filed by a couple for the waiver of the six-month statutory period filed in a joint petition under Section 13-B of the Act. This, the Bench was told, was not in consonance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

Keeping in view the averments made in the petition and in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, Justice Monga said that he was of the considered view that the approach adopted by the court below in insisting on the parties to wait for another six months for second motion hearing was totally uncalled for.

Setting aside the order, Justice Monga directed the Principal Judge to entertain the joint petition filed by the petitioners under Section 13-B by waiving of the six months period and proceed with the matter by recording the statements of the parties before disposing of the petition on merits in accordance with law.

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