Punjab HC rejects divorce petition from couple who separated in 3 days
The High Court of Punjab and Haryana (HC) rejected the divorce petition of a couple who separated on the third day of their marriage. The plea was filed to request a waiver for a period of six months, however the HC rejected the request and held that “the delay was a safeguard against a hasty decision”.
In accordance with the petition filed before HC, against the order of the court of first instance, the marriage of the parties was celebrated 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 (referred to as the Act) was filed for the dissolution of the marriage by the petitioner (male), claiming that neither party has a claim against the other and no maintenance or permanent alimony has been demanded. Much effort has been put into mediation, but it has not yielded fruitful results.
In accordance with the ordinance, the first request was registered on September 30, 2021 and on October 12, 2021, a request for the waiver of the statutory six-month period prescribed by Article 13B (2) of the law was filed, however, the request was rejected by the court of first instance on the basis of the judgment of the Supreme Court, because one of the four conditions set out in the said judgment was not fulfilled, namely the legal time limit of six months specified in Section 13B (2) in addition to the one-year statutory period specified in Section 13B (1) was not completed until the first request.
While arguing that the court of first instance had erred in dismissing the request, counsel for the parties argued that âthe six-month period stipulated by Article 13B (2) is only of a directive nature, it can therefore be waived. It was further argued that this case is one where exceptional circumstances exist for the exercise of the six month waiver power. Both parties are mature, 31 and 30, respectively, well educated and have a good reputation in society. The husband is an IPS agent while the wife is an IFS agent. Adequate reflection has been devoted to the consequences of mutual divorce.
Judicial Sudhir Mittal, after hearing the case, said: âThe judgment in Amardeep Singh (supra) is unambiguous. It states that the purpose of article 13-B of the law is to allow the parties to dissolve a marriage by consent if it is irreparably broken. It would allow them to explore other options and move forward in life. A six-month period has been provided for in section 13B (2) of the law to guard against a hasty 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 six-month deadline so that the parties are not subjected to further suffering. Thus, it was judged that the statutory period of six months prescribed has a directive character.
The Chamber, after having taken cognizance of the conditions of the Law, judged that it shows that all are met except for the condition of a period of one and a half years before the first request. Thus, the family court had no choice but to reject the request for exemption from the six-month time limit filed. In this view of the case, no error was committed by him justifying an interference by this court.
The Court thus dismissing the couple’s request for review ruled that the judgments Jobanpreet Kaur (supra); Nav Raj Bhatta (supra) and Priyanka Chauhan (supra) cannot be invoked even if in said cases a period of one and a half years had not elapsed before the first request for the reason that none of them ‘considered the issue of waiver to be subject to a period of one and a half years having elapsed before the first request.