New Delhi, Apr 19 (ILNS) The Chhattisgarh High Court recently held that it is not necessary to establish that serious dispute existed between the husband and wife, while granting divorce by mutual consent under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The observation was made by a Division Bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and NK Chandravanshi, while passing the order on a petition filed by Sandhya Sen, which challenged the decree of ‘judicial separation’ passed by a Trial Court on December 12, 2018.
As per the petition, the parties got married at Durg on February 20, 2017. However, they remained together only for two days and thereafter, have never lived as husband and wife. After one year of marriage, they preferred a joint application dated March 13, 2018 for divorce by mutual consent.
The Trial Court had passed a decree for judicial separation for a period of one year instead of divorce by mutual consent, by referring to Section 13A of the Act, which provides for alternative relief in divorce proceedings. While passing the decree, the trial court also went ahead to observe that the period of their staying together is so short that it is not possible that any serious dispute would have arisen between them.
The Counsel for the appellant submitted that there being no defect in the application or in the procedure for moving such application for grant of divorce by mutual consent, the Trial Court should have allowed the application.
The Trial Court had directed to the provisions contained in Section 13-A of the Act, 1955, which provides that in any proceeding under this Act, on a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, except in so far as the petition is founded on the grounds mentioned in clauses (ii), (vi) and (vii) of sub-section (1) of Section 13.
“The provisions contained in Section 13-A would attract only when the trial Court is satisfied, ‘having regard to the circumstances of the case’ that it considers just to pass a decree for judicial separation instead of mutual divorce.
“The phrase ‘having regard to the circumstances of the case’ requires the Trial Court to find out the circumstances, which compel it to pass a decree for judicial separation. Unless such circumstances exist, the Trial Court is not entitled to pass a decree for judicial separation in a mechanical manner,” the Court observed. ILNS/AP/SJB/SNG/RJ