Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: While deciding upon an appeal against the order and decree passed by the Family Court, Tirunelveli, the Division Bench of K.K. Sasidharan and B. Gokuldas, JJ., set aside the decision of the Family Court dismissing the joint petition for dissolution of marriage of the appellants for want of reasons for separation. The Court further observed that the Family Courts are not allowed to enlarge the scope of enquiry under Section 13B (2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and once it is satisfied that the essential requirements under Section 13B (2) has been fulfilled and substantiated then the Family Court must venture to grant the decree of divorce to the parties. It is not for the Family Court to decide as to whether parties were justified in living separately as it is not the scope of a petition filed under Section 13-B of the 1955 Act.

In the present case, the appellants had filed a joint petition under Section 13B (2) of the 1955 Act with mutual consent seeking for dissolution of marriage as the appellants were living separately and there was no chance of any re-union. However their petition was dismissed as the Family Judge noted that the parties have not mentioned the reasons for their separation.

Perusing the facts of the case, the Court observed that the parties have been living separately form 18.04.2014 and as per the affidavit presented by the appellants there has been no cohabitation between them since the stated date of separation. The Court observed that the only requisite of Section 13B (2) is that the parties applying for dissolution of marriage must be living separately for a period of one year or more, irrespective of any reason for doing so, and when the ingredient was satisfied by the appellants in the present case, it was unnecessary for the Family Court to enquire about the reasons behind their separation. As per the provision the only duty of the Family Court was to ensure that whether the marriage has been solemnised and that the averments in the petition are true. The Court also observed that when the parties were willing to part ways as their marriage had turned out to be a failure, the Family Court should have respected the sentiments of the parties and should have granted the divorce. With these observations, the Bench set aside the order of the Family Court and granted the decree for dissolution of the marriage of the appellants. [A.C. Mathivanan  v B. Sathyabama, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 8884, decided on 03.08.2016]


Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: With the intent to protect the sanctity of marriage, the Court said that sometimes clash of ego between the couple turns out to be a cause of marital discord, therefore, while dealing with such type of cases, a sincere attempt is required to be made by the concerned Presiding Judge of the Family Court dealing with the case to settle the disputes amicably, if possible, in the very start of the matter.

The Court showed it’s concern on the marital discords resulting in divorce in the matter where the wife had sought reversal of the order of restitution of conjugal rights by taking the plea  that after even giving birth to a son out of this wedlock, the marriage being of 2008, she had completely withdrawn herself from the society of the husband without any reasonable excuse whereas the wife contended that at the time of marriage, she was hardly  20 years old and eager to build up her career, but her husband and his family members, who had initially agreed that they would permit her to go ahead with her further studies, refused and assigned her domestic work. Considering the facts of the case, the Court said that “if an attempt is made, perhaps this young couple can reunite.”

The division bench of Virender Singh J. and  Shree Chandrashekhar CJ., hence, directed the parties to appear in person and then persuaded them to stay together to which the appellant-wife willingly agreed. After 6 weeks the matter was called up again, where the couple made a joint statement that they are staying together very happily and if there was any misunderstanding between them, they have resolved it themselves. The couple also volunteered to work as Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) Mediators/ Conciliators on behalf of the Jharkhand State Legal Service (JHALSA).

The Court was hence, of the view that this couple would be in abetter position to give effective counseling which would be in the larger interest of the Society. [Priyanka Sarkhel v. Baban Sarkhel, 2016 SCC OnLine Jhar 1620, decided on 17.06.2016]