A Hindu marriage can be dissolved under the provision of mutual consent even if one of the parties withdraws approval of the dissolution before the statutory period of six months expires following the application for divorce.
By law, both the parties are required to re-confirm their mutual consent after six months.
<b1>A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir granted divorce by mutual consent to a couple from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh despite the wife having withdrawn her consent.
The court used its extraordinary powers under Article 142 to virtually re-write the law on divorce by mutual consent under Section 13 B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
But the court made it clear that high courts or civil courts could not pass such orders because they did not have these extraordinary powers.
According to Section 13 B of the Act, a divorce by mutual consent can be jointly filed by the parties on the grounds that they have been living separately at least for a year.
The court took note of the fact that the wife had made it clear that she would not live with the petitioner (husband) but also she was not agreeable to divorce by mutual consent.
In the present case, the wife withdrew her consent and accordingly, the second additional district judge, Chhindwara, dismissed the petition for divorce in 2005.
The husband challenged the verdict in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which upheld the trial court’s order.