Severely criticising the practice of litigants seeking adjournments and filing frivolous applications without addressing the main petition, especially in family court matters, the Bombay High Court has said that the practice needs to be stopped.
“It is time that the inappropriate practice of sabotaging the entire spirit of the Family Court’s act by parties and/or the advocates by taking out needless applications and not replying to the main application itself be brought to the end it deserves,” observed Justice Roshan Dalvi while dismissing an appeal filed by a husband challenging an order of the family court. The husband had challenged the order of the family court rejecting his application to file written statement and also awarding interim maintenance to wife.
In February 2009, the wife had filed divorce petition and sought maintenance. Pending hearing, the wife had child’s custody. Despite repeated notices and court orders, the husband failed to appear before the court or file his reply. Even his advocate was absent on several occasions. On January 5, 2010, his advocate’s clerk made an application before the family court adjournment, which was rejected.
When the family court was to pass orders, the husband filed an application seeking permission to file written statement, which was rejected.
Finally in April, the family court allowed wife’s application and granted interim maintenance. While dismissing the husband’s appeal, the court observed, “This procedure (of filing applications) is seen to be endemic in the Family Court, which was specifically constituted not to have such time consuming, elaborate, redundant procedures of making applications after applications instead of replying to the main application itself.”
“The Family Court is required to act in family matters for bringing to an end the dispute between the parties without recourse to tardy procedures.
Consequently, the main Petition has to be replied first,” observed the court adding that at that time only issues like maintenance, access to child can all be decided.