Divorce with mutual consent: HC waives ‘cooling-off’ period for Kharar couple

In September 2021, the Kharar couple moved a plea in family court for divorce with mutual consent and subsequently waiver of ‘cooling-off’ period, but it was dismissed
The HC bench said that opportunity to live their lives in the manner they like cannot be denied. (HT file photo)
The HC bench said that opportunity to live their lives in the manner they like cannot be denied. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 24, 2021 01:05 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Chandigarh

The Punjab and Haryana high court has waived the minimum six-month “cooling-off” period before granting divorce to an estranged couple from Kharar.

“The marriage between the parties has irretrievably broken. They have decided to part their ways amicably. Opportunity to live their lives in the manner they like cannot be denied,” the bench of Justice Arun Monga said, adding that in these circumstances insisting to wait for another six months would result in adding to their woes.

The couple got married in March 2019 in Kharar. However, due to temperamental differences, they started living separately after May 2019. In September 2021, they moved a plea in family court for divorce with mutual consent and subsequently waiver of “cooling-off” period. However, the plea on waiver was dismissed.

They challenged the September-8 order of principal judge, family court, Kharar, before the high court, arguing that once the parties have amicably consented to part their ways, they cannot be forced to wait for another six months.

The six-month waiting period is prescribed under Section 13B (2) of the Hindu Marriage Act for divorce. Under Section 13B, when a couple files for divorce with mutual consent, they first have to establish a 12-month separation period, which is then followed by a “cooling-off” period of six months. However, the Supreme Court had in 2020 ruled that on case-to-case basis, this period can be waived.

The bench, before allowing the plea, interacted with them and observed that no useful purpose would be served to unnecessarily force them to wait for six months, especially in view of statement from the estranged wife.

She had submitted that she was in Canada and the grant of her permanent residence status by the immigration authorities depended on the condition that she is single/not married.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021