House panel rejects govt’s divorce proposal
A parliamentary panel on Tuesday rejected the government’s proposal to do away with the six-month mandatory waiting period before moving a joint motion for grant of divorce by mutual consent.
The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, however, supported the government proposal to introduce irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a new and independent ground for divorce.
The law ministry is likely to accept the panel’s recommendations and will move an amended version of the bill in Parliament.
The panel headed by Congress MP Jayanthi Natarajan concluded that the existing provision in the law on the six month cooling off period for both the spouses after they file a petition for grant of divorce by mutual consent appeared to be functioning well.
“The committee is of the view that the existing provisions of law for divorce by mutual consent are fair and reasonable and the prevailing cooling off period be retained so as to protect and preserve the institution of marriage,” said the panel in its latest report.
Currently, both parties have to move a motion jointly before the court between six and 18 months of the original plea for seeking divorce by mutual consent, it has been observed in several cases that one of them does not turn up.
Law minister M Veerappa Moily had in August last year introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to update these laws.
Though the panel has broadly supported the introduction of breakdown of marriage as a fresh ground of divorce, it has asked for certain safeguards.
It has asked the ministry to define the term “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” in the amended bill so that some standards are followed in dealing with the divorce pleas.