SC differs on compulsory video conferencing in matrimonial disputes
An attempt for reconciliation is the principal thrust of the law in family matters, the bench said, disagreeing with the earlier orderindia Updated: Sep 02, 2017 22:42 IST
A Supreme Court bench of justice Kurian Joseph and justice R Banumathi has differed from a coordinate bench’s view on making video conferencing mandatory in matrimonial disputes and asked the Chief Justice to set up a bench to reconsider the judgment.
According to the bench, the March 17 order by justice AK Goel and justice UU Lalit does not conform to the objectives of the law Parliament has passed to deal with family discords. They said the provisions in Family Courts Act, Code of Civil Procedure and Hindu Marriage Act stresses upon the need for reconciliation and video conferencing to record statements of parties could hamper the process.
“It seems, none of these mandatory procedures as laid down by Parliament have been brought to the notice of the Court while considering the case of Krishna Veni Nagam (judgement by justices Goel and Lalit),” the bench said.
Justice Goel and justice Lalit had on March 17 asked trial courts in India to use video-conferencing facility in divorce, custody and other matrimonial cases when the estranged couple lived in different cities after noting transfer petitions of such matters choked the apex court.
However, disagreement between husband and wife over the place of hearing is one of the biggest reasons for delays in matrimonial cases.
Typically, the woman’s choice is given a priority. But transfers can only be ordered by the SC, which is flooded with petitions that can take years to be resolved.
An attempt for reconciliation is the principal thrust of the law in family matters, the bench said, disagreeing with the earlier order. The court alluded to the role of a counsellor in a family court, emphasising the need for physical presence of the husband and wife.
Confidence and confidentiality may not be protected in video conferencing during counselling sessions, the court said.