Authored by - Adv. Sofia Bhambri
Designation - Managing Partner, S. Bhambri & Associates
Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur: A Welcomed Step To Provide a Expeditious Way out with respect to Mutual Consent Divorce Proceedings.
Hon’ble Supreme Court, in its 2017 judgment had given a much awaited relief to parties in mutual consent divorce, from complying with the mandatory cooling off period of six months after the first motion is admitted in Court.
Earlier, the statutory period of six months was to be complied, the reason behind the same, was to provide a second chance to the estranged spouses to reconcile their differences if they wish to. For waiving off this period, the remedy was to file a petition under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution urging the Hon’ble Apex Court to exercise its plenary powers and waive off the six month period, where there are exceptional circumstances surrounding the parties, one of the circumstance, which was considered by the Hon’ble Apex Court was the long duration of period of separation i.e the factum that the parties have been living separately since the considerable period of time.
The guiding law laid down in Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur has provided the concerned Learned Principal Judge, Family Court with a discretionary power to waive off the statutory period of six months, in case if most of the conditions given are satisfied. The Court must be satisfied that the parties were living separately for more than the statutory period and all efforts at mediation and reconciliation have been tried and have failed and there is no chance of reconciliation and a further waiting period will only prolong the agony faced by the spouses who have no wish, whatsoever, to remain together.
Few more questions are to be considered by the Court such as for how long the parties have been married to each other, for how long the litigation was pending if any, have the parties attended mediation or conciliation and what was the outcome of the same, are there any proceedings pending between the parties arising out of matrimonial dispute.
Now, the discretionary power has been vested in the Family Courts, hence paving a way for spouses to go on their separate paths even much sooner than the minimum statutory period already laid down.