A division bench of Supreme Court held that the 6 months of cooling period prescribed in Mutual-Consent divorce proceedings under Hindu Marriage Act are directional in nature and not mandatory.
Amardeep Singh Vs Harveen Kaur on 12 Sep 2017
18. Applying the above to the present situation, we are of the view that where the Court dealing with a matter is satisfied that a case is made out to waive the statutory period under Section 13B(2), it can do so after considering the following :
i) the statutory period of six months specified in Section 13B(2), in addition to the statutory period of one year under Section 13B(1) of separation of parties is already over before the first motion itself;
ii) all efforts for mediation/conciliation including efforts in terms of Order XXXIIA Rule 3 CPC/Section 23(2) of the Act/Section 9 of the Family Courts Act to reunite the parties have failed and there is no likelihood of success in that direction by any further efforts;
iii) the parties have genuinely settled their differences including alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between the parties;
iv) the waiting period will only prolong their agony.
19. The waiver application can be filed one week after the first motion giving reasons for the prayer for waiver.
20. If the above conditions are satisfied, the waiver of the waiting period for the second motion will be in the discretion of the concerned Court.
21. Since we are of the view that the period mentioned in Section 13B(2) is not mandatory but directory, it will be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility of parties resuming cohabitation and there are chances of alternative rehabilitation.
22. Needless to say that in conducting such proceedings the Court can also use the medium of video conferencing and also permit genuine representation of the parties through close relations such as parents or siblings where the parties are unable to appear in person for any just and valid reason as may satisfy the Court, to advance the interest of justice.
Citations : [2017 SCC 8 746], [2017 SCC ONLINE SC 1073], [2017 AIR SC 4417], [2017 ALT 5 23], [2017 BOMCR 6 773], [2017 CGLJ 4 157], [2017 CTC 5 665], [2017 DLT 242 264], [2017 DMCSC 3 277], [2017 ILR KER 4 1], [2017 ILR 4081], [2017 JLJR 4 21], [2017 JCC 3 2196], [2017 KHC 4 683], [2017 KLJ 4 179], [2017 KLT 4 367], [2017 MPLJ 4 41], [2017 MHLJ 5 804], [2017 PLJR 4 37], [2017 RLW SC 4 2910], [2017 RCR CIVIL 4 608], [2017 SCALE 11 258], [2017 WLN SC 3 145], [2017 SCC CRI 3 505], [2017 SCC CIV 4 804]
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