22 May 2023 6:37 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that the family courts are expected to not adopt a “hyper-technical approach” and close the right of cross examination of a party in a hurried manner while dealing with matrimonial cases.Justice Rekha Palli made the observation while setting aside an order passed by the family court rejecting a wife’s application for restoration of her right to...
The Delhi High Court has observed that the family courts are expected to not adopt a “hyper-technical approach” and close the right of cross examination of a party in a hurried manner while dealing with matrimonial cases.
Justice Rekha Palli made the observation while setting aside an order passed by the family court rejecting a wife’s application for restoration of her right to cross examine the husband, who had appeared as a prosecution witness.
“In matters like the present when the Court is dealing with petitions pertaining to Family Law, where the parties are already at loggerheads with each other, even though the matters are required to be decided expeditiously, the Court is expected to not adopt such a hyper-technical approach and close the right of the parties to cross-examine in such a hurried manner,” the court said.
It was the wife’s case that her right to cross examine the husband was closed without appreciating the fact that she was granted only one opportunity to cross-examine him, on which date her counsel had sought time as a copy of the husband’s affidavit was not provided.
Allowing the plea, Justice Palli said: “I am of the considered view that even if the plea of the petitioner’s counsel about his not having received the evidence by way of affidavit through e-mail or of being busy in a matter before this Court were to be discarded, the learned Family Court ought to have appreciated that grave and irreparable prejudice would be caused to the petitioner by closing her right to cross examine PW-1, who was admittedly the most crucial witness in the case.”
The court quashed the impugned order subject to payment of cost of Rs. 25,000 to an unemployed widow who lost her husband during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Both sides agree that this amount be paid to any deserving widow who lost her husband during the pandemic of Covid-19. The impugned order is, accordingly, set aside subject to payment of costs of Rs.25,000/-,” the court said.
Granting an opportunity to the wife to cross examine the husband, the court clarified that the Family Court will not grant any adjournment to her. It added that in case the wife or her counsel fails to cross-examine the husband on July 24, the next date of hearing, no further time will be granted.
“However, in case, the learned Family Court finds that the cross examination of PW-1 cannot for any justifiable reasons, be concluded on the same date, it will be open for the learned Family Court to grant mianother date for completion thereof. The petition stands disposed of in the aforesaid terms,” the court said.
Title: SMT. CHETNA RATHEE v. CHAHIT KUNDU
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 426
Click Here To Read Order