SC Allows Married Couple To Part As Friends; Waives Cooling-Off Period [Read Order]
“We had a long interaction with them. We are convinced that they have taken a conscious decision to part as friends.”
The Supreme Court waived the cooling-off period to grant divorce to a couple who agreed to part as friends.
The bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: “Both, the husband and the wife are present before us, who are well educated. We had a long interaction with them. We are convinced that they have taken a conscious decision to part as friends.”
It waived the period between first motion and the second motion observing that there is no point in requiring the parties to wait for another six months. “Having regard to the background of the litigations between the parties, we are convinced that there is no point in requiring the parties to wait for another six months. Accordingly, the period between first motion and the second motion is waived.”
This order is made in a transfer petition preferred by the wife who sought transfer of case from New Delhi court to Gujarat. They arrived at a settlement while the petition was pending before the apex court. The court quashed all the cases against the husband, as agreed in the settlement.
Cooling-off period not mandatory
In a judgment delivered a year ago, a two-judge bench of Supreme Court comprising Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit held that the 6-month waiting period prescribed under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act for divorce by mutual consent is not mandatory, and can be waived off under certain circumstances. Prior to this judgment, the apex court used to invoke Article 142 in such cases.
It was held that where the court dealing with a matter was satisfied that a case was made out to waive the statutory period under Section 13B(2), it can do so after considering the following:
- 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;
- 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;
- The parties have genuinely settled their differences, including alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between the parties; and
- The waiting period will only prolong their agony.