The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently relaxed the six-month cooling-off period provided under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act for filing an application for a decree of divorce on the basis of mutual consent, citing a Supreme Court decision (Pankaj Rajput v. Kirti Rajput).
“After taking note of the supreme court judgment in Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur, Justice SA Dharmadhikari’s order stated that “Given that the parties had been in a long-running feud and have ultimately peacefully resolved the situation and agreed to live separately,” says the statement., and there are no prospects of a settlement between them, the six-month cooling period required under Section 13-B of the HMA is waived.”
In light of Amardeep Singh, the single-judge was examining an appeal from a Gwalior Family Court judgement that denied the parties’ request for a cooling-off period extension.
The petitioner claimed that once the parties’ marriage failed, they jointly decided to get a divorce decree and, as a result, sought divorce by mutual consent. It was also indicated that, because they had elected to live separately, the petition’s status for more than six months would have an impact on both of their futures. It was also made clear that the parties would not be able to reach an agreement.
The Court examined the Supreme Court’s decision in Amardeep Singh before deciding on the challenge. It was decided in that case,
“Applying the preceding to the current petition, we believe that a court will waive the statutory limitation if it is convinced that a case is made out under Section 13 B (2), it may do so after taking into account the following:
i. The six-month statutory term indicated in Section 13 B(2), in addition to the one-year statutory period of separation of parties specified in Section 13B(1), has already expired before the first motion;
ii. All attempts at mediation/conciliation to reunite the parties, including those made under Order XXXIIA Rule 3 CPC/Section 23(2) of the Act/Section 9 of the Family Courts Act, have failed, and no additional attempts are expected to succeed.
iii. The parties have legitimately resolved their disagreements, including alimony, child custody, and any other outstanding matters.
iv. The waiting period will simply make their suffering worse.”
Justice Dharmadhikari waived the six-month cooling period after considering the verdict and the parties’ positions. The Family Court was also ordered by the High Court to hear and decide the application as soon as possible.