oppn parties Hindu Divorce: Waiting Period Can be Waived

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Hindu Divorce: Waiting Period Can be Waived

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court has said that the mandatory waiting period of 6 months for divorce by mutual consent under the Hindu Marriage Act can be waived off under certain circumstances. The court has elaborated that the purpose of the waiting period was to try for reconciliation between the spouses. But if the respective parties have irreconcilable differences, as evinced by the facts of the case, then there is no point in prolonging the proceedings and wasting time. If circumstances demand, a divorce by mutual consent can be granted within a week.

The court specified that if the couple has been staying separately for more than a year and has already settled the issues of child guardianship and alimony, then the courts can grant them divorce by completing the formalities within a week. This is an extremely sane decision. If the couple has drifted apart, it is natural that both the families have tried to bring them back together. If that has not been possible for a period of one year, another six months mandatory waiting would be worthless.

Before this, the Supreme Court used to invoke powers granted to it under Article 142 of the constitution to dispense “complete justice” and granted divorce by mutual consent to a couple without waiting for the mandatory waiting period to be over. In the case Aditi Wadhera v Vivek Kumar Wadhera recently, the court took the view that invocation of Article 142 was justified and required to meet the ends of justice, and granted divorce to the couple after they submitted that they had resolved all pending and contentious issues amicably.

With the apex court having now said that the mandatory waiting period is no longer to be treated as sacrosanct if the above conditions are fulfilled, family courts can grant early divorce decrees, saving valuable court time without compromising on the quality of justice. This is good news for couples whose marriages have broken down irretrievably but who cannot move on due to the letter of the law that requires them to wait for a total of at least 18 months for divorce.