dissolution of marriage/Divorce/Annulment/Separation/divorce by mutual consent under Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

Divorce can be sought by husband or wife on certain grounds, including: continuous period of desertion for two or more years, conversion to a religion other than Hindu, mental abnormality, venereal disease, and leprosy.  Newly married couples cannot file a petition for divorce within one year of marriage.

This Act may be called the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir 1 , and applies also to Hindus domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who are outside the said territories.

 Application of Act. —

 This Act applies—

(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj,

(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion, and

(c) to any other person domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion, unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by the Hindu law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any of the matters dealt with herein if this Act had not been passed.

Explanation. —The following persons are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion, as the case may be:—

(a) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion;

(b) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion and who is brought up as a member of the tribe, community, group or family to which such parent belongs or belonged; and

(c) any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribe within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution unless the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, otherwise directs.

(3) The expression “Hindu” in any portion of this Act shall be construed as if it included a person who, though not a Hindu by religion, is, nevertheless, a person to whom this Act applies by virtue of the provisions contained in this section. State Amendment Pondicherry: In section 2, insert the following sub-section:— “(2A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the Renoncants of the Union territory of Pondicherry

Conditions for a Hindu marriage. —A marriage may be solemnized between any two Hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:—

(i) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;

2 [(ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party—

(a) is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or

(b) though capable of giving a valid consent, has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children; or

(c) has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity 3 [***];]

(iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of 4 [twenty-one years] and the bride, the age of 5 [eighteen years] at the time of the marriage;

(iv) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;

(v) the parties are not sapindas of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;

Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage. —

(1) A Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto.

(2) Where such rites and ceremonies include the saptpadi (that is, the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. State Amendments Section 7A Pondicherry: After section 7, insert the following section, namely:—

(a) by each party to the marriage declaring in any language understood by the parties that each takes the other to be his wife or, as the case may be, her husband; or

(b) by each party to the marriage garlanding the other or putting a ring upon any finger of the other; or

(c) by the tying of the thali.

Restitution of conjugal rights.

When either the husband or the wife has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply, by petition to the district court, for restitution of conjugal rights and the court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition and that there is no legal ground why the application should not be granted, may decree restitution of conjugal rights accordingly. 8 [ Explanation. —Where a question arises whether there has been reasonable excuse for withdrawal from the society, the burden of proving reasonable excuse shall be on the person who has withdrawn from the society.

Judicial separation .—

(1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition praying for a decree for judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of section 13, and in the case of a wife also on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (2) thereof, as grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented.]

(2) Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it shall no longer be obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent, but the court may, on the application by petition of either party and on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition, rescind the decree if it considers it just and reasonable to do so.

Void marriages.

—Any marriage solemnised after the commencement of this Act shall be null and void and may, on a petition presented by either party thereto 11 [against the other party], be so declared by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of the conditions specified in clauses

(i) , (iv) and (v) of section 5.

Voidable marriages .—

(1) Any marriage solemnised, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely:—

12 [(a) that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the impotence of the respondent; or]

(b) that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of section 5; or

(c) that the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent of the guardian in marriage of the petitioner 13 [was required under section 5 as it stood immediately before the commencement of the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978 (2 of 1978)*], the consent of such guardian was obtained by force 14 [or by fraud as to the nature of the ceremony or as to any material fact or circumstance concerning the respondent]; or

(d) that the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no petition for annulling a marriage—

(a) on the ground specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained if—

(i) the petition is presented more than one year after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered; or

(ii) the petitioner has, with his or her full consent, lived with the other party to the marriage as husband or wife after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered;

(b) on the ground specified in clause (d) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained unless the court is satisfied—

(i) that the petitioner was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the facts alleged;

(ii) that proceedings have been instituted in the case of a marriage solemnised before the commencement of this Act within one year of such commencement and in the case of marriages solemnised after such commencement within one year from the date of the marriage; and

(iii) that marital intercourse with the consent of the petitioner has not taken place since the discovery by the petitioner of the existence of 15 [the said ground].

Divorce. —

(1) Any marriage solemnised, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party—

(i) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or]

(ia) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or]

(ib) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or]

(ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or

(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.

Explanation .—In this clause,—

(a) the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind and includes schizophrenia;

(b) the expression “psychopathic disorder” means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including sub-normality of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the other party, and whether or not it requires or is susceptible to medical treatment; or]

(iv) has 18 [***] been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or

(v) has 18 [***] been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or

(vi) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or

(vi) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive; 19 [***] 20 [ Explanation. —In this sub-section, the expression “desertion” means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent or against the wish of such party, and includes the wilful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage, and its grammatical variations and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.] 21 [***]

(1A) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act, may also present a petition for the dissolution of the marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground—

(i) that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the marriage for a period of 22 [one year] or upwards after the passing of a decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties; or

(ii) that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to the marriage for a period of 22 [one year] or upwards after the passing of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.]

(2) A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground,—

(i) in the case of any marriage solemnised before the commencement of this Act, that the husband had married again before such commencement or that any other wife of the husband married before such commencement was alive at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage of the petitioner: Provided that in either case the other wife is alive at the time of the presentation of the petition; or

(ii) that the husband has, since the solemnisation of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or 23 [bestiality; or]

(iii) that in a suit under section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (78 of 1956), or in a proceeding under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) [or under the corresponding section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898)], a decree or order, as the case may be, has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife notwithstanding that she was living apart and that since the passing of such decree or order, cohabitation between the parties has not been resumed for one year or upwards; or

(iv) that her marriage (whether consummated or not) was solemnised before she attained the age of fifteen years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of eighteen years.]

 Divorce by mutual consent. —

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the district court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnised before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976 (68 of 1976)*, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.

(2) On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnised and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.]

 

 

 

 

Mutual Consent Divorce under sec.13-B of HMA can be withdraw any time.

. In the present case, no petition under Section 13-B of the Act has been filed. The petitioner wants for a decree in divorce suit under Section 13 of the Act, in view of compromise dated 10.10.2014, as this compromise would operate as estoppel against the respondents. Rule of estoppel is a rule of evidence. There can be no estoppel against statute. Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. Project Uchcha Vidya, Sikshak Sangh, (2006) 2 SCC 545, held that it is now well known, the rule of estoppel has no application where contention as regards a constitutional provision or a statute is raised.. Section 13-B itself gives liberty for second thought to the parties. The consent must continue during the interregnum period and after this period the parties should again confirm their consent before the Court. As held by Supreme Court in various cases cited above, the parties can withdraw their consent during this period. As such Rule of estoppel has no application in a petition under Section 13-B of the Act.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of  Hitesh Bhatnagar v. Deepa Bhatnagar, (2011) 5 SCC 234, held that the language employed in Section 13-B(2) of the Act is clear. The court is bound to pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage of the parties before it to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree, if the following conditions are met:
(a) A second motion of both the parties is made not before 6 months from the date of filing of the petition as required under sub-section (1) and not later than 18 months;
(b) After hearing the parties and making such inquiry as it thinks fit, the court is satisfied that the averments in the petition are true; and
(c) The petition is not withdrawn by either party at any time before passing the decree.
In other words, if the second motion is not made within the period of 18 months, then the court is not bound to pass a decree of divorce by mutual consent. Besides, from the language of the section, as well as the settled law, it is clear that one of the parties may withdraw their consent at any time before the passing of the decree. The most important requirement for a grant of a divorce by mutual consent is free consent of both the parties. In other words, unless there is a complete agreement between husband and wife for the dissolution of the marriage and unless the court is completely satisfied, it cannot grant a decree for divorce by mutual consent. Otherwise, in our view, the expression “divorce by mutual consent” would be otiose.


 

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD

AFR
Court No. – 58 Reserved

Case :- MATTERS UNDER ARTICLE 227 No. – 7414 of 2015
Petitioner :- Ashish Kumar Srivastava
Respondent :-Smt. Ankita Srivastava
Counsel for Petitioner :-Siddhartha Varma, Anup Kumar Srivastava, S.K. Varma
Counsel for Respondent:- Dhirendra Pratap Singh, H.M.B. Sinha

Hon’ble Ram Surat Ram (Maurya),J.
1. Heard Sri S.K. Varma, Senior Advocate, assisted by Sri Siddhartha Varma, for the petitioner and Sri H.M.B. Sinha along with Sri Dhirendra Pratap Singh, for the respondent.
2. This petition has been filed for setting aside the order of Principal Judge Family Court dated 08.10.2015, deferring disposal of application (28-C) filed by the petitioner and fixing a date for framing issues in Divorce Suit and to issue direction to Principal Judge Family Court, to decree Divorce Suit in view of compromise dated 10.10.2014, entered into between the parties.
3. Ashish Kumar Srivastava (the petitioner) married to Smt. Ankita Srivastava (the respondent) according to Hindu rites on 17.05.2011. The petitioner filed a suit on 26.05.2012 (registered as Divorce Suit No. 321 of 2012) under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for grant of decree of divorce. It is alleged that in retaliation to this suit, the respondent initiated following proceedings against the petitioner and his family members:-
(I) Criminal Case No. 721 of 2012, arising out of Case Crime No. 270 of 2012 under Section 498-A, 323, 504, 506 IPC and 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, PS Shahpur, district Gorakhpur.
(II) Case No. 564 of 2012 under Section 125 Cr.P.C.
(III) Case No. 39 of 2013 under Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
(IV) Case No. 116 of 2013 U/S. 406 IPC and 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.
(V) Case No. 1393 of 2013 under Section 323, 504, 506, 379 IPC.
(VI) Case Crime No. 116 of 2013 under Section 504, 506 IPC
(VII) Matrimonial Suit No. 712 of 2013 under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act.
4. The petitioner filed an application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. (registered as Criminal Misc. Application U/S 482 Cr.P.C. No. 425 of 2013) for quashing, entire proceeding of Criminal Case No. 721 of 2012, under Section 498-A, 323, 504, 506 IPC and 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, PS Shahpur, district Gorakhpur. This Court vide order dated 18.01.2013 referred the dispute to Mediation and Conciliation Center., Allahabad. The parties settled their dispute before Mediator, who submitted report dated 11.09.2013. Under the settlement the petitioner had to pay Rs. 18,00,000/- as one time permanent alimony to the respondent and permit her to take ornament from bank locker. After compliance of this condition, the respondents agreed to withdraw all the complaints and suit filed by her. Divorce Suit No. 321 of 2011 has to be decreed. When the case was listed before this Court on 09.09.2014, the petitioner took time for payment of aforesaid amount as such 09.10.2014 was fixed before this Court. On 09.10.2014, the petitioner gave two bank drafts of Rs. 18,00,000/- in favour of the respondents in Court. The case was adjourned for 10.10.2014 in order to enable the parties to file written compromise. On 10.10.2014, the parties filed joint affidavit in the shape of compromise, incorporating aforementioned terms. Both the parties appeared before the Court on 10.10.2004 and filed joint affidavit in shape of compromise. Two bank drafts of Rs. 18,00,000/- was handed over to the respondent by the Court. Criminal Misc. Application U/S 482 Cr.P.C. No. 425 of 2013 was allowed and Criminal Case No. 721 of 2012 was quashed by order dated 10.10.2014.
5. The petitioner filed an application (18-C) dated 22.10.2014, before Principal Judge Family Court, for decreeing Divorce Suit No. 321 of 2012 in view of the compromise dated 10.10.2014, the aforesaid. The respondent filed an application before this Court for recalling order dated 10.10.2014. When application (18-C) came for hearing before Principal Judge Family Court, the respondent raised an objection that as she had filed an application for recalling order dated 10.10.2014 as such disposal of application (18-C) be postponed. On which Principal Judge Family Court did hear the application (18-C) on 07.01.2015. This Court by order dated 24.07.2015 rejected the recall application filed by the respondent for recalling the order dated 10.10.2014.
6. Then the petitioner filed another application (28-C) dated 30.07.2015, before Principal Judge Family Court, for decreeing Divorce Suit No. 321 of 2012 in view of the compromise dated 10.10.2014, the aforesaid, stating therein that recall application filed by the respondent has been rejected. By the impugned order dated 08.10.2015, disposal of this application was deferred holding that divorce on compromise can only be granted according to provisions of Section 13-B and not in proceeding under Section 13 of the Act. The petitioner filed an appeal (registered as First Appeal No. 596 of 2015) under Section 19 of Family Court Act, 1984, against aforesaid order which was dismissed by order dated 18.11.2015 on the ground that the order dated 08.10.2015 was an interlocutory order and the appeal was not maintainable. Hence, this petition has been filed.
7. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that Section 28 of Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for mutual divorce. Legislature thought it proper to provide more easy procedure of divorce to Hindus also. By Act No. 68 of 1976, Section 13-B was added under of the Act which provided divorce by mutual consent. Thereafter, Family Court Act, 1984 was enacted. Section 9 of Act, 1984 castes a statutory duty upon Family Courts to persuade the parties to settle their dispute in respect of the subject-matter of the suit. By virtue of Section 10 of the Act, 1984, entire provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 have been applied to the proceeding before Family Court. Thus provisions of Order 23 Rule 3 C.P.C. is applicable in the proceeding before Family Court. A combined reading of provisions of Section 9 and 10 of the Act, 1984 makes it clear that Family Court at first instance will persuade the parties to settle their dispute in respect of the subject-matter of the suit and if such settlement is arrived then they can file a compromise before Family Court in the suit and suit can be decided in terms of compromise. The suit for divorce under Section 13 of the Act, 1955 is not an exception to the application to Section 9 and 10 of the Act, 1984. As such suit for divorce can also be decided in terms of compromise. Phrase “Subject to the provisions of this Act” used under Section 13-B means in accordance with the provisions of Section 23 of the Act. The compromise operates as estoppel against the parties to it as held by Supreme Court in Nagubai Ammal Vs. B. Shama Rao, AIR 1956 SC 593. The compromise dated 10.10.2014 was duly signed by the parties and verified by this Court in presence of the parties. It is a lawful compromise and has been acted upon in part. The respondent took Rs. 18,00,000/- and ornaments from locker as agreed under this compromise. She had taken benefit of compromise. It is an estoppel by deed as well as estoppel by record. She is now estopped from raising objection that suit for divorce cannot be decreed in terms of compromise, as held by Supreme Court in S. Shanmugam Pillai Vs. K. Shanmugam Pillai, AIR 1972 SC 2059. This Court in Jodhey Vs. State AIR 1952 SC 788 held that High Court has unlimited judicial power. This compromise can be treated as “family settlement”. It acknowledges right and liability of the parties and can be enforced under the law as held by Supreme Court in Sahu Madho Das Vs. Mukund Ram, AIR 1955 SC 481. This Court in Jokhan Vs. Ram Deo, AIR 1967 All 212 has held that the compromise cannot be ignored only for the reason that compromise was entered before the Court which has no jurisdiction. Supreme Court in B.C. Chaturvedi Vs. Union of India, (1995) 6 SCC 749, held that power conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution is also available to High Court for doing compete justice between the parties. Family Court placed reliance upon the judgment of Supreme Court in Sanjeeta Das Vs. Tapan Kumar Mohanti, (2010) 10 SCC 222. This judgment has not taken any notice of Section 9 and 10 of Family Court Act, 1984 as such it is per-incuriam and does not lay binding precedent as held by Supreme Court in State of U.P. Vs. Synthetins and Chemicals Ltd. (1991) 4 SCC 139. Otherwise also in this case, there was no clause for divorce in the compromise. This Court in Indrawal Vs. Radhey Ram, AIR 1981 All 151 and Supreme Court in Dr. (Mrs) Leena Roy Vs. Dr. Subrato Roy, AIR 1991 SC 92 and Raj Kumar Rana Vs. Rita Rathore, AIR 2015 SC 2668, decreed divorce petition under Section 13 of the Act, on compromise. Impugned order is illegal and liable to be set aside and Family Court is liable to be directed to decree the divorce suit in view of compromise dated 10.10.2014.
8. I have considered the arguments of counsel for the parties and examined the record. Old Hindu law did not allow divorce amongst Hindus of upper communities. In communities of lower strata of Hindus, custom relating to divorce was prevalent. After independence, Special Marriage Act, 1954 was enacted, which is applied to persons whose marriage was performed and registered under that Act for divorce. Section 27 provides for divorce and Section 28 provides for mutual divorce under this Act. Thereafter, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was enacted and provisions relating to divorce was provided under Section 13 for all the Hindus and its sub-sect. Thereafter, legislature thought to provide more easy procedure of divorce to Hindus. By Act No. 68 of 1976, Section 13-B was added under of the Act which provided divorce by mutual consent. Supreme Court in Gurbux Singh v. Harminder Kaur, (2010) 14 SCC 301, held that once the marriage has been solemnized among Hindus then it cannot be dissolved, except on the grounds enumerated in Section 13, of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or according to Section 13-B. Section 13-B of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is quoted below:-
13-B. Divorce by mutual consent.–(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the district court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
(2) On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.]

9. Aim and object of enactment of Family Court Act, 1984 was to provide for the establishment of Family Courts with a view to promote conciliation in, and secure speedy settlement of, disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and for matters connected therewith. Under Section 7 of this Act, jurisdiction of Family Court was conferred to exercise all the jurisdiction exercisable by any district court or any subordinate civil court under any law for the time being in force in respect of suits and proceedings of the nature referred to in the Explanation to Section 7 of the Act. Thus Family Court has to exercise same jurisdiction, which is exercisable by the Court under the law. Thus it is clear that if a petition is filed under the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, then Family Court will exercise jurisdiction that Act only. So far as application of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 is concerned, procedure provided under it has to be followed for exercising jurisdiction Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. In case of contradiction, provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 would have overriding effect. The counsel for the petitioner relied upon Section 9 and 10, of Family Court Act, 1984 which are quoted below:-
9. Duty of Family Court to make efforts for settlement.– (1) In every suit or proceeding, endeavour shall be made by the Family Court in the first instance, where it is possible to do so consistent with the nature and circumstances of the case, to assist and persuade the parties in arriving at a settlement in respect of the subject-matter of the suit of proceeding and for this purpose a Family Court may, subject to any rules made by the High Court, follow such procedure as it may deem fit.
(2) If, in any suit or proceeding, at any stage, it appears to the Family Court that there is a reasonable possibility of a settlement between the parties, the Family Court may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it thinks fit to enable attempts to be made to effect such a settlement.
(3) The power conferred by sub-section (2) shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other power of the Family Court to adjourn the proceedings.
10. Procedure generally.–(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act and the rules, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) and of any other law for the time being in force shall apply to the suits and proceedings (other than the proceedings under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973) (2 of 1974), before a Family Court and for the purposes of the said provisions of the Code, Family Court shall be deemed to be a civil court and shall have all the powers of such court.
(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act and the rules, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or the rules made there under, shall apply to the proceedings under Chapter IX of that Code before a Family Court.
(3) Nothing in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall prevent a Family Court from laying down its own procedure with a view to arrive at a settlement in respect of the subject-matter of the suit or proceedings or at the truth of the facts alleged by the one Party and denied by the other.
20. Act to have overriding effect.–The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.

10. A bare reading of the aforesaid provisions shows that although Act, 1984 has an overriding effect but Section 7 of the Act provides for Family Court to exercise jurisdiction conferred under the Act, in which petitions enumerated in Explanation to Section 7 have been filed. For trial of suit for divorce under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Family Court has to follow the procedure of C.P.C. but decree of divorce can be granted only on the grounds enumerated under Section 13 of the Act. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides two modes for divorce namely (i) on the grounds mentioned under Section 13 of the Act or (ii) on mutual consent for which a petition has to be presented by both the parties to the marriage and after interregnum period of six they again attorn their consent before the Court. It is well settled principle that when the statute provides a particular procedure for doing an act then the act has to be done according to that procedure and not at all. In this respect judgment of Supreme Court in K.S. Saini Vs. H.C. Delhi, (2012) 4 SCC 307 may be referred.
11. Issue as the whether consent given at the initial stage for divorce can be withdrawn at the later stage came for consideration before Supreme Court in Sureshta Devi v. Om Prakash, (1991) 2 SCC 25, in which it has been held that from the analysis of the section, it will be apparent that the filing of the petition with mutual consent does not authorise the court to make a decree for divorce. There is a period of waiting from 6 to 18 months. This interregnum was obviously intended to give time and opportunity to the parties to reflect on their move and seek advice from relations and friends. In this transitional period one of the parties may have a second thought and change the mind not to proceed with the petition. The spouse may not be a party to the joint motion under sub-section (2). There is nothing in the section which prevents such course. The section does not provide that if there is a change of mind it should not be by one party alone, but by both. The High Courts of Bombay and Delhi have proceeded on the ground that the crucial time for giving mutual consent for divorce is the time of filing the petition and not the time when they subsequently move for divorce decree. This approach appears to be untenable. At the time of the petition by mutual consent, the parties are not unaware that their petition does not by itself snap marital ties. They know that they have to take a further step to snap marital ties. Sub-section (2) of Section 13-B is clear on this point. It provides that “on the motion of both the parties. … if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the court shall … pass a decree of divorce …”. What is significant in this provision is that there should also be mutual consent when they move the court with a request to pass a decree of divorce. Secondly, the court shall be satisfied about the bona fides and the consent of the parties. If there is no mutual consent at the time of the enquiry, the court gets no jurisdiction to make a decree for divorce. If the view is otherwise, the court could make an enquiry and pass a divorce decree even at the instance of one of the parties and against the consent of the other. Such a decree cannot be regarded as decree by mutual consent.
Sub-section (2) requires the court to hear the parties which means both the parties. If one of the parties at that stage says that “I have withdrawn my consent”, or “I am not a willing party to the divorce”, the court cannot pass a decree of divorce by mutual consent. If the court is held to have the power to make a decree solely based on the initial petition, it negates the whole idea of mutuality and consent for divorce. Mutual consent to the divorce is a sine qua non for passing a decree for divorce under Section 13-B. Mutual consent should continue till the divorce decree is passed. It is a positive requirement for the court to pass a decree of divorce. “The consent must continue to decree nisi and must be valid subsisting consent when the case is heard”.

12. Again a Bench of three Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court in Smruti Pahariya v. Sanjay Pahariya, (2009) 13 SCC 338, held that we are of the view that it is only on the continued mutual consent of the parties that a decree for divorce under Section 13-B of the said Act can be passed by the court. If petition for divorce is not formally withdrawn and is kept pending then on the date when the court grants the decree, the court has a statutory obligation to hear the parties to ascertain their consent. From the absence of one of the parties for two to three days, the court cannot presume his/her consent as has been done by the learned Family Court Judge in the instant case and especially in its fact situation, discussed above.
In our view it is only the mutual consent of the parties which gives the court the jurisdiction to pass a decree for divorce under Section 13-B. So in cases under Section 13-B, mutual consent of the parties is a jurisdictional fact. The court while passing its decree under Section 13-B would be slow and circumspect before it can infer the existence of such jurisdictional fact. The court has to be satisfied about the existence of mutual consent between the parties on some tangible materials which demonstrably disclose such consent. Same view has been taken in Sanjeeta Das v. Tapan Kumar Mohanty, (2010) 10 SCC 222, in which it has been held that more importantly, the consent of the parties is of no relevance in the matter. No court can assume jurisdiction to dissolve a Hindu marriage simply on the basis of the consent of the parties dehors the grounds enumerated under Section 13 of the Act, unless of course the consenting parties proceed under Section 13-B of the Act.
13. Supreme Court in Hitesh Bhatnagar v. Deepa Bhatnagar, (2011) 5 SCC 234, held that the language employed in Section 13-B(2) of the Act is clear. The court is bound to pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage of the parties before it to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree, if the following conditions are met:
(a) A second motion of both the parties is made not before 6 months from the date of filing of the petition as required under sub-section (1) and not later than 18 months;
(b) After hearing the parties and making such inquiry as it thinks fit, the court is satisfied that the averments in the petition are true; and
(c) The petition is not withdrawn by either party at any time before passing the decree.
In other words, if the second motion is not made within the period of 18 months, then the court is not bound to pass a decree of divorce by mutual consent. Besides, from the language of the section, as well as the settled law, it is clear that one of the parties may withdraw their consent at any time before the passing of the decree. The most important requirement for a grant of a divorce by mutual consent is free consent of both the parties. In other words, unless there is a complete agreement between husband and wife for the dissolution of the marriage and unless the court is completely satisfied, it cannot grant a decree for divorce by mutual consent. Otherwise, in our view, the expression “divorce by mutual consent” would be otiose.
14 In Hitesh Bhatnagar v. Deepa Bhatnagar, (2011) 5 SCC 234, it has also been held that the power under Article 142 of the Constitution is plenipotentiary. However, it is an extraordinary jurisdiction vested by the Constitution with implicit trust and faith and, therefore, extraordinary care and caution has to be observed while exercising this jurisdiction. Even if the chances are infinitesimal for the marriage to survive, it is not for this Court to use its power under Article 142 to dissolve the marriage as having broken down irretrievably.
15. In the present case, no petition under Section 13-B of the Act has been filed. The petitioner wants for a decree in divorce suit under Section 13 of the Act, in view of compromise dated 10.10.2014, as this compromise would operate as estoppel against the respondents. Rule of estoppel is a rule of evidence. There can be no estoppel against statute. Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. Project Uchcha Vidya, Sikshak Sangh, (2006) 2 SCC 545, held that it is now well known, the rule of estoppel has no application where contention as regards a constitutional provision or a statute is raised.. Section 13-B itself gives liberty for second thought to the parties. The consent must continue during the interregnum period and after this period the parties should again confirm their consent before the Court. As held by Supreme Court in various cases cited above, the parties can withdraw their consent during this period. As such Rule of estoppel has no application in a petition under Section 13-B of the Act.
16. In view of aforesaid discussions, this petition has no merit and is dismissed.
Order Date :- 8.4.2016
Jaideep/-

What is a marriage annulment?

There are two ways to legally end a marriageannulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. Annulling a marriage is as though it is completely erased – legally, it declares that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid.

What Is Annulment Of Marriage

In strict Legal terminology, annulment refers only to making a voidable marriage null;if the marriage is void ab initio, then it is automatically null, although a legal declaration of nullity is required to establish this.

Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. With the exception of bigamy and not meeting the minimum age requirement for marriage, it is rarely granted. A marriage can be declared null and void if certain legal requirements were not met at the time of the marriage. If these legal requirements were not met then the marriage is considered to have never existed in the eyes of the law. This process is called annulment. It is very different from divorce in that while a divorce dissolves a marriage that has existed, a marriage that is annulled never existed at all. Thus unlike divorce, it is retroactive: an annulled marriage is considered never to have existed.

Section 12 of Hindu marriage Act,1955

Voidable Marriages :-

(1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely:-

a.that the respondent was impotent at the time of the marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings; or

b.that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of section 5; or

c.that the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent of the guardian in marriage of the petitioner is required under section 5, the consent of such guardian was obtained by force or fraud; or

d.that the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner.

 

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no petition for annulling a marriage-

a.on the ground specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained if-

(i) the petition is presented more than one year after for force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered; or

(ii) the petitioner has, with his or her full consent, lived with the other party to the marriage as husband or wife after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered;

b.on the ground specified in clause (d) of sub-section

(1) shall be entertained unless the court is satisfied- (i) that the petitioner was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the facts alleged;

(ii) that proceedings have been instituted in the case of a marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act within one year of such commencement and in the case of marriages solemnized after such commencement within one year from the date of the marriage; and

(iii) that marital intercourse with the consent of the petitioner has not taken place since the discovery by the petitioner of the existence of the grounds for a decree.

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce within one year of marriage under hindu marriage act.

 

The points for consideration are:
(i) Whether there is any illegality or perversity in the orders passed by the lower Court in allowing the I.A.No.26 of 2012 filed by the wife on the ground that there were exceptional circumstances involved in filing H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 for divorce within one year from the date ofmarriage?
(ii) Whether there is any impropriety or illegality in the order of dismissal passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 filed by the husband?
23. I would like to extract hereunder SectiThe points for consideration are:
(i) Whether there is any illegality or perversity in the orders passed by the lower Court in allowing the I.A.No.26 of 2012 filed by the wife on the ground that there were exceptional circumstances involved in filing H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 for divorce within one year from the date ofmarriage?
(ii) Whether there is any impropriety or illegality in the order of dismissal passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 filed by the husband?
23. I would like to extract hereunder Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:
“14. No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the Court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but, if it appears to the Court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the Court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.
(2) In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorcebefore the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the Court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.”
24. The learned Single Judge of this Court in the precedent cited supra very correctly and appreciably referred to the fact that the legislators never thought that if there is any filing of application for divorce within one year from the date of marriage, automatically that should be dismissed; even in a case where any leave was obtained by the party concerned on misrepresentation, yet the Court has got jurisdiction to pass a decree of divorce, stipulating that it shall come into effect after one year from the date of marriage. As such, that particular point loomed large in the mind of the learned Single Judge of this Court in deciding the lis by holding that the time stipulated therein was only directory and not mandatory.
39. But, in this case, I do not think that the wife deliberately suppressing anything, filed such application without seeking leave. As such, I cannot simply hold that she was guilty of laches and magna neglegentia, and consequently, her conduct should be deprecated in filing the petition fordivorce within one year from the date of marriage. Whenever anything has occurred unwittingly, the Court has to take a lenient view. On the other hand, if the Court could see that with due deliberation or malice any such petitions are found filed within one year period, then in such cases alone, strict view has to be taken. So far this case is concerned, the very factum that the wife had chosen to file the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012 virtually seeking ex post facto leave, would demonstrate and display her bona fides also. Hence, I am of the view that in these exceptional circumstances, no interference is required.
———————————————————————————————————
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 20/11/2012

CORAM
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE G.RAJASURIA

C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012
and
C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012
and
M.P.(MD)No.1 of 2012
in
C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012

C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012:

G.Ganesh Babu … Petitioner/Petitioner/
Respondent
Vs.
A.P.Arthi … Respondent/Respondent/ Petitioner Prayer Petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, to set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 on the file of the Sub Court, Aruppukottai.
!For Petitioner … Mr.K.K.Ramakrishnan ^For Respondent … Mr.J.Barathan * * * * * C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012:
G.Ganesh Babu … Petitioner/Petitioner/ Respondent Vs.
A.P.Arthi … Respondent/Respondent/ Petitioner Prayer Petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, to set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.26 of 2012 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 on the file of the Sub Court, Aruppukottai.
For Petitioner … Mr.K.K.Ramakrishnan For Respondent … Mr.J.Barathan * * * * * :COMMON ORDER C.R.P(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012 has been filed to get set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 by the learned Subordinate Judge, Aruppukottai.
2. C.R.P(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012 has been filed to get set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.26 of 2012 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 by the learned Subordinate Judge, Aruppukottai.
3. Heard both sides.
4. The petitioner herein namely G.Ganesh Babu and the respondent herein namely A.P.Arthi, are referred to hereunder as husband and wife respectively.
5. Compendiously and concisely, the relevant facts absolutely necessary and germane for the disposal of these Civil Revision Petitions, would run thus:
(i) The wife filed the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011, during the month of June’ 2011, so to say, within a period of one year from the date of marriage, invoking Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking the following reliefs:
“(a) granting a decree of divorce, dissolving the marriage solemnized between the Petitioner and Respondent on 18.11.2010;
(b) directing the Respondent to pay the costs of this Petition;” however, without filing an application to obtain the leave citing the exceptional circumstances.
(ii) The husband after entering appearance, filed the application in I.A.No.184 of 2011 for rejection of the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 on the main ground that it was presented within one year from the date of marriage and that too, without any application to obtain leave citing exceptional circumstances. The counter affidavit was filed by the husband.
(iii) Whereupon I.A.No.26 of 2012 was filed by the wife seeking virtually ex post facto leave underSection 14(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
(iv) The lower Court heard both the applications and passed a common order allowing the application filed by the wife and dismissing the application filed by the husband.
6. Being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the same, the husband preferred these two Civil Revision Petitions challenging and impugning the orders passed by the lower Court.
7. The nutshell facts absolutely necessary for the disposal of these two Civil Revision Petitions would run thus:
The petitioner and the respondent got married as per Hindu rites and customs on 18.11.2010 at Aruppukottai. Subsequently, the wife during June’ 2011, so to say, within one year, filed the petition seeking divorce.
8. The learned Counsel for the husband would put forth and set forth his arguments, the warp and woof of the same, would run thus: Obtaining the leave of the Court is sine quo non for filing the H.M.O.P., for divorce within one year and it is mandatory and it cannot be simply ignored as directory. The object of Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, was not taken into consideration by the lower Court. If this sort of practice is allowed, then the sanctity attached to the marriages, would be set at naught. Over and above that, the reasons found stated for obtaining the said ex post facto leave is frivolous and there is nothing exceptional in it. The dowry demand is the pith and marrow of the alleged exceptional circumstances found set out in the affidavit accompanying the petition filed by the wife. Accordingly, the learned Counsel for the husband citing various precedents, would pray for allowing the I.A.No.184 of 2011 and for dismissal of H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011.
9. Whereas in a bid to mince meat and torpedo and pulverise the arguments as put forth on the side of the husband, the learned Counsel for the wife, would pyramid his arguments, the pith and marrow of them would run thus: The entire reading of Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, would connote and denote, project and portray that the obtention of such leave was not mandatory. So far this case is concerned, it is not that wilfully the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 was filed within one year without obtaining leave and unwittingly alone, the petition for divorce was filed without filing the application under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, narrating the exceptional circumstances. As such, the lower Court taking into consideration the pro et contra, thought that it would be a mere waste of time to reject the H.M.O.P., and thereby paving the way for the wife to file a fresh petition for divorce on the same grounds.
10. The learned Counsel for the wife also cited various decisions in support of his arguments.
11. The points for consideration are:
(i) Whether there is any illegality or perversity in the orders passed by the lower Court in allowing the I.A.No.26 of 2012 filed by the wife on the ground that there were exceptional circumstances involved in filing H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 for divorce within one year from the date of marriage?
(ii) Whether there is any impropriety or illegality in the order of dismissal passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 filed by the husband?
Point Nos.(i) and (ii)
12. At the outset itself, I would like to fumigate my mind with the decisions cited by both sides.
13. The learned Counsel for the husband placed reliance on the following decisions:
(i) Swamidoss Joseph v. Miss Edward reported in A.I.R. 1955 MADRAS 341.
(ii) Vinod v. Manju reported in AIR 1982 DELHI 592.
(iii) Smruti Pahariya v. Sanjay Pahariya reported in (2009) 5 MLJ 1203 (SC).
(iv) Sharma H.Kasinath v. Shoba reported in AIR 2010 KARNATAKA 168.
14. The learned Counsel for the wife relied on the following precedents:
(i) Rabindra Nath Mukherjee v. ITI Mukherjee alias Chatterjee reported in CDJ 1991 Cal HC 017.
(ii) Indumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435.
(iii) Manisha Jha (Smt). v. Kunal Kanti Jha reported in CDJ 1998 Cal HC
019.
(iv) Kailash v. Nanhku and others reported in (2005) 4 Supreme Court Cases
480.
(v) R.N.Jadi and Brothers v. Subhashchandra reported in (2007) 6 Supreme Court Cases 420.
(vi) Smt. Priyanka Maity (Ghosh) v. Shri Sabyasachi Maity reported in CDJ 2012 Cal HC 140.
(vii) Gijoosh Gopi, Alappuzha v. S.Sruthi, Alappuzha reported in CDJ 2012 Ker HC 832.
15. A mere running of the eye over the aforesaid precedents would highlight and spotlight the fact that the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Rabindra Nath Mukherjee v. ITI Mukherjeealias Chatterjee reported in CDJ 1991 Cal HC 017, held that seeking leave of the Court within one year to file the petition for divorce from the date of marriage, was only directory and not mandatory and the said decision was followed by the learned Single Judge of this Court inIndumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435. The aforesaid decision of this Court is also followed by the learned Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in Smt. Priyanka Maity (Ghosh) v. Shri Sabyasachi Maity reported in CDJ 2012 Cal HC 140. However, the Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court took a different view of the matter in Sharma H.Kasinath v. Shoba reported in AIR 2010 KARNATAKA 168.
16. As such, the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court following the decision of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court, is very much available before me. Normally, the decisions rendered by the learned Single Judge of this Court should be followed by another learned Single Judge of this Court and the judicial discipline warrants such a procedure.
17. However, the learned Counsel for the husband would place reliance on the decision of the Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, which is against the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court as well as the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court Simply because, a subsequent Division Bench of Karnataka High Court is in variance with the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court and the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court, I am not bound to simply follow the said judgment of the Karnataka High Court. The learned Single Judge of this Court placed reliance on the decision of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court. As such, two Division Benches of two different High Courts have two different views and the learned Single Judge of this Court followed the view of one of such decisions of the Division Benches and wherefore, I am justified in following the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court and consequently, the decision of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court.
18. Over and above that, I would also like to independently furnish my own views in this matter.
19. My mind is redolent and reminiscent of the following legal maxims:
(i) “Verba generalia generaliter sunt intelligenda”. [General words are to be understood generally.]
(ii) “Verba ita sunt intelligenda, ut res magis valeat quam pereat.” [Words are to be so understood that the matter may have effect rather than fail.]
(iii) “Maledicta expositio quae corrumpit textum”. [It is a cursed construction that corrupts the text.]
(iv) “Absoluta sententia non indiget expositore”. [A simple proposition needs no expositor.]
20. I would also like to extract hereunder the relevant excerpt from the famous treatise “Maxwell on The Interpretation of Statutes [Twelfth Edition by P. St. J. Langan]”:
Chapter 5 – Restrictive Construction:
“Before adopting any proposed construction of a passage susceptible of more than one meaning, it is important to consider the effects or consequences which would result from it, for they often point out the real meaning of the words. There are certain objects which the legislature is presumed not to intend, and a construction which would lead to any of them is therefore to be avoided. It is not infrequently necessary, therefore, to limit the effect of the words contained in an enactment (especially general words), and sometimes to depart, not only from their primary and literal meaning, but also from the rules of grammatical construction in cases where it seems highly improbable that the words in their wide primary or grammatical meaning actually express the real intention of the legislature. It is regarded as more reasonable to hold that the legislature expressed its intention in a slovenly manner, than that a meaning should be given to them which could not have been intended.”
One other excerpt from the same treatise would run thus: “Section 12 (3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1950 provided that if the spouse obtaining a decree nisi of divorce did not make an application for it to be made absolute six months after the trial, then the other spouse could make application within a further period of three months and, if the circumstances warranted, obtain a decree absolute. The Court of Appeal held that this did not oust the jurisdiction of the court to substitute a decree of judicial separation for a decree nisi: “had it been the intention of the legislature to revoke this jurisdiction, it would have been done in a clearer way than by inference from the subsection.”
21. On a mere running of the eye over those legal maxims and the principles found enshrined in the aforesaid famous treatise, I am of the view that generally, the time limit prescribed in the procedural laws are directory and not mandatory and further that they are only by way of taking a cue that the time limit prescribed under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, will not cut at the jurisdiction of the Court. However, the learned Counsel for the husband placing reliance on the decision of the Honourable Apex Court in Smruti Pahariya v. Sanjay Pahariya reported in (2009) 5 MLJ 1203 (SC), would submit that so far Marriage Laws are concerned, time stipulated cannot be taken as directory, but it should be taken as mandatory.
22. I would like to point out that in the aforesaid decision of the Honourable Apex Court relating to Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, what was found stressed is that the consent of both sides should be essential at both stages, viz., at the time of jointly presenting the petition and at the time of obtention of divorce after the prescribed period of six months. There could be no quarrel over such a proposition. However, Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, is on a different footing.
23. I would like to extract hereunder Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:
“14. No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the Court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but, if it appears to the Court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the Court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.
(2) In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorce before the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the Court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.”
24. The learned Single Judge of this Court in the precedent cited supra very correctly and appreciably referred to the fact that the legislators never thought that if there is any filing of application for divorce within one year from the date of marriage, automatically that should be dismissed; even in a case where any leave was obtained by the party concerned on misrepresentation, yet the Court has got jurisdiction to pass a decree of divorce, stipulating that it shall come into effect after one year from the date of marriage. As such, that particular point loomed large in the mind of the learned Single Judge of this Court in deciding the lis by holding that the time stipulated therein was only directory and not mandatory.
25. At this juncture, I would like to recollect the following decisions:
(i) Kailash v. Nanhku reported in 2005 (3) CTC 355.
(ii) Rani Kusum v. Kanchan Devi reported in (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases
705.
(iii) Salem Advocate Bar Association v. Union of India reported in (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases 344.
(iv) R.N.Jadi & Brothers v. Subhashchandra reported in (2007) 6 Supreme Court Cases 420.
(v) Zolba v. Keshao and others reported in (2008) 11 Supreme Court Cases
769.
26. The pith and marrow, the gist and kernel of the aforesaid precedents is that whenever any condition is stipulated in law in negative language, then that itself is not sufficient to hold that the law contemplated the said provision as mandatory, but the consequences of such non-adhering to the time limit also should be found spelt out in the statutory provision. Under Order VIII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, even though in negative language, the provisions are found spelt out, the consequences were not found spelt out. Hence, the Honourable Apex Court consistently held that such time stipulated cannot be taken as mandatory, so much so also, here under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the legislators in their wisdom thought not to impose any consequences of such non-adherence to the time limit.
27. On the other hand, as correctly held by the learned Single Judge of this Court earlier, in the decision cited supra, even a person who got leave by misrepresentation was given the benefit of divorce, but that would take effect after one year from the date of marriage. Hence, I am of the considered view that the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court in Indumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435 with great respect is the binding precedent on the point concerned.
28. The learned Counsel for the husband also referred to the Halsbury’s Laws of England – Fourth Edition – by Lord Mackay of Clashfern – Volume 29(3) – 2001.
29. I am of the view that when the earlier decision of this Court is clear and unambiguous on the point, I need not dilate further on that issue.
30. On factual basis, the learned Counsel for the husband would try to canvass his case by pointing out that so far the exceptional circumstances mandated in the affidavit of the wife, are not really exceptional circumstances, but they are only relating to alleged dowry harassment and cruelty. Whereas the learned Counsel for the wife would submit that the allegations found spelt out in the affidavit accompanying the application filed by the wife seeking ex post facto leave were of such a nature that they were so horrible for the wife who is a Doctor by profession.
31. The wife in her affidavit accompanying the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012, set out thus:
“4. I submit that even before the solemnization of marriage, the respondent and his family members demanded 120 sovereign of golden jewels, Rs.8,00,000/- cash and stridhan articles worth about Rs.2,00,000/- from my parents. My parents were put under severe strain and mental agony as they had to arrange the above dowry before the solemnization of marriage. Only after receiving the cash amount of Rs.8,00,000/- on hand one day prior to the marriage, the respondent has agreed to perform the marriage.
5. I submit that after marriage, the conjugal home was set up at Arupukkotai in the house of respondent. At the time of living at Arupukkottai, the respondent has demanded a further dowry of Rs.60,00,000/- from me by saying that his father has borrowed huge amounts from outer sources as a loan to get higher education for him and hence, he has to settle those amounts by getting dowry amount from me. The respondent added that he had married me for money alone. The respondent’s father, and his father’s brother namely, Gunasekaran, the respondent’s brother and sister have often harassed and tortured me to get money to the tune of Rupees Sixty lakhs and a Honda city car from me.
6. The Respondent and his family members often threatened me that they will not allow me to live peacefully, unless I brought the above said dowry amount from my parents I lived at Hosur under unsafe condition under threat to life from the respondent. I submit that the respondent used to demand dowry continuously without any basis, and hence, because of the above said attitudes of the respondent, I could not lead a peaceful family life.
7. I submit that I am living separately till date. Even though my parents conducted peace talks with the respondent and his family, all the efforts made by them had gone on vain and the respondent firmly states that unless his additional dowry demand of Rupees Sixty Lakhs and Honda city car and a house at Arupukkottai is fulfilled, there is no possibility of unite with the petitioner.
8. It is submitted that finally on 10.3.2011, a peace talk was arranged by the respondent with caste leaders, relatives and elders. In that peace talks, the respondent and his family members told that unless, their additional dowry demands are fulfilled, there is no other way except to dissolve the marriage by way of divorce. Hence, we filed a divorce petition by mutual consent before this Hon’ble Court without any prior condition. More over, a divorce agreement was executed between me and the respondent on 10.3.2011 itself, before the competent witnesses and the respondent has put his left hand thumb impression in the said agreement engrossed in Rs.50/- Stamp paper. On the same date itself, the respondent has got the signatures of me and my parents in several blank papers and unfilled stamp papers. Even though the respondent has agreed to return the stridhan articles and cash amount in the Court. The respondent has got back his “Thali” tied to me and all the formalities were done before the above said competent witnesses on 10.3.2011.
9. I submit that myself and respondent has filed a divorce petition under mutual consent before this Hon’ble Court in H.M.O.P.No.50 of 2011. To my shock and surprise, the respondent told me that unless the house property at Arupukkottai is purchased and given in his name for the tune of Rs.40,00,000/-, he will not accept for mutual divorce. As the respondent’s illegal demand could not be fulfilled by me, I filed the present H.M.O.P.No.82/2011.”
(extracted as such.)
32. As such, based on the above narration of facts, she contended that because of exceptional circumstances found set out therein, she was constrained to file the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011, within a period of one year from the date of marriage. No doubt, those allegations are only allegations and they were not proved. But, in my considered opinion, those are all serious allegations of exceptional nature and the lower Court also treated as exceptional circumstances, warranting no interference by this Court.
33. It is a singularly singular case wherein the husband and the wife both happened to be Doctors in medical profession and from the view point of the wife, the conduct of the husband in treating her constituted the exceptional circumstances and utmost hardship and discomfiture. The lower Court being the first Court of facts, after considering the allegations and counter allegations, thought fit to virtually grant ex post facto leave and this Court being the revisional Court is having no reason to interfere with the same.
34. As suggested by the learned Counsel for the husband, if the H.M.O.P., has to be dismissed, it would not be for anything, but for the wife to file a fresh H.M.O.P., on the same grounds. As such, the same process already underwent would enure. The multiplicity of proceedings should be avoided and obliterated. No doubt, the sanctity of the marriage should be preserved. Soon after the marriage, without taking steps for reconciliation, etc, and having sufficient time for reflection, they should not be allowed to approach the Court for divorce and in the meantime, one other aspect, this Court has to see. Unwittingly, if a person filed a petition for divorce without seeking leave and much water has already flown under the bridge in dealing with the said petition, it would not be proper to dismiss that petition on the technical ground after lapse of two years as in this case and it would amount to throwing the baby along with the bathe water.
35. While holding so, I am of the view that exceptions should be exceptional and it should not become the rule. So far this case is concerned, I would like to find fault with the lower Court for numbering the H.M.O.P., without insisting for an application seeking leave under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
36. My mind is redolent of the following legal maxims:
(i) “Actus curiae neminem gravabit”. [An act of the court will prejudice no one.]
(ii) “Quod fieri non debet, factum valet.” [What ought not to be done, when done, is valid.]
37. The lower Court should have returned the petition for divorce when it was presented well within one year from the date of marriage, but it has not been done so and it is only the fault of the Court. Because of the fault of the Court, the party concerned at a later date should not suffer.
38. In this connection, I could also fruitfully refer to the following legal maxims:
(i) “Nul prendra advantage de son tort demesne”. [No one shall take advantage of his own wrong.]
(ii) “Nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria”. [No one can obtain an advantage by his own wrong.]
39. But, in this case, I do not think that the wife deliberately suppressing anything, filed such application without seeking leave. As such, I cannot simply hold that she was guilty of laches and magna neglegentia, and consequently, her conduct should be deprecated in filing the petition for divorce within one year from the date of marriage. Whenever anything has occurred unwittingly, the Court has to take a lenient view. On the other hand, if the Court could see that with due deliberation or malice any such petitions are found filed within one year period, then in such cases alone, strict view has to be taken. So far this case is concerned, the very factum that the wife had chosen to file the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012 virtually seeking ex post facto leave, would demonstrate and display her bona fides also. Hence, I am of the view that in these exceptional circumstances, no interference is required.
40. I take it as an opportunity to mandate all the Courts below concerned that hereafter whenever any petition for divorce is filed within a period of one year from the date of marriage, the Courts should invariably return that petition without numbering it and unless leave is obtained, such petition for divorce should not be entertained. Point Nos.(i) and (ii) are answered accordingly.
41. In the result, both the Civil Revision Petitions are dismissed. Consequently, the connected Miscellaneous Petition is dismissed. No costs.
42. On hearing the order pronounced, the learned Counsel for the husband would seek oral leave of this Court so as to enable his client to prefer appeal to the Honourable Apex Court. I am of the considered view that since the order is passed based on the earlier decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court which is based on the decision of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court, no leave is required.
rsb To
1.The Sub Court, Aruppukottai.on 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:

“14. No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the Court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but, if it appears to the Court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the Court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.
(2) In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorcebefore the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the Court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.”
24. The learned Single Judge of this Court in the precedent cited supra very correctly and appreciably referred to the fact that the legislators never thought that if there is any filing of application for divorce within one year from the date of marriage, automatically that should be dismissed; even in a case where any leave was obtained by the party concerned on misrepresentation, yet the Court has got jurisdiction to pass a decree of divorce, stipulating that it shall come into effect after one year from the date of marriage. As such, that particular point loomed large in the mind of the learned Single Judge of this Court in deciding the lis by holding that the time stipulated therein was only directory and not mandatory.
39. But, in this case, I do not think that the wife deliberately suppressing anything, filed such application without seeking leave. As such, I cannot simply hold that she was guilty of laches and magna neglegentia, and consequently, her conduct should be deprecated in filing the petition fordivorce within one year from the date of marriage. Whenever anything has occurred unwittingly, the Court has to take a lenient view. On the other hand, if the Court could see that with due deliberation or malice any such petitions are found filed within one year period, then in such cases alone, strict view has to be taken. So far this case is concerned, the very factum that the wife had chosen to file the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012 virtually seeking ex post facto leave, would demonstrate and display her bona fides also. Hence, I am of the view that in these exceptional circumstances, no interference is required.
———————————————————————————————————
 BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 20/11/2012

CORAM
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE G.RAJASURIA

C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012
and
C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012
and
M.P.(MD)No.1 of 2012
in
C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012

C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012:

G.Ganesh Babu   ... Petitioner/Petitioner/
       Respondent
Vs.
A.P.Arthi … Respondent/Respondent/ Petitioner Prayer Petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, to set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 on the file of the Sub Court, Aruppukottai.
!For Petitioner … Mr.K.K.Ramakrishnan ^For Respondent … Mr.J.Barathan * * * * * C.R.P.(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012:
G.Ganesh Babu … Petitioner/Petitioner/ Respondent Vs.
A.P.Arthi … Respondent/Respondent/ Petitioner Prayer Petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, to set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.26 of 2012 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 on the file of the Sub Court, Aruppukottai.
For Petitioner … Mr.K.K.Ramakrishnan For Respondent … Mr.J.Barathan * * * * * :COMMON ORDER C.R.P(PD)(MD)No.2265 of 2012 has been filed to get set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 by the learned Subordinate Judge, Aruppukottai.
2. C.R.P(PD)(MD)No.2266 of 2012 has been filed to get set aside the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.26 of 2012 in H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 dated 17.07.2012 by the learned Subordinate Judge, Aruppukottai.
3. Heard both sides.
4. The petitioner herein namely G.Ganesh Babu and the respondent herein namely A.P.Arthi, are referred to hereunder as husband and wife respectively.
5. Compendiously and concisely, the relevant facts absolutely necessary and germane for the disposal of these Civil Revision Petitions, would run thus:
(i) The wife filed the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011, during the month of June’ 2011, so to say, within a period of one year from the date of marriage, invoking Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking the following reliefs:
“(a) granting a decree of divorce, dissolving the marriage solemnized between the Petitioner and Respondent on 18.11.2010;
(b) directing the Respondent to pay the costs of this Petition;” however, without filing an application to obtain the leave citing the exceptional circumstances.
(ii) The husband after entering appearance, filed the application in I.A.No.184 of 2011 for rejection of the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 on the main ground that it was presented within one year from the date of marriage and that too, without any application to obtain leave citing exceptional circumstances. The counter affidavit was filed by the husband.
(iii) Whereupon I.A.No.26 of 2012 was filed by the wife seeking virtually ex post facto leave underSection 14(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
(iv) The lower Court heard both the applications and passed a common order allowing the application filed by the wife and dismissing the application filed by the husband.
6. Being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the same, the husband preferred these two Civil Revision Petitions challenging and impugning the orders passed by the lower Court.
7. The nutshell facts absolutely necessary for the disposal of these two Civil Revision Petitions would run thus:
The petitioner and the respondent got married as per Hindu rites and customs on 18.11.2010 at Aruppukottai. Subsequently, the wife during June’ 2011, so to say, within one year, filed the petition seeking divorce.
8. The learned Counsel for the husband would put forth and set forth his arguments, the warp and woof of the same, would run thus: Obtaining the leave of the Court is sine quo non for filing the H.M.O.P., for divorce within one year and it is mandatory and it cannot be simply ignored as directory. The object of Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, was not taken into consideration by the lower Court. If this sort of practice is allowed, then the sanctity attached to the marriages, would be set at naught. Over and above that, the reasons found stated for obtaining the said ex post facto leave is frivolous and there is nothing exceptional in it. The dowry demand is the pith and marrow of the alleged exceptional circumstances found set out in the affidavit accompanying the petition filed by the wife. Accordingly, the learned Counsel for the husband citing various precedents, would pray for allowing the I.A.No.184 of 2011 and for dismissal of H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011.
9. Whereas in a bid to mince meat and torpedo and pulverise the arguments as put forth on the side of the husband, the learned Counsel for the wife, would pyramid his arguments, the pith and marrow of them would run thus: The entire reading of Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, would connote and denote, project and portray that the obtention of such leave was not mandatory. So far this case is concerned, it is not that wilfully the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 was filed within one year without obtaining leave and unwittingly alone, the petition for divorce was filed without filing the application under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, narrating the exceptional circumstances. As such, the lower Court taking into consideration the pro et contra, thought that it would be a mere waste of time to reject the H.M.O.P., and thereby paving the way for the wife to file a fresh petition for divorce on the same grounds.
10. The learned Counsel for the wife also cited various decisions in support of his arguments.
11. The points for consideration are:
(i) Whether there is any illegality or perversity in the orders passed by the lower Court in allowing the I.A.No.26 of 2012 filed by the wife on the ground that there were exceptional circumstances involved in filing H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011 for divorce within one year from the date of marriage?
(ii) Whether there is any impropriety or illegality in the order of dismissal passed in I.A.No.184 of 2011 filed by the husband?
Point Nos.(i) and (ii)
12. At the outset itself, I would like to fumigate my mind with the decisions cited by both sides.
13. The learned Counsel for the husband placed reliance on the following decisions:
(i) Swamidoss Joseph v. Miss Edward reported in A.I.R. 1955 MADRAS 341.
(ii) Vinod v. Manju reported in AIR 1982 DELHI 592.
(iii) Smruti Pahariya v. Sanjay Pahariya reported in (2009) 5 MLJ 1203 (SC).
(iv) Sharma H.Kasinath v. Shoba reported in AIR 2010 KARNATAKA 168.
14. The learned Counsel for the wife relied on the following precedents:
(i) Rabindra Nath Mukherjee v. ITI Mukherjee alias Chatterjee reported in CDJ 1991 Cal HC 017.
(ii) Indumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435.
(iii) Manisha Jha (Smt). v. Kunal Kanti Jha reported in CDJ 1998 Cal HC
019.
(iv) Kailash v. Nanhku and others reported in (2005) 4 Supreme Court Cases
480.
(v) R.N.Jadi and Brothers v. Subhashchandra reported in (2007) 6 Supreme Court Cases 420.
(vi) Smt. Priyanka Maity (Ghosh) v. Shri Sabyasachi Maity reported in CDJ 2012 Cal HC 140.
(vii) Gijoosh Gopi, Alappuzha v. S.Sruthi, Alappuzha reported in CDJ 2012 Ker HC 832.
15. A mere running of the eye over the aforesaid precedents would highlight and spotlight the fact that the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Rabindra Nath Mukherjee v. ITI Mukherjeealias Chatterjee reported in CDJ 1991 Cal HC 017, held that seeking leave of the Court within one year to file the petition for divorce from the date of marriage, was only directory and not mandatory and the said decision was followed by the learned Single Judge of this Court inIndumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435. The aforesaid decision of this Court is also followed by the learned Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in Smt. Priyanka Maity (Ghosh) v. Shri Sabyasachi Maity reported in CDJ 2012 Cal HC 140. However, the Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court took a different view of the matter in Sharma H.Kasinath v. Shoba reported in AIR 2010 KARNATAKA 168.
16. As such, the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court following the decision of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court, is very much available before me. Normally, the decisions rendered by the learned Single Judge of this Court should be followed by another learned Single Judge of this Court and the judicial discipline warrants such a procedure.
17. However, the learned Counsel for the husband would place reliance on the decision of the Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, which is against the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court as well as the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court Simply because, a subsequent Division Bench of Karnataka High Court is in variance with the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court and the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court, I am not bound to simply follow the said judgment of the Karnataka High Court. The learned Single Judge of this Court placed reliance on the decision of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court. As such, two Division Benches of two different High Courts have two different views and the learned Single Judge of this Court followed the view of one of such decisions of the Division Benches and wherefore, I am justified in following the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court and consequently, the decision of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court.
18. Over and above that, I would also like to independently furnish my own views in this matter.
19. My mind is redolent and reminiscent of the following legal maxims:
(i) “Verba generalia generaliter sunt intelligenda”. [General words are to be understood generally.]
(ii) “Verba ita sunt intelligenda, ut res magis valeat quam pereat.” [Words are to be so understood that the matter may have effect rather than fail.]
(iii) “Maledicta expositio quae corrumpit textum”. [It is a cursed construction that corrupts the text.]
(iv) “Absoluta sententia non indiget expositore”. [A simple proposition needs no expositor.]
20. I would also like to extract hereunder the relevant excerpt from the famous treatise “Maxwell on The Interpretation of Statutes [Twelfth Edition by P. St. J. Langan]”:
Chapter 5 – Restrictive Construction:
“Before adopting any proposed construction of a passage susceptible of more than one meaning, it is important to consider the effects or consequences which would result from it, for they often point out the real meaning of the words. There are certain objects which the legislature is presumed not to intend, and a construction which would lead to any of them is therefore to be avoided. It is not infrequently necessary, therefore, to limit the effect of the words contained in an enactment (especially general words), and sometimes to depart, not only from their primary and literal meaning, but also from the rules of grammatical construction in cases where it seems highly improbable that the words in their wide primary or grammatical meaning actually express the real intention of the legislature. It is regarded as more reasonable to hold that the legislature expressed its intention in a slovenly manner, than that a meaning should be given to them which could not have been intended.”
One other excerpt from the same treatise would run thus: “Section 12 (3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1950 provided that if the spouse obtaining a decree nisi of divorce did not make an application for it to be made absolute six months after the trial, then the other spouse could make application within a further period of three months and, if the circumstances warranted, obtain a decree absolute. The Court of Appeal held that this did not oust the jurisdiction of the court to substitute a decree of judicial separation for a decree nisi: “had it been the intention of the legislature to revoke this jurisdiction, it would have been done in a clearer way than by inference from the subsection.”
21. On a mere running of the eye over those legal maxims and the principles found enshrined in the aforesaid famous treatise, I am of the view that generally, the time limit prescribed in the procedural laws are directory and not mandatory and further that they are only by way of taking a cue that the time limit prescribed under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, will not cut at the jurisdiction of the Court. However, the learned Counsel for the husband placing reliance on the decision of the Honourable Apex Court in Smruti Pahariya v. Sanjay Pahariya reported in (2009) 5 MLJ 1203 (SC), would submit that so far Marriage Laws are concerned, time stipulated cannot be taken as directory, but it should be taken as mandatory.
22. I would like to point out that in the aforesaid decision of the Honourable Apex Court relating to Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, what was found stressed is that the consent of both sides should be essential at both stages, viz., at the time of jointly presenting the petition and at the time of obtention of divorce after the prescribed period of six months. There could be no quarrel over such a proposition. However, Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, is on a different footing.
23. I would like to extract hereunder Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:
“14. No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the Court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but, if it appears to the Court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the Court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.
(2) In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorce before the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the Court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.”
24. The learned Single Judge of this Court in the precedent cited supra very correctly and appreciably referred to the fact that the legislators never thought that if there is any filing of application for divorce within one year from the date of marriage, automatically that should be dismissed; even in a case where any leave was obtained by the party concerned on misrepresentation, yet the Court has got jurisdiction to pass a decree of divorce, stipulating that it shall come into effect after one year from the date of marriage. As such, that particular point loomed large in the mind of the learned Single Judge of this Court in deciding the lis by holding that the time stipulated therein was only directory and not mandatory.
25. At this juncture, I would like to recollect the following decisions:
(i) Kailash v. Nanhku reported in 2005 (3) CTC 355.
(ii) Rani Kusum v. Kanchan Devi reported in (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases
705.
(iii) Salem Advocate Bar Association v. Union of India reported in (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases 344.
(iv) R.N.Jadi & Brothers v. Subhashchandra reported in (2007) 6 Supreme Court Cases 420.
(v) Zolba v. Keshao and others reported in (2008) 11 Supreme Court Cases
769.
26. The pith and marrow, the gist and kernel of the aforesaid precedents is that whenever any condition is stipulated in law in negative language, then that itself is not sufficient to hold that the law contemplated the said provision as mandatory, but the consequences of such non-adhering to the time limit also should be found spelt out in the statutory provision. Under Order VIII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, even though in negative language, the provisions are found spelt out, the consequences were not found spelt out. Hence, the Honourable Apex Court consistently held that such time stipulated cannot be taken as mandatory, so much so also, here under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the legislators in their wisdom thought not to impose any consequences of such non-adherence to the time limit.
27. On the other hand, as correctly held by the learned Single Judge of this Court earlier, in the decision cited supra, even a person who got leave by misrepresentation was given the benefit of divorce, but that would take effect after one year from the date of marriage. Hence, I am of the considered view that the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court in Indumathi v. Krishnamurthy reported in 1998 (III) MLJ 435 with great respect is the binding precedent on the point concerned.
28. The learned Counsel for the husband also referred to the Halsbury’s Laws of England – Fourth Edition – by Lord Mackay of Clashfern – Volume 29(3) – 2001.
29. I am of the view that when the earlier decision of this Court is clear and unambiguous on the point, I need not dilate further on that issue.
30. On factual basis, the learned Counsel for the husband would try to canvass his case by pointing out that so far the exceptional circumstances mandated in the affidavit of the wife, are not really exceptional circumstances, but they are only relating to alleged dowry harassment and cruelty. Whereas the learned Counsel for the wife would submit that the allegations found spelt out in the affidavit accompanying the application filed by the wife seeking ex post facto leave were of such a nature that they were so horrible for the wife who is a Doctor by profession.
31. The wife in her affidavit accompanying the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012, set out thus:
“4. I submit that even before the solemnization of marriage, the respondent and his family members demanded 120 sovereign of golden jewels, Rs.8,00,000/- cash and stridhan articles worth about Rs.2,00,000/- from my parents. My parents were put under severe strain and mental agony as they had to arrange the above dowry before the solemnization of marriage. Only after receiving the cash amount of Rs.8,00,000/- on hand one day prior to the marriage, the respondent has agreed to perform the marriage.
5. I submit that after marriage, the conjugal home was set up at Arupukkotai in the house of respondent. At the time of living at Arupukkottai, the respondent has demanded a further dowry of Rs.60,00,000/- from me by saying that his father has borrowed huge amounts from outer sources as a loan to get higher education for him and hence, he has to settle those amounts by getting dowry amount from me. The respondent added that he had married me for money alone. The respondent’s father, and his father’s brother namely, Gunasekaran, the respondent’s brother and sister have often harassed and tortured me to get money to the tune of Rupees Sixty lakhs and a Honda city car from me.
6. The Respondent and his family members often threatened me that they will not allow me to live peacefully, unless I brought the above said dowry amount from my parents I lived at Hosur under unsafe condition under threat to life from the respondent. I submit that the respondent used to demand dowry continuously without any basis, and hence, because of the above said attitudes of the respondent, I could not lead a peaceful family life.
7. I submit that I am living separately till date. Even though my parents conducted peace talks with the respondent and his family, all the efforts made by them had gone on vain and the respondent firmly states that unless his additional dowry demand of Rupees Sixty Lakhs and Honda city car and a house at Arupukkottai is fulfilled, there is no possibility of unite with the petitioner.
8. It is submitted that finally on 10.3.2011, a peace talk was arranged by the respondent with caste leaders, relatives and elders. In that peace talks, the respondent and his family members told that unless, their additional dowry demands are fulfilled, there is no other way except to dissolve the marriage by way of divorce. Hence, we filed a divorce petition by mutual consent before this Hon’ble Court without any prior condition. More over, a divorce agreement was executed between me and the respondent on 10.3.2011 itself, before the competent witnesses and the respondent has put his left hand thumb impression in the said agreement engrossed in Rs.50/- Stamp paper. On the same date itself, the respondent has got the signatures of me and my parents in several blank papers and unfilled stamp papers. Even though the respondent has agreed to return the stridhan articles and cash amount in the Court. The respondent has got back his “Thali” tied to me and all the formalities were done before the above said competent witnesses on 10.3.2011.
9. I submit that myself and respondent has filed a divorce petition under mutual consent before this Hon’ble Court in H.M.O.P.No.50 of 2011. To my shock and surprise, the respondent told me that unless the house property at Arupukkottai is purchased and given in his name for the tune of Rs.40,00,000/-, he will not accept for mutual divorce. As the respondent’s illegal demand could not be fulfilled by me, I filed the present H.M.O.P.No.82/2011.”
(extracted as such.)
32. As such, based on the above narration of facts, she contended that because of exceptional circumstances found set out therein, she was constrained to file the H.M.O.P.No.82 of 2011, within a period of one year from the date of marriage. No doubt, those allegations are only allegations and they were not proved. But, in my considered opinion, those are all serious allegations of exceptional nature and the lower Court also treated as exceptional circumstances, warranting no interference by this Court.
33. It is a singularly singular case wherein the husband and the wife both happened to be Doctors in medical profession and from the view point of the wife, the conduct of the husband in treating her constituted the exceptional circumstances and utmost hardship and discomfiture. The lower Court being the first Court of facts, after considering the allegations and counter allegations, thought fit to virtually grant ex post facto leave and this Court being the revisional Court is having no reason to interfere with the same.
34. As suggested by the learned Counsel for the husband, if the H.M.O.P., has to be dismissed, it would not be for anything, but for the wife to file a fresh H.M.O.P., on the same grounds. As such, the same process already underwent would enure. The multiplicity of proceedings should be avoided and obliterated. No doubt, the sanctity of the marriage should be preserved. Soon after the marriage, without taking steps for reconciliation, etc, and having sufficient time for reflection, they should not be allowed to approach the Court for divorce and in the meantime, one other aspect, this Court has to see. Unwittingly, if a person filed a petition for divorce without seeking leave and much water has already flown under the bridge in dealing with the said petition, it would not be proper to dismiss that petition on the technical ground after lapse of two years as in this case and it would amount to throwing the baby along with the bathe water.
35. While holding so, I am of the view that exceptions should be exceptional and it should not become the rule. So far this case is concerned, I would like to find fault with the lower Court for numbering the H.M.O.P., without insisting for an application seeking leave under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
36. My mind is redolent of the following legal maxims:
(i) “Actus curiae neminem gravabit”. [An act of the court will prejudice no one.]
(ii) “Quod fieri non debet, factum valet.” [What ought not to be done, when done, is valid.]
37. The lower Court should have returned the petition for divorce when it was presented well within one year from the date of marriage, but it has not been done so and it is only the fault of the Court. Because of the fault of the Court, the party concerned at a later date should not suffer.
38. In this connection, I could also fruitfully refer to the following legal maxims:
(i) “Nul prendra advantage de son tort demesne”. [No one shall take advantage of his own wrong.]
(ii) “Nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria”. [No one can obtain an advantage by his own wrong.]
39. But, in this case, I do not think that the wife deliberately suppressing anything, filed such application without seeking leave. As such, I cannot simply hold that she was guilty of laches and magna neglegentia, and consequently, her conduct should be deprecated in filing the petition for divorce within one year from the date of marriage. Whenever anything has occurred unwittingly, the Court has to take a lenient view. On the other hand, if the Court could see that with due deliberation or malice any such petitions are found filed within one year period, then in such cases alone, strict view has to be taken. So far this case is concerned, the very factum that the wife had chosen to file the application in I.A.No.26 of 2012 virtually seeking ex post facto leave, would demonstrate and display her bona fides also. Hence, I am of the view that in these exceptional circumstances, no interference is required.
40. I take it as an opportunity to mandate all the Courts below concerned that hereafter whenever any petition for divorce is filed within a period of one year from the date of marriage, the Courts should invariably return that petition without numbering it and unless leave is obtained, such petition for divorce should not be entertained. Point Nos.(i) and (ii) are answered accordingly.
41. In the result, both the Civil Revision Petitions are dismissed. Consequently, the connected Miscellaneous Petition is dismissed. No costs.
42. On hearing the order pronounced, the learned Counsel for the husband would seek oral leave of this Court so as to enable his client to prefer appeal to the Honourable Apex Court. I am of the considered view that since the order is passed based on the earlier decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court which is based on the decision of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court, no leave is required.
rsb To
1.The Sub Court, Aruppukottai.

 

 

Divorce on Mutual consent in Delhi

mutual divorce

Divorce by Mutual Consent

Seeking a divorce in India is a long-drawn out legal affair, where the period of prosecution takes a minimum of six months. However, the time and money required to obtain a divorce can be considerably shortened if the couple seeks divorce by mutual consent. In this case, estranged spouses can mutually agree to a settlement and file for a “no-fault divorce” under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. All marriages which have been solemnized before or after the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act 1976, are entitled to make use of the provision of divorce by mutual consent. However, for filing for a divorce on this ground, it is necessary for the husband and wife to have lived separately for at least a year.

Sec.13-B of Hindu Marriage Act 1955- Divorce by mutual consent.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the District Court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.

(2) On the motion of both the parties made earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the mean time, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.

Procedure for Filing for Divorce

The procedure for seeking a divorce by mutual consent, is initiated by filing a petition, supported by affidavits from both partners, in the district court. Known as the First Motion Petition for Mutual Consent Divorce, this should contain a joint statement by both partners, that due to their irreconcilable differences, they can no longer stay together and should be granted a divorce by the court. After six months, the Second Motion Petition for Mutual Consent Divorce should be filed by the couple and they are required reappear in the court. A gap of six months is given between the two motions, so as to offer the estranged couple adequate time to reconsider their decision of dissolving their marriage. After hearings from the husband and wife, if the judge is satisfied that all the necessary grounds and requirements for the divorce have been met, the couple is granted a mutual divorce decree. Some of the important issues on which the couple should have agreed, in their petition for divorce by mutual consent, are custody of child, alimony to wife, return of dowry items or “streedhan” and litigation expenses.

 

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