SUPREME COURT OF INDIA – SIX MONTH COOLING PERIOD IN A DIVORCE BY MUTUAL CONSENT CAN BE WAIVED BY THE FAMILY COURT
In the matter of Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur the question which arose for consideration before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in this appeal was whether the minimum period of six months stipulated under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for filing of second motion for passing of Decree of divorce on the basis of mutual consent was mandatory or can be relaxed in any exceptional situations. Hence the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that the 6-month cooling period for granting divorce by mutual consent under the Hindu law can be waived by the trial court if there is no possibility of settlement between the parties.
The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 provides for a statutory cooling period of six months between the first and the second motion for seeking divorce by mutual consent to explore the possibility of settlement.
The apex court held that the minimum period of six months can be relaxed by the trial/family court in certain situations and the parties who are seeking divorce by mutual consent, can file the waiver application after a week of filing the first motion, for considering divorce applications in cases where the parties have been living separately for more than 18 months before filing the petition.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India also said that in conducting such proceedings, the trial/family court can also use the medium of video conferencing and permit genuine representation of the parties through close relations, such as parents or siblings, where the parties are unable to appear in person for any just and valid reason as may satisfy the court, to advance the interest of justice.