Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, which provides for divorce by mutual consent, bears with it the cooling period of 6 months in order to have a scope for reconciliation and to prevent couples from making any hasty decisions of parting ways. In a revision filed under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code, the Single Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected the plea of the parties to waiving the cooling off period on the grounds of personal inconvenience. The parties, who had filed the petition for mutual divorce, sought for waiver of the 6 months cooling off period. The parties prayed for waiver on the ground that one is a practicing doctor and the other is a teacher in a private school and as such cannot attend the Court frequently in the proceedings. Upon rejection, the present revision came to be heard.
It was argued that the cooling off period is not mandatory but is merely directory in nature whilst referring to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Amardeep Singh Vs. Harveen Kaur (2017) 8 SCC 746 which stated as follows:
“20. Since we are of the view that the period mentioned in Section 13-B(2) is not mandatory but directory, it will be open to the court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility of parties resuming cohabitation and there are chances of alternative rehabilitation.”
The Bench of Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia observed that the grounds of inconvenience as stated by the parties are not sufficient to waive the cooling off period stipulated in the procedure. It rejected the revision on the following grounds:
“In the considered opinion of this Court, the ground raised in the application under Section 151 of CPC for waiver of the mandatory period of 6 months as provided under Section 13-B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act is not tenable. Once the parties have approached the Court seeking relief under any particular provision of law, then they have to abide by the procedure provided under the statute and if they want that the Trial Court must exercise its jurisdiction by waiving the period of 6 months as provided under Section 13-B(2) of Hindu Marriage Act, then they should have pointed out that there is no possibility of cohabitation or there is a possibility of alternative rehabilitation, but the personal inconvenience of the parties cannot be a ground for the Trial Court to waive the period of 6 months as provided under Section 13-B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act.”
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