4 Jun 2010

Waiting period for divorce by mutual consent: Uncertainty continues

We had recently written about a decision of the Supreme Court wherein it declared that the power vested in it in terms of Article 142 of the Constitution (to do complete justice) would not be exercised contrary to statutory provisions and therefore when the law provided a gestation period of six months before grant of a decree of divorce by mutual consent, the Supreme Court would not exercise its extraordinary powers under Article 142 to dissolve the marriage even prior to this period. The law, however, it seems is yet to attain finality.

A close friend pointed out this news-item in the Hindu yesterday which covers an order passed by the Supreme Court states that the Supreme Court has now referred the matter for decision by a larger bench on this issue. It seems that the Bench was shown contrary decisions of the Supreme Court itself in which the Court had exercised its powers under Article 142 in certain cases to reduce the time period of six months while declined to do so in other cases. Thus to resolve the controversy and to declare the law finally once and for all, the matter now rests with the Chief Justice of India to constitute a larger bench such that an authoritative pronouncement can be given. However for all of us now, uncertainty continues. No further petitions would be decided by the Supreme Court now till such time a final outcome is obtained, which may well point out that the quarrying couples may as well wait for six months and get over with the ordeal for no one knows by what time the larger bench would declare its decision.

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