Dr. Tabindar Kaur Chawla Vs. Dr. Harindar Singh
Date of Order:
Hon’ble Justice K.R. Mohapatra
Petitioner: Dr. Tabindar Kaur Chawla
Respondent: Dr. Harindar Singh
The subject of the case is a writ petition filed by a petitioner seeking to set aside an order passed by a judge in a family court. The petitioner had requested the court to post the matter for further reconciliation between the parties, but the application was rejected. The petitioner argues that the court did not take the reconciliation process seriously and failed to fulfill its duty under the relevant laws.
Family Courts (Court) Rules, 2010
- Rule 18: It pertains to the procedure for filing a petition in a family court.
Family Courts Act, 1984
- Section 9: It deals with the jurisdiction of family courts. It empowers the family courts to entertain and adjudicate upon suits or proceedings related to the restitution of conjugal rights.
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- Section 23(2): It states that the court, before granting a decree of divorce, must ensure that all efforts for reconciliation have been made. It requires the court to inquire whether there is any possibility of the spouses reconciling and resuming their marital relationship. If the court is satisfied that there is no chance of reconciliation, it may proceed with granting a divorce.
- In this case the petitioner filed a writ petition to have an order made by the Family Court's learned Judge Set-aside.
- The petitioner had requested more mediation between the couples in a Family Court case, but it had been denied since the parties had showed little interest in talking things out.
- The petitioner stated that, in accordance with Section 23(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and Rule 18 of the Family Courts (Court) Rules of 2010, the court had to make every effort to reach a settlement before providing any remedy.
- Whether the court's rejection of the petitioner's application for further reconciliation was justified?
- Whether the court failed to fulfil its duty of reconciliation or not?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONERS
- The Learned Counsel on the behalf of the petitioners claims that their attempts at reconciliation were ignored by the court. It was also argued that they made serious efforts to settle the disagreements through conciliation, but the court rejected their petition without properly considering these efforts.
- The Learned Counsel referred Section 23(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, which emphasizes the court's obligation to pursue a settlement. They contend that before moving on with the dissolution of the marriage, the court is required by law to consider the prospect of reconciliation between the spouses.
- It was further argued that rather than just dismissing their petition, the court ought to have attempted to reach an amicable resolution. They argue that the court should have ordered more counselling or mediation to examine the possibility of a peaceful resolution between the parties, in order to give the procedure a fair shot, the court may have, if necessary, extended the allotted time for conciliation.
- Overall, the Learned Counsel requested to set aside the order of rejecting their application for further conciliation between the parties. Hence, it was improper for the court to reject their petition without taking the prospect of reconciliation into account.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT
- According to the Learned Counsel on the behalf of the respondent, the petitioner's request for reconciliation should be turned down. It was contend that several conciliation conferences between the parties have previously taken place and that all efforts at reconciliation have failed. Consequently, the court shouldn't order them to continue their conciliation.
- It was also argued that the court has already provided adequate opportunity and time for mending fences. They contend that the petitioner's demand for more conciliation is just a ruse to drag out the divorce process and put the respondent through undue hardship.
- The Learned Counsel referred Hindu Marriage Act Section 13B, which permits divorce by mutual consent. If the parties are unable to resolve their issues, they should be permitted to use their right to divorce. Instead of requiring additional mediation, the respondent argues that the court should recognize the parties' choice to file for divorce.
- It was further mentioned that, it was clear throughout the prior conciliation meetings, in which both parties fully engaged, that a resolution could not be reached. In light of this, the court's decision to reject the petitioner's request for additional conciliation was appropriate.
- The Court held that, the petitioner had hidden important information, including the timeframe established by the Supreme Court, and had deceived the court, the court decided after deliberating the arguments and reviewing the evidence.
- The court observed the Family Court had not ruled out the possibility of conciliation even during the trial and had made efforts for conciliation on earlier occasions.
- As a result, the court denied the writ petition and assessed the petitioner a cost of Rs. 25,000 that must be submitted with the Family Court. The Family Court is empowered to take the appropriate actions to realize the cost and pay it to the opposing party if it is not deposited.
The petitioner requested the court to set aside the rejection of their application for further conciliation in a family court case. The petitioner argued that the court had not taken reconciliation seriously and had failed to comply with the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act and Family Courts Act. They cited previous court decisions emphasizing the importance of reconciliation efforts. The respondent countered by stating that the petitioner had not cooperated and had conveniently omitted mentioning the timeline set by the Supreme Court for case disposal. The court found that the petitioner had not come to the court with clean hands, suppressed material facts, and misled the court. Consequently, the court dismissed the petitioner's application and imposed a cost of Rs. 25,000 for misleading the court.
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