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Couples seeking divorce will not be able to untie the knot quickly with a court ruling in Mumbai that the one-year mandatory period of separation cannot be shortened under any circumstance. The Bombay High Court gave the ruling while dismissing a petition of a city-based couple, who challenged the Constitutional validity of Section 13(B) of the Hindu Marriage Act, pleading for legal separation within six months of their marriage. Section 13(B) states that divorce through mutual consent requires that the couple stay separately at least for a year before it is considered. "In the age of IT, tendency to take impulsive decisions are on the rise...but the ability to act faster in a modernised age must not result in instant decisions relating to delicate human relationships...," a Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice J P Deodhar said in their recent judgment. Dismissing the petition, the court observed, "The period of one year is sin qua non...it is meant to be a healing time, to ponder over mutual differences." Lawyer Uday Warunjikar, who argued for the petitioners, said the requirement of one year for separation was unreasonable, and it bore no relation with the objective behind the scheme of divorce by mutual consent. However, the court said, "If petitioners' argument is to be accepted, then divorce petitions would be filed just a few days after the marriage...There would be no attempt to even fairly understand each other and resolve minor differences which may appear as teething problems of married life."
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