In a path-breaking judgment, Supreme Court has waived off the waiting period of 6 months for divorce under Hindu Law. The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit in an appeal against a judgment of the Delhi High Court. The court ruled that it is pointless to ‘perpetuate a purposeless marriage and to prolong the agony of the parties.’
The bench added, "We are of the view that the period mentioned in section 13B(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 1955 Hindu Marriage Act provides for a statutory cooling period of six months between the first and the last motion for seeking divorce by mutual consent to explore the possibility of settlement and cohabitation.
The bench said the period of six months can be waived off if conciliation fails and the parties had genuinely settled differences relating to alimony, custody of the child or any other pending issues between them. After this verdict, couples can file a waiver application just one week after a divorce petition is filed and ask the court to decide the case. The decision will bring significant respite to couples who file for divorce ‘by mutual consent’.The decision came in response to a petition filed by a Delhi Couple which had sought a waiver of the six-month period on the ground that they have been living separately for the past eight years and there was no possibility of a reunion. The parties felt that any delay in divorce will affect the chances of their resettlement.