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AMARDEEP SINGH V. HARVEEN KAUR

Amardeep Singh v Harveen Kaur (CA No. 11158 of 2017, SC. 12 September 2017)

ISSUE:

  • Whether the minimum six-month period prescribed by Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act is mandatory or can be relaxed in exceptional situations?

RULE:

  • The object of the provision is to enable parties to dissolve a marriage by consent if it has broken down and to enable them to rehabilitate.
  • In the case where there are no chances of reunion and chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option.

FACTS:

  • Singh and Kaur were married in 1994. They had two children. Disputed between them gave rise to civil and criminal proceedings.
  • In 2017, they reached a settlement to resolve all the disputes and seek a divorce by mutual consent.
  • Harveen was to be given 2.75 crores as permanent alimony. Amardeep handed over two checks of 50 lakhs each as part payment of the permanent alimony.
  • The custody of their children was decided to be with Amardeep.
  • They moved the Supreme Court to waive the six month waiting period under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act on the grounds that they had been living apart for the past eight years and there was no chance of reconciliation.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court ruled that the provision was directory and not mandatory and hence, it could be waived.
  • The court further ruled that the period could be waived only in cases where the parties were living separately for longer than the statutory period and all efforts at reconciliation have failed.
  • It was further held that it would be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts of each case.