No More Waiting Period To Take Divorce

After a landmark verdict a fortnight ago on Triple Talak that bans the controversial Islamic divorce practice of ‘instant’ divorce, the Supreme Court of India in its fresh judgement stated that six-month ‘cooling period’ for granting mutual consent divorce (as per 1995 Hindu Marriage Act) can be waived off.

Going into details, the 1995 Hindu Marriage Act provides for a statutory cooling period of six months between the first motion and the last motion for seeking divorce by mutual consent to explore the possibility of settlement and cohabitation.

The Apex Court on Tuesday (Sep 12,2017) held that the minimum cooling period of 6 months for granting the decree of divorce under the Hindu law can be waived by a trial court if there was no possibility of cohabitation between an estranged couple.

“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,” a bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said.

The court noted in its verdict that the object of the cooling off period was to safeguard against a “hurried decision” if there was otherwise a possibility of differences being reconciled.

“Though every effort has to be made to save a marriage, if there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option,” it said.

The bench was dealing with a plea filed by an estranged couple which had sought 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 their re-union.