There was a time when it would take years of fighting a case in a court and untangle the legal complications to get a divorce. However, this has changed now in the times of Corona as one of the family courts in Delhi granted Divorce over video conference.In this virtual Divorce, both parties had filed for it with mutual consent. Both the parties used their phones to connect with the judge while their lawyer logged in from her office in Delhi. Judge Deepak Garg and the court staff also participated during the lockdown.
Facts in Brief:
- A couple from Delhi got married in May 2017.
- After a few months of marriage, differences erupted, and they started living separately since December 2018.
- The Couple filed a petition in District Court, Rohini, under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.
- The Court gave them a few months so that if they can again reconcile their differences and withdraw the petition.
- The Couple did not withdraw the petition. The Court granted them Divorce in an online/virtual hearing.
Section 13B of Hindu Marriage Act, 1956
13B Divorce by mutual consent.– (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of Divorce may be presented to the district court by both the parties to marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976 (68 of 1976)*, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
(2) On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the meantime, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnised and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of Divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.]
The Conditions required under section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (‘HMA’) are as follows:
- The husband and wife have been living separately for one year or more.
- That they are unable to live together.
- Moreover, both husband and wife have been mutually agreed that the marriage has collapsed; hence marriage should be dissolved. Under these circumstances, a Divorce by Mutual Consent can be filed.
In this case, Divorce was inevitable as all the essential of section 13B of HMA, 1955 gets fulfilled. The Couple was living separately for one year. They agreed to live apart and were unable to live together due to differences.
However, the more important fact in this is that this was India’s first virtual Divorce. It is an essential milestone in the upcoming future of courts where physical hearing may be disrupted from time to time due to ongoing pandemic. This case might encourage other people to seek justice using technology. This may encourage other similarly placed parties to get relief at the click of a button.
On June 13, the Delhi high court inaugurated the e-filing facility allowing advocates and litigants to file court documents online. Recent development depicts that technology will play a vital role in accessing justice. With the divorce judgment being heard and decided online on June 12, the new normal could witness other regular cases being heard and decided in virtual space.
Rest for case specific advice one very connect with Top/Expert / Best Divorce Lawyer of Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali.
This post is written by Gourav Kathuria
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