Landmark Judgments on Divorce by mutual consent: Sec 13B of HMA

Landmark Judgments on Divorce by mutual consent: Sec 13B of HMA

Divorce by mutual consent is an important aspect of family law in many jurisdictions, and several landmark judgments have shaped its interpretation and application. Here are some significant judgments by the Supreme Court of India and other high courts:

1. Smt. Sureshta Devi v. Om Prakash (1991): Citation: AIR 1992 SC 1904
   - This landmark judgment clarified that the requirement of mutual consent should be present not only at the time of filing the divorce petition but also when the decree is passed.
   - The court held that either party can withdraw their consent at any time before the decree is passed.

2. Anil Kumar Jain v. Maya Jain (2009): Citation: (2009) 10 SCC 415
   - The Supreme Court held that a decree of divorce by mutual consent cannot be granted unless both parties file a second motion after the stipulated waiting period of six to eighteen months.
   - The judgment reinforced that mutual consent must be ongoing and continuous until the final decree.

3. Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur (2017): Citation: (2017) 8 SCC 746
   - In this case, the Supreme Court held that the cooling-off period of six months prescribed under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act is not mandatory and can be waived off in certain circumstances.
   - The decision allowed for a more expedited process in cases where the couple has been living separately for a long time and there is no chance of reconciliation.

4. Sanjay Kapoor v. Anjali Kapoor (2021): Citation: (2021) SCC OnLine Del 3253
   - The Delhi High Court reiterated that the consent of both parties must be free and voluntary at the time of filing the second motion for divorce by mutual consent.
   - The court emphasized the importance of genuine mutual consent without any coercion or undue influence.

5. Rachna Jain v. Niraj Kumar (2022): Citation: (2022) SCC OnLine SC 341
   - The Supreme Court highlighted that the family court should ensure that both parties are making an informed and voluntary decision when filing for mutual consent divorce.
   - The court stressed the role of mediation and counseling to explore the possibility of reconciliation before granting the divorce.

These judgments have collectively contributed to a more nuanced understanding of divorce by mutual consent, ensuring that the process is fair, voluntary, and considerate of the complexities involved in marital relationships. 

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