Family courts can't compel parties to divorce if not mutually acceptable: Delhi HC

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS): The Delhi High Court has pointed out the importance of a re-conciliatory approach in divorce cases, stating that family courts cannot compel parties to divorce, if it is not mutually acceptable.

This observation came as the court dismissed a husband's appeal against a family court order that rejected his contempt petition against his wife for not abiding by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which they had agreed to divorce by mutual consent.

The couple in question had married in 2017 and filed a divorce petition after signing the MoU. The court granted the petition for the first motion in December 2020.

However, the wife did not proceed to file the petition for the second motion of divorce, leading the husband to file a contempt petition against her.

The family court, in its order, determined that there was no willful breach of any commitment made to the court, and therefore, no contempt was established against the wife.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna, in dismissing the husband's appeal, reiterated that the wife cannot be compelled to give her consent for the second motion, which was the husband's sole request.

It said that the primary objective of matrimonial laws is to facilitate sincere efforts at reconciliation between the parties involved. In this case, both the husband and wife had mutually entered into a settlement without initiating divorce proceedings in court.

The MoU had been submitted during the first motion, but the wife later changed her mind during the cooling-off period. The court further noted that the wife had filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking restitution of conjugal rights, and had also filed a guardianship petition to obtain permanent custody of their minor daughter.

Given these circumstances, the court concluded that the wife had not committed any contempt of court under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.



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Title: Family courts can't compel parties to divorce if not mutually acceptable: Delhi HC

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