Divorce by Mutual Consent – Procedure therefor

Sub-section (2) of Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act apparently is procedural in nature which provides that in case any such application by both the parties is made under Section 13-B(1) and the petition is not withdrawn not earlier than six months after the date of presentation of such petition and not later than 18 months after the said date, the court shall pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved. However, the court while passing such a decree has to be satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, as to fact that marriage has been solemnized and that the averments in the petition for divorce by mutual consent are correct. To conduct the inquiry for the purposes of finding the averments made in the application to be correct, Section 13-B (2) provides that the parties are to be heard by the court.
The relevant phrase occurring in sub-section (2) of Section 13-B is after hearing the parties. Since the provisions of Section 13-B relate to separation by divorce by mutual consent, as such in all such matters, ordinarily ‘hearing the parties’ would mean hearing the parties in person. In other words while making inquiry as contemplated in sub-section (2) of Section 13-B, the court concerned has to personally interact with the parties which makes it almost mandatory for the parties to be personally present before the court. Kanwaljeet Sachdev v. State of U.P., 2016 (119) ALR 600.

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