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Bombay HC: Woman can withdraw consent after filing for mutual divorce before a mediator

Team SoOLEGAL 25 May 2018 4:00pm

Bombay HC: Woman can withdraw consent after filing for mutual divorce before a mediator

A single judge bench of Bombay High Court (HC) led by Justice Vasanti Naik has held that an estranged woman can withdraw the consent for mutual divorce – she had given before a mediator.

“The consent terms signed before a mediator will not have a binding effect unless and until the family court passes a formal judgment and decree on the basis of the same,” said the HC judge.

The observations came when Justice Vasanti Naik was hearing a petition filed by a 30-year-old local woman.

The HC judge further added, “The family court must have permitted the appellant (wife) to withdraw from the consent terms that were signed before the mediator”.

The court’s decision overruled a January 2017 order passed by a Nagpur family court.

Case background

The Nagpur family court was approached by the appellant’s husband with a divorce petition. But before the matter was taken up by the court for adjudication on merits, it was referred to a mediator. Following this, the couple appeared before the mediator and gave their consent for mutual divorce. Both of the spouses signed consent terms on January 25, 2017. The husband also deposited a sum of Rs 4.21 lakh – as one-time alimony – with the family court.

However, the appellant (wife) sought to withdraw the consent for mutual divorce. And so, she applied to the Nagpur family court seeking its permission for the same. But her application was rejected by the family court and her 10-year marriage was dissolved because of the consent terms signed before the mediator. The woman then approached the High Court – challenging the family court’s decision.

On hearing the woman’s plea, the HC bench said that “the family court was not justified in rejecting the plea considering the fact that it was made before the spouses jointly applied to the family court seeking divorce by mutual consent – as required under provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955”.

Also, the bench noted that the woman had applied for “resile” of consent for mutual divorce before the agreed terms were acted upon.

 

Tagged: Bombay High Court   Justice Vasanti Naik   Nagpur Family Court   Hindu Marriage Act  
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