In a groundbreaking development, spouses facing tumultuous marriages may find respite through a newfound legal avenue. A petition for divorce by mutual consent, typically subject to a year-long waiting period, can now be expedited thanks to an invoked provision in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 a lesser-known clause, has emerged as a lifeline for those enduring extraordinary hardships or witnessing exceptional depravity from their partners. This clause grants the option of a quicker divorce, even before the standard one-year waiting period, should such circumstances arise.
Exemption Applications Unlock a Faster Route
To harness the power of this provision, aggrieved individuals can submit an exemption application before the family court. This application, under Section 13B(2), serves as a waiver for the customary six-month cooling-off period that usually accompanies divorce proceedings.
Supreme Court Sets Precedent in 2021
The Supreme Court of India made a pivotal decision in 2021 in the case of Amit Kumar vs. Suman Beniwal. The court emphasised the importance of reconciliation, stating that when there is a glimmer of hope for reuniting the couple, no matter how slight, the standard six-month cooling-off period must be enforced. However, the court’s judgement also highlighted that if reconciliation is an impossibility, prolonging the agony of the marriage parties serves no purpose.
Overcoming Time-Consuming Divorce Proceedings
With the ‘exceptional hardship’ clause in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, now gaining recognition and applicability, it offers hope to individuals facing dire circumstances within their marriages. This provision’s activation has the potential to significantly reduce the time and emotional toll typically associated with divorce proceedings, bringing relief to those in need.
As this groundbreaking legal avenue becomes more widely known and understood, it is anticipated that more individuals may seek an expedited divorce route, ultimately leading to a shift in the landscape of divorce proceedings in India.
A lawyer from Vakilsearch, shares their perspective on this recent development. They believe that the recognition of the ‘exceptional hardship’ clause is a game-changer for those trapped in tumultuous marriages. By allowing expedited divorces in cases of extreme hardship or depravity, this legal provision offers a lifeline to those in need, potentially revolutionising the divorce landscape and easing the burden on our already overburdened family courts.
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