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Court should avoid the nitty gritties in a matrimonial matter: Supreme Court

The SC expressed its displeasure towards the Trial Court and High Court due the delay in time of trial in the case of T.S.K. Ashwin Kumar versus Tubati Srivally & Ors [Contempt Petition (Civil) No. 444 of 2020]. The bench consisting of CJI S.A. Bobde, J. A.S. Bopanna and J. Ramasubramanian heard a contempt petition filed by the petitioner arising out of an order passed by the SC dated 16.07.2019, directing the Trial court to conclude the trial of the case within a period of two months.

The case arises out of a criminal complaint filed by the respondent-wife for offences under Section 498A read with Section 120B and Sections 420 and 365 of the IPC. This was filed against the petitioner-husband, his parents and close relatives. The husband being on bail time, approached the HC of Telangana, pleading for the relaxation of his bail conditions which was allowed. Challenging this order, the wife filed an SLP to the SC, which was disposed of. The SC further ordered the Trial court to conclude the trial within 2 months. 15 months having passed, the SC stated that “Apart from the party/parties responsible for protracting the proceedings, it is unfortunate that the State, the Trial Court as well as the High Court have also omitted to take note of the time-frame fixed by this Court”.

The court relied on the circumstances of the case and stated that “The   grievance   of   the   petitioner in   the   Contempt Petition   is   that   after   having   consented   to   cooperate   in   the conclusion   of   the   trial   within   a   period   of   two   months, the   1st respondent wife   has   been   dragging   on   the   matter   under   some pretext or the other.  However, the 1st respondent has filed a statement   of   objections   claiming   that   she   is   not   in   any   way responsible for the delay”.

The court expressed that We do not wish to go into the nitty gritties, since it is a matrimonial   matter.   But   we   cannot   desist   from   recording   our displeasure at the manner in which the proceedings before the Trial Court have dragged on for the past 15 months, after this Court passed an order on 16.07.2019 with the consent of the parties, for the conclusion of the trial within a period of 2 months”. 

The court also held that any attempt to overreach the order of this Court passed by consent should be discouraged and deprecated and further ordered the Trial court to dispose of the matter within a period of two months.

The court stated that “Suffice it to point out that any attempt to overreach an order of   this   Court   passed   by   consent   should   be   discouraged   and deprecated. Therefore, the order of stay granted by the High Court is liable to be vacated and the trial directed to be proceeded. The Contempt Petition, in our considered view can be closed without going into the rival claims”.

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