“Court cannot be simply to dispose of matters, one way or another at the cost of sacrificing the cause of justice”:Delhi High Court

The issue whether a divorce petition can be dismissed in the family court on the ground that the appellant husband failed to lead evidence was considered by the division bench of the Delhi High Court consisting of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh in the matters between Commodore Pavan Chauhan v Anusha Chauhan MAT.APP. (F.C.) 6/2022 decided on 18.1.2022.

 The facts of the case are that the Family Court dismissed the divorce petition by the appellant husband under section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, when the parties sought direction for adjournment of the matter.The appeal before this court is against the order of the Family Court.

The counsel on behalf of the appellant contended that the parties were negotiating for a settlement, which was repeatedly requested from the family court. No statements were made by way of evidence. However, the court rejected the petition after it determined that the plaintiff did not present evidence and after it closed the right to present evidence. This forced the petitioner to appeal before the High Court.

The counsel on behalf of the respondent also supported the submissions by the appellant and deposed that the position as informed is true.

The Delhi High Court held that the decision reflects the family court’s own position very badly. The Court’s effort cannot be to dispose of matters one way or another at the expense of sacrificing the cause of justice. Family Courts are expected to function in such a way as to reach an agreement where possible. Since the parties requested a postponement on the grounds that they were in negotiation, there was no reason for the Family Court to reject the postponement request made before it. The appellant’s right to present evidence was also forfeited. Hence, the Supreme Court reversed the decision and referred the parties to mediation upon their requests.

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Judgement reviewed by Bhaswati Goldar

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