The Delhi High Court: Petitioner allowed to file written statement; Can’t assume that it is not required in a divorce suit due to the filing for transfer petition before the SC.

Title: Babita vs Manish Shoukeen

Date of decision: 18th July, 2023

+ CM(M) 752/2023 & CM APPL. 23729/2023



Delhi High Court allowed the written statement to be filed by petitioner setting aside the order of the family court and held that by merely filing a transfer petition before the Supreme Court, the petitioner could not have assumed not to file her written statement in the Divorce Petition. Accordingly, the present petition is allowed. The petitioner shall file the written statement before the learned Family Court, within a period of one week from today. It is made clear that the petitioner shall not be shown any further indulgence in case of a default made in defending the Divorce Petition.

Facts of the case

In HMA No.1027/2019, Babita v. Manish Shokeen (hereinafter referred to as the “Divorce Petition”), the learned Principal Judge of the Family Court of Delhi issued orders dated 21.12.2022 and 21.03.2023 (hereinafter referred to as the “Impugned orders”).

The learned Family Court was happy to shut the petitioner’s opportunity to submit her written statement in this case and to dismiss the petitioner’s defence. The learned Family Court denied the petitioner’s request to have the order from 21.12.2022 recalled by the impugned ruling dated 21.03.2023.

The petitioner’s claim is that she lives in a hamlet in the Jhajjar District of Haryana. She had already filed a lawsuit in the Jhajjar Courts against the respondent here. She was served with the summons in the respondent’s divorce petition, and on May 30,2022, she appeared in court.

He adds that she had submitted a plea to the Supreme Court asking for the divorce case, Babita v. Manish Shokeen, TR.P.(C) 2395/2022, to be transferred from the learned Principal Family Court at Jhajjar, Haryana, to the learned Family Court at Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi.

Even though there were costs involved, she didn’t file the written statement.

The petitioner claims that she then got in touch with the attorney who was assisting her in the court proceedings in Jhajjar, who encouraged her to get her written statement ready and submit it with the application to have the order from 21.12.2022 recalled on 21.03.2023. However, the learned Family Court was happy to reject the aforementioned motion seeking to recall the ruling and declined to enter her written statement into the record.

Analysis of the court

It is undisputed that the petitioner has been living with her young kid, who is 7 years old, in a hamlet in the Jhajjar District of Haryana years. The fact that a lawyer attended on her behalf before the learned Family Court on her behalf on September 2, 2022, and November 9, 2022, plainly demonstrates that she has hired a lawyer to represent her interests in the divorce petition. Although it is true that the petitioner could not have assumed on her own that she was not required to file a written statement in the divorce petition by simply filing a transfer petition with the Supreme Court, in my opinion, the aforementioned circumstances would act to mitigate the default that the petitioner has committed in failing to file the written statement on time.

Additionally, it should be remembered that the Family Court’s current petition was not of a commercial or lucrative character. The parties’ social and family rights are to be determined there. On the petitioner’s argument, the Supreme Court has already moved the divorce suit to the learned Principal Family Court in Jhajjar, Haryana. In reality, it is important to note that although the divorce petition was filed in 2019, the respondent wasn’t served until about May 30,2022. Therefore, it had taken the petitioner three years to serve the respondent. Given these facts, the petitioner may have been given one final break by taking her official written statement.

As a result, the current petition is approved. Within a week from now, the petitioner must submit the written statement that was scheduled to be submitted to the learned Family Court in Jhajjar, Haryana, on March 21, 2023. It is made plain that if the petitioner fails to properly defend the divorce petition, additional leniency will not be extended to them

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Written By – Shreyanshu Gupta

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