Delhi HC: Contempt proceedings for reconsidering divorce?

  • The Delhi High Court, earlier stated that after agreeing or giving an undertaking in the court for divorce by mutual consent, if a spouse has second thoughts and renege from their earlier stand before the final stage, it will be considered a contempt of court.
    However, a single judge bench of Justice Manmohan on Monday gave a contrary ruling to judgment of higher bench. Justice Manmohan highlighted that "the period of waiting ranging from six to eighteen months is intended to give an opportunity to the parties to reflect/renege and if one of the parties does not wish to proceed ahead with the divorce during this period, then divorce cannot be granted."

    Justice Manmohan found an increasing number of cases where one spouse dragged the other to court for committing contempt merely because of a change of mind during the six-month gap.
    Justice Manmohan viewed that it would not be proper to force the party who has developed second thoughts in accordance with the option given to him by the statute, to go ahead with the divorce at the pain of contempt.
    The single bench also noted that if the submission of spouses pressing for contempt is accepted it would act as a contrary parameters, that firstly the statute is giving an option of wait for 6-18 months to reconcile, and it either of the parties renege on his/ her statement, he has to face a proceeding of contempt.


    The court addressing the issue precisely stated that a spouse who reneges from his/her earlier statement of mutual divorce should not face a contempt trial. The whole intention of legislation to give a gap of 6 months is to avoid a divorce between couples. It would be highly ironic and incorrect to give a spouse an option of calling off divorce and at the same time make him face a contempt proceeding for the same.

    Visit the Indian Kanoon section of LawRato to learn more on Indian Laws.

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