• Family court dismisses 43 cases in a single order

    June 24, 2016

    In what might seem as a script of the next big Bollywood superhit, a family court ruling that dismissed 43 matrimonial cases with compromise memos with a 10-line common order has flummoxed lawyers specializing in divorce, maintenance and child custody.

    The first additional family court had on Wednesday listed 43 original petitions where warring spouses had reached an out-of-court settlement to end litigation. They filed compromise memos in court seeking closure of the cases, some of whom were more than seven years old.

    "Perhaps the spouses were aware the futility of the cases, sought to end the case and go their own ways," said R Sudha, counsel in one of the cases.

    On Wednesday, the judge passed a single order saying all the compromise memos were not in accordance with the law. She forthwith dismissed them without cost. The handwritten ruling, largely illegible, reads more or less like this: "Common order pronounced. In the result, in view of the answer arrived to the point, the joint compromise memo entered between the parties are not valid in law... Therefore, this petition is dismissed without cost, and in view of the main petition being dismissed, all connected IAs pending on the file of the said original petition stand dismissed."
    Describing the one common order for all 43 cases as very unusual, another lawyer said the judge may be technically and legally right, as the parties may have canvassed different grounds for divorce in the petitions.

    Now that the court has dismissed even cases from 2009 merely because of 'invalid' memos, the parties will have to either go to the high court on appeal or file fresh divorce cases.

    "The court could have minimized suffering by rejecting the memos alone," a lawyer said.


    People have since time immemorial tried to take the back door for running away from litigation. The root cause here is fear that they might have to wait years to get the matter settled. If seen from that point of view they might just be taking the more rational route. But the law has to take its course eventually and in this case it surely did!

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