Judge passes ‘unconventional’ order in marital dispute case

In an unusual order, Justice N. Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court declared a marriage null and void by withdrawing suo motu, separate but opposing petitions filed by the wife and husband in different family courts.

The judge passed the unconventional order while hearing a petition filed by the woman seeking a direction to transfer her husband’s plea for restitution of conjugal rights to the family court where her petition seeking divorce from him on the ground of suppression of serious illness is pending.

Justice Kirubakaran also suggested that it would be appropriate for the Central and State Governments to issue advertisements to sensitise people about the importance of undergoing pre-marital counselling and medical examination.

He said the haste in which most of the marriages are conducted these days end up making women victim of such marriages, violating their right to meaningful and dignified life.

A 24-year-old woman, who got married in November 2014, had, shortly after marriage, discovered that her husband had suppressed the fact that he was suffering from a major heart ailment and cancer.

Separate petitions

She filed a petition in a family court for annulment of marriage.

Separately, her husband filed a petition in another court seeking restitution of conjugal rights.

The woman then approached the High Court seeking to transfer her husband’s petition to the file of the family court which is hearing her plea for divorce.

Instead of deciding on the transfer application, Justice Kirubakaran decided to withdraw the petitions moved by the couple from the file of the respective subordinate courts suo motu, holding that if the case is treated as any other case and transferred to the trial court, the parties have to struggle for years to get justice.

The judge said: “Even after hearing the cry of the innocent girl, if this court mechanically passes order in the transfer petition only citing the limited prayer sought for from this court, which is a custodian of fundamental rights, it would be shirking its responsibility. It is well settled that Rules and Procedures are the handmaids of justice.

“Technicalities and procedures should not frustrate the course of justice.”

Consequently, he declared the marriage null and void, and dismissed the plea moved by the husband to restore his conjugal rights.

Observing that the husband should not be demoralised by the order, Justice Kirubakaran said, “This court hopes and believes that he would be successful in tackling the disease…”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 5:11:41 AM |

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