Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi

    Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi
    Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi

    FACTS Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi

    The first stage of the case:-

    The appellant and respondent were married on 21st November 1968. But their marriage fell apart soon. On January 8, 1985, a petition was filed by them under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act. The statement of both parties was recorded separately on 9th January 1985. 

    The second stage of the case:-

    The second stage of the case started with the filing of an application prepared on 15th January 1985 on behalf of Sureshta Devi but presented on 22 March 1985 where it was mentioned that her consent was given under pressure and threat by the petitioner, Om Prakash. It also said that she was not permitted to meet her relatives for consultation before filing such a petition nor they could accompany her in the court. They were not even informed about the divorce by mutual consent.

    After considering the above facts she was permitted to withdraw her consent and the petition so dismissed.

    On 4th May 1985, the court passed the order that the applicant is no more interested in divorce thus the application is allowed and the petition of divorce will be dismissed.

    The case was remanded to the District Judge in 1988 for fresh disposal according to the law and the judgment made before. When the matter came into consideration before the District Judge, he dismissed the application under section 13 of the act.

    Everything you need to know about Divorce by Mutual Consent
    Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi

    ISSUES RAISED:-

    Whether consent can be unilaterally withdrawn?

    ASSERTIONS OF BOTH THE PARTIES:-

    Sh. AK Goel who appears on behalf of the appellant contended that the petition for mutual consent was filed by both the parties with their free will so there was no question of any pressure or undue influence. Thus the conclusion made by the District judge was factually wrong.

    Sh. KC Rana who appears for the respondent contended that the evidence clearly shows that decision made by the court was according to the law and facts of the case.

    Appellant Om Parkash states that he is a teacher and was married to the respondent on 21-11-1968. They lived together for 6/7 months till 1969. Thereafter, the respondent did not stay with him except from 9-12-1984 to 7-1-1985 under the orders of the Court but during this time they did not live like husband and wife. On 7-1-1985 the respondent told him to go with her to Hamirpur on 8-1-1985 as she wanted to give him a divorce.

    In this way, they come to Hamirpur. The respondent talked to her counsel. Sh. Madan Rattan, for about an hour, to file a joint petition for mutual divorce in the Court at Hamirpur. On 9th January 1985 and their statements were recorded. He did not put any pressure on her. In cross-examination, he stated that when they came to Hamirpur on 8th January 1985 none of the relatives of his wife accompanied them to Hamirpur.

    He withdrew the case for restitution of conjugal rights which he had filed against the respondent on 8th January 1985 before their statements were recorded in the petition for mutual divorce. He wanted to divorce her because she was not residing with him for the last so many years and denied that he brought the respondent to Hamirpur on 8th January 1985 under pressure and without her consent or that she was brought by misrepresentation in connection with the withdrawal of the case for restitution of conjugal rights.

    He also denied that the petition for mutual divorce was exclusively filed at his instance. She had told in the presence of Pardhan of Lahru that she would divorce him. He also denies the threat to the respondent if she does not give her consent for mutual divorce.

    The respondent, Sureshta Devi states that the petitioner had filed a petition against her for restitution of conjugal rights in 1983. In that petition, she was directed by the Court to go with the petitioner and she accompanied him and stayed with him for one month from 10th December 1984 to 10th January 1985.

    At that time the petitioner was posted at Lahru in Tehsil Hamirpur and she was posted as a teacher in a school at Ghanayara. On 8th January 1985, the petitioner brought her to Hamirpur telling her that he had to withdraw the petition for restitution of conjugal rights. Under that pretext, he filed the petition for divorce in the Court of the District Judge, Hamirpur, by misrepresentation. The petitioner got her statement recorded in the Court for a petition for mutual divorce. None of her relatives was with her at that time. The petitioner gave her a threat that if she did not sign the statement, that will adversely affect her.

    On 8th January 1985, they both stayed with Massar of her husband, namely, Om Parkash, who was residing at Hamirpur. When on 10th January 1985 she went to Ghanayara, she narrated this fact to her mother. On 15th January 1985, she came to Hamirpur with her brother Dr. V.P. Mahajan who contacted her counsel Sh. Madan Rattan, Sh. Madan Rattan advised that the application for mutual divorce can be taken back and thus the application for withdrawing the petition was made.

    In cross-examination, she stated that she was a teacher since 1962 and was enrolled in the institution. She admits that she knew both the languages, Hindi and English. She admits her signatures in the affidavit dated 8th January 1985. She admits that she was identified before the Oath Commissioner by her counsel Sh, Madan Rattan. She also admits her signatures on the petition and the verification. She also admits her signatures of that date on the Vakalatnama. She admits her statement in the Court but states that all of it was done under the pressure of the petitioner.

    She said that statement given to Court was not read over to her and neither the petition was written by Sh. Madan Rattan, Advocate, at her instance. She admits that in the petition for restitution of conjugal rights that was filed by her husband, her counsel was Sh. Madan Rattan. She states that her mother asked her why she had made such a statement and told her that she should not get a divorce from the petitioner and that she had committed a mistake. Her brother also resides with her mother at Ghanayara and he was also there at that time.

    She did not have any grievance against Shri Madan Rattan, Advocate. She admits that an earlier petition for restitution of conjugal rights was withdrawn on 8 January 1985. She states that she knew Dr. Dogra who was practicing at Hamirpur and she used to visit him whenever came to Hamirpur. She did not tell him about the threats given by the petitioner. Her brother was accompanying her when the application dated 15 January 1985 was drafted. She denied that the application was filed at the instance of her brother

    JUDGEMENT:

    So many efforts were made to reconcile both the parties under the restitution of conjugal rights but both the parties were not living together as husband and wife and were not performing their duties and obligation. No further emotional attachment remained between the parties. So as per the facts of the case, the court concluded that the appellant had proved desertion by the respondent without any reasonable cause thus the judgment of the trial Court is liable to be set aside.

    Any more efforts for reuniting the parties will be futile so the Court granted them the decree of divorce dissolving the marriage of both the parties. A party can not always withdraw its consent unilaterally, it can happen in exceptional cases only.

    Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act

    Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act Om Prakash vs. Sureshta Devi: a petition was filed under section 13-B of the Hindu marriage act