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Permissible for the parties to be represented by their partners or siblings in mutual divorce proceedings

The Hon'ble Supreme Court has also made it flexible in the context of representation of the parties by their close relatives, partners or siblings or any other person in whom they have complete trust to be appointed as a Power of Attorney holder. The Court can always satisfy itself about the genuineness of the intention of the parties who approach the Court either by themselves or through a Power of Attorney holder by way of video conferencing so that any doubts about the genuineness of the petition being filed before the Court is removed by held in the divorce proceedings of Aditya Jagannath and ors. Vs NIL, M.F.A.No.4453/2020 (FC).

In the present case, the appeal has been filed as the second appellant i.e, the wife in the divorce proceedings has not been permitted to be represented by her father as her power of attorney, so as to prosecute the petition filed by the parties under Section 13B(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, through which the parties are seeking dissolution of their marriage by a decree of divorce by mutual consent.

This Court relying on Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur [(2017) 8 SCC 746] which was held that:
Needless to say that in conducting such proceedings the court can also use the medium of videoconferencing and also permit genuine representation of the parties through close relations such as parents or siblings where the parties are unable to appear in person for any just and valid reason as may satisfy the court, to advance the interest of justice.

On account of the parties residing in different parts of the country or across the globe and owing to constraints of job or other constraints, such as illness etc., it may not be possible for both parties to sign and verify the pleadings and jointly present the petition for dissolution of their marriage by mutual consent before the Court of Law. Therefore, the provisions of the various enactments must be harmoniously read and interpreted, so as to make it conducive for availing or taking recourse through the appointment of a Power of Attorney holder, to represent a party in a proceeding.

The Family Court may insist on satisfying itself that indeed the parties have an intention that they should seek a decree of divorce by mutual consent and in order to fully satisfy itself, the Court may, apart from examining the Power of Attorney holder representing any party, also through video conferencing, (which is now widely being used on account of the Covid-19 pandemic), examine the parties including the party who is represented through the Power of Attorney holder But one cannot ignore the fact that the Court must satisfy itself about the genuineness of the petition filed by the parties seeking dissolution of their marriage by a decree of divorce by mutual consent irrespective of whether it is filed through a Power of Attorney.

Thus, the Court held that Court must satisfy itself about the genuineness of the petition filed by the parties seeking dissolution of their marriage by a decree of POA through video-conference. Therefore, the court held that we are of the view that the Family Court was not right in rejecting the application filed under Order III Rule 2 read with Section 151 of CPC and thereby, granting liberty to the parties to file a fresh petition under Section 13B(1) of the Act.

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.primelegal.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MFA-4453-2020.pdf
Written By: Prime Legal Law Firm
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