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Divorce by Mutual Consent : Court can't compel the Defaulting Party to Give its Consent; HC

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ruled that once a party decides to have a second thought and on reflection, backs off, the concerned court cannot compel the defaulting party to give its consent on the basis of an earlier settlement / undertaking.

A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Deepa Sharma said that the right of withdrawal of consent in the proceedings can be exercised at any stage and exercise of such a discretion cannot be treated as being opposed to public policy.


The court was dealing with the complex issue of whether a spouse who has initiated proceedings for divorce by mutual consent under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act can be held liable for contempt if he or she reconsiders or retracts from the decision of taking divorce by mutual consent.

The subject became a matter of contention between 17 couples, where one of the spouses had filed for initiation of contempt proceedings against the other for breaching the settlement agreement.

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