Chennai | Observing that delayed justice in matrimonial cases causes litigants constant emotional disturbance, Madras High Court has directed a family court here to dispose of a divorce case pending for 13 years on priority, preferably within eight weeks.
Justice S Vimala gave the direction while disposing of a petition by a man seeking a direction to the Additional Family Court III to clear the divorce plea filed by him in 2003 within a time frame. Noting that emotional explosion was involved in almost all cases relating to matrimonial dispute, the Judge said the interest of children was involved in several cases and pending disputes shatter mental peace.
The future planning is kept under suspension. Procreation of children may become an impossibility because of advancement of age and the impatient litigants resort to illegal marriage and that leads to birth of illegitimate children, she said. When such serious consequences are involved, it is for the learned judges of the Family Court to find out ways and means to dispose of the cases quickly, despite the huge pendency, the Judge said.
She suggested that bottlenecks in the system and the handicap for the Judges, if any, should be discussed in judicial academies and solutions in terms of either change in law or procedure or change in attitude of the parties must emerge.
Petitioner Meenakshi Sundaram had moved the family court under The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking that the marriage between him and the respondent be anulled on the ground that his wife refused to consummate their marriage. He later altered the ground to cruelty.
In her order, Justice Vimala said: Apart from provisions of the Family Courts Act, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, no person can be deprived of life or liberty, except in accordance with the procedure established by law and if the procedure is to be fair and reasonable, the Family Court should ensure speedy disposal.
The judge said there was no procedure established by law which could justify the delay in disposal. Keeping the case pending by one of the litigant, amounts to harassment to the other side and it is deliberately resorted to as a method of punishment to the other side, she observed.