The Orissa High Court recently held that when the parties do not cooperate with Family Court Judge for reconciliation, then the Court has no other option than to proceed with the matter in accordance with law.

While noting that the Petitioner herself did not participate in conciliation proceedings conducted by the Family Court, the Single Judge Bench of Justice K.R. Mohapatra observed that “it can never be said that Judge, Family Court has not made any endeavor for reconciliation. It appears that the Petitioner herself did not cooperate for conciliation. Strangely, the Petitioner is shading crocodile tears and making an attempt to blame the Family Court for not making any attempt for conciliation”.

Advocate Sanjeev Udgata appeared for the Petitioner, whereas Advocate Pabitra Kumar Nayak appeared for the Respondent.

In the background of the case, a divorce petition was filed in the Family Court, where it was directed to be transferred by the Supreme Court vide a Transfer Petition to Family Court, Jharsuguda. It is the case of the Petitioner that Family Court, Jharsuguda rejected her petition to grant further time to undergo conciliation and ordered for submission of written statement, thus surpassing the mandates laid down under Section 23(2) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 9 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 and Rule 18 of the Family Courts (Court) Rules, 2010. This was opposed by the Respondents contending that the Petitioner intentionally suppressed the fact that while adjudicating the Transfer Petition, the Supreme Court had allowed the parties to appear through virtual mode, while acknowledging their professions.

After considering the submissions, the High Court found that as per the report of the conciliator, attempts were made by the Family Court for reconciliation but it failed, due to Petitioner being absent.

The Bench observed that the Petitioner had also suppressed material fact that Supreme Court had allowed them to appear virtually and directed the Family Court to make endeavor to dispose off the proceedings within six months.

While passing the impugned order, Judge, Family Court has also observed that even in course of trial, the conciliation proceeding can take place, if there appears an element of settlement between the parties”, added the Bench.

Thus, the Bench observed that the Family Court Judge has not ruled out the possibility of conciliation between the parties even at the stage of trial.

Hence, noting that the Family Court has not committed any error in rejecting the petition filed by the Petitioner for not posting the matter for further reconciliation between the parties, the High Court dismissed the petition and imposed a cost of Rs. 25 thousand on the Petitioner for attempting to linger the proceedings and harass the opposite party.

Cause Title: Tabinder Kaur v. Harinder Kaur

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