first for Delhi, an estranged couple was allowed to go their separate ways by a
city court through videoconferencing.
During the divorce proceedings carried out through mutual consent, the man and woman gave a joint statement online and the soft copy of their signed statements was made a part of the court records.
While both the parties were at their respective places out of the city, their lawyer appeared from her workplace in Delhi. The entire proceedings were via videoconference, with even family court judge Deepak Garg and the court staff participating from their homes. “This may encourage other similarly placed parties to get relief at the click of a button,” a source privy to the case stated.
The couple have amicably settled their disputes regarding maintenance and material exchange during the wedding. They also agreed to not initiate any litigation or raise any claim either against each other or any family member in future.
The man and woman got married in 2017 as per Hindu rites in Delhi, but started living separately a year later. They then filed the first motion under Section 13B (1) of the Hindu Marriage Act mutually agreeing that their marriage be dissolved. The couple’s subsequent motion was required to be filed for passing the decree of divorce. “I have heard the parties as well as their counsel through videoconferencing as working of courts is suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both the petitioners have been identified by their counsel Aanchal Tikmani,” the court observed in its order.
After going through the contents of their petition and their joint statement, which was recorded separately through videoconferencing, the court was satisfied that the divorce was filed with the couple’s mutual consent. “No force, coercion, fraud or undue influence has been committed upon them. The present petition has not been filed by them in collusion with each other,” it added.
On June 13, the Delhi high court inaugurated the e-filing facility allowing advocates and litigants to file court documents online at any time. With the divorce judgment being heard and decided online on June 12, the new normal could witness other regular cases also being heard and decided in the virtual space. “It was a big relief to the parties involved. It was convenient and hassle-free for all stakeholders, especially when regular court work is suspended,” the source added.