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A Family Court in Ahmedabad grants two different decrees to husband and wife due to ex-parte hearing

Legal Correspondent: Sarthak Dixit

October 13th, 2021: Three years ago, a family court in Ahmedabad went on to grant a divorce and restitution of conjugal rights to the same couple. When the matter came up for hearing on appeal to the Gujarat High Court, a bench comprising of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice V D Nanavati questioned the inconsistent orders.

It was argued in court that because the husband's divorce case was still pending in Court Room 2 and the wife's restitution case was still pending in Court Room 3, neither party could be present in the other room, leading the judges to issue ex parte orders in 2018.

It was obviously difficult to execute the conflicting orders at the same time. The husband appealed to challenge the restitution decree which requires him to carry out his conjugal duties (Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955), meanwhile the wife appealed the divorce stating it was passed without her being heard. It was asserted that the wife was aware of the divorce proceedings but chose not to present and continued with her own, notwithstanding her assertion that she was unaware of the divorce summons.

The couple got married in 2008 and have been living separately since 2013, and have an 11-year-old daughter. The high court admitted the wife’s petition and decided to hear the appeals filed by both the parties together.


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