By Praveen Kumar
New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) More than 5,000 matrimonial cases have been pending since 1995 in various courts in Delhi. This was revealed during the hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Delhi High Court.
Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan issued notices to the central and Delhi governments on the PIL which sought directions for the speedy disposal of these cases filed under the Hindu Marriage (HM) Act.
The petition mentioned that there were a large number of pending cases in various district courts as the government had failed to provide exclusive courts to deal with cases related to marital discord and divorce, among others.
There are a total of eight district courts in the city that deal with cases under the act and 4,687 cases since 1995 have been pending in these courts. In Delhi High Court alone, 369 such cases are pending, said the petitioner who collected the data using a right to information (RTI) application.
Till May this year 846 new cases gave been filed in the high court, of which 609 have been disposed of.
The petition, taken up for hearing by the high court on Aug 11, said that the delays in these cases have been taking place as the courts are flooded with other types of cases as well.
The petition alleged that the courts have failed to implement provisions of the act which provide for speedy disposal of cases.
“The courts are adjourning matters without assigning any special reasons as prescribed under the provisions of section 21 B of the HM Act,” said the petition.
According to the act, the trial of a petition filed under it should be held on a day-to-day basis until its conclusion, unless the court finds the adjournment of the trial beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded.
“Every petition under the act shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date of service of notice of the petition on the respondent,” the petition said, quoting the act.
The petition also highlighted that in cases of divorce with mutual consent, the courts give six months’ time to both husband and wife to reflect on their move and seek advice from relations and friends.
“But even after this period is over, long dates are given by courts to come to final conclusion” the petition said.
According to the petition, a person filing a case under the act has to wait for a minimum of five years for its disposal before the district courts and a minimum of five years before appellate courts.
“During all these years when the couples are engaged in filing applications after applications, attending hearings, facing adjournments, the golden period of their life is lost in contesting the matter,” said Sarvesh Bisariya, the petitioner and counsel in the case.
This denies them an opportunity to live with dignity and honour, he said.
(Praveen Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)