New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked
Smriti Shinde, daughter of Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde,
and her husband, who are involved in a divorce proceedings, to
explore the possibility of reaching at amicable settlement.
The apex court asked the couple who are living separately
for over five years to appear before it on August 9 and
suggested that they should also consider the option of
The court was hearing the petition filed by Shinde`s
daughter seeking divorce without the consent of her husband,
citing "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage.
"Make an attempt for amicable settlement," a bench
comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said while
wanting to know "if there is any possibility or chance of
Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, appearing for
Shinde`s estranged son-in-law Sanjay Pahadia, submitted that
the couple have been speaking to each other but he was not
certain whether there has been any positive development.
Smriti`s counsel and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said
it was the case of "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage where
the wife has been living separately for last five years and
the husband has been resisting divorce after consenting for it
in the beginning.
"This is a case where they (couple) are living separately
for five years. She is seeking divorce but can`t get. How will
she live," he submitted before the bench and informed it about
the divorce proceedings before the family court.
He said Pahadia has refused to give his nod for
subsequent proceedings of divorce after jointly filing the
consensual divorce petition.
The court was informed that the couple`s two son, aged
13 and 15 years, were staying with Smriti in the capital but
they have been shifted recently to Mumbai for educational
Smriti, in her petition, has challenged provisions of the
Hindu Marriage Act which requires subsistence of mutual
consent throughout the divorce proceedings.
"The law cannot compel a woman, who is emotionally and
mentally unable to cope with a marriage, to remain bound in a
wedlock to her spouse even when it is established that the
marriage is dead," she said in her plea.
"The compulsion upon wife to obtain the consent of the
husband to maintain and prosecute a petition of divorce by
mutual consent is violative of the principles of gender
justice and thereby of the Article 14 and 21 of the
Constitution," the petition said.
Smriti, whose divorce plea was rejected by the apex
court earlier after her husband refused to give consent,
submitted that "the law may have been considered valid at the
time when it was enacted but it has become an anachronism and
violative of the evolved and gender sensitised interpretation
of Article 14 and 21".
The Court, which on December 16, 2009 had also issued
notice to the Centre, said at present it was not on the
question of law on the issue.