The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah challenging a Delhi High Court circular of April last year in connection with his divorce petition.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian sought response from the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court on the plea. The High Court circular had mandated both parties in the case to agree for the final hearing through video conferencing mode.
The Delhi High Court had on November 3 last year dismissed Abdullah’s plea challenging the April 26, 2020 circular. He had argued his matrimonial appeal challenging the 2016 trial court order, which dismissed his divorce petition, has not been listed for final hearing since February 2017.
The trial court had dismissed plea of Abdullah, who sought divorce from his estranged wife, saying he did not prove irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Abdullah had they were living separately since 2009.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Abdullah, contended before the top court that the other side in the matter is not giving consent for the final hearing through virtual mode, but they are appearing in maintenance proceedings before the trial court.
To this, the bench replied: “Can we coerce someone to give consent?”
Abdullah had contended that due to Covid-19 pandemic, there was restricted functioning of the courts, and his estranged wife, Payal Abdullah, did not give consent for hearing through video conferencing.
Sibal submitted before the top court that the matter is being delayed unnecessarily. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court said it will hear the matter after two weeks.
The High Court had noted that lack of cooperation with his estranged wife cannot be a ground to challenge the April 26 circular. It said that its Registrar General, in the circular, had stated that amid the pandemic, a request for final hearing of pending matters will be entertained if both parties agree.