Allahabad HC : Upholds Ex-party Divorce degree passed on Wife’s continued absence , Says Natural Justice can’t be used to defeat End of Justice

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Jyoti Verma Vs Prashant kumar verma, Allahabad High Court as on 20 November 2023

Court Dismisses Appeal: Upholds Order on Condonation of Delay and Ex Parte Decree

In a significant ruling, the Allahabad High Court, presided over by Hon’ble Justices Saumitra Dayal Singh and Shiv Shanker Prasad, deliberated on the matter of condonation of delay and the recall of an ex parte divorce decree in the case of Smt. Jyoti Verma versus Prashant Kumar Verma (First Appeal No. 1210 of 2023). The appeal arose from an order dated 22.08.2023 by the Additional Principal Judge of the Family Court, Moradabad.

The appellant sought condonation of delay for filing a recall application against the ex parte divorce decree dated 29.11.2021. However, after a thorough examination of the case records and considering arguments presented by both counsels, the High Court found no substantial grounds to interfere with the lower court’s decision.

The Court’s observations highlighted the appellant’s previous conduct in the legal proceedings. It noted instances where the appellant had failed to participate actively in the case, leading to repeated delays. Notably, the divorce proceedings initiated in 2014 witnessed a series of missed opportunities and non-appearance by the appellant, resulting in significant delays that extended over seven years.

Despite attempts by the appellant to cite reasons for the delay, including claims of illness supported by medical papers, the Court found insufficient evidence to justify the prolonged delay in filing the recall application from November 2021 to July 2022.

Emphasizing the principles of natural justice, the Court acknowledged the need to afford every litigant a fair hearing but cautioned against the misuse of these principles to manipulate or delay the legal process. It underscored that parties should not exploit these principles to subvert the course of justice.

The judgment emphasized the importance of preventing parties from taking advantage of their own deliberate delay tactics, which could potentially obstruct the timely delivery of justice. The Court, while recognizing the necessity of providing opportunities for fair hearings, highlighted that such opportunities should not be misused to the detriment of justice itself.

Ultimately, the High Court dismissed the appeal, upholding the lower court’s decision, and ruled that the appellant’s conduct had contributed significantly to the delay in the proceedings. The judgment, dated 20.11.2023, stands as a reminder of the judiciary’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of legal proceedings while ensuring that parties abide by the principles of timely justice without undue delay.

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