SHIPRA CHATTERJEE Vs. SIDDHARTH CHATTERJEE
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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B.N.CHATURVEDI, J. -
(1.) Instant appeal arises out of an order dated 7th June, 2002 of the Learned Additional District Judge, Delhi, dismissing the appellant's applications under order IX Rule 13 CPC and under Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
(2.) A petition, under Section 13(1) (i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, was filed by the respondent-husband against the appellant wife on 18th April, 1996. On being served with notice, the appellant filed her Written Statement and contested the petition. During the pendency of the petition, an application under order VI Rule 17 CPC, accompanied by an amended petition under Section 13-B(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, signed by both the parties, came to be filed on 27th August, 1998 which was slated for consideration on 28th August, 1998. On 28th August, 1998, however, there was no appearance from the side of the appellant and she was thus proceeded ex-parte. The petitioner husband withdrew the application under Order VI Rule 17 CPC and made a statement closing his evidence as prior thereto, his statement in examination in chief had already been recorded and he was only in the process of being cross-examined on behalf of the appellant. Based on the evidence, produced by the respondent husband, an ex-parte decree of divorce was eventually passed against the appellant on 2nd December, 1998.
(3.) The appellant filed an application for setting aside the decree dated 2nd December, 1998 on 17th April, 2000 stating therein that after recording respondent's statement partly on 19th August, 1998, the matter was adjourned to 25th August, 1998 for further evidence. On 25th August, 1998, however, the appellant was approached by the respondent for seeking divorce by mutual consent when the appellant told that she required some time to think over it. However, on the very next day, i.e., 26th August, 1998, the respondent sent to her an application for divorce by mutual consent, at the hospital where she was working, which she was asked to sign. According to the appellant, she did not want to spoil her reputation being a respected doctor there hence she signed that application 'under duress'. She claims to have had informed her lawyer that she would not be in a position to attend the proceedings on that day, i.e., 26th August, 1998 since she had some urgent work at the hospital. She, on 26th August, 1998 called her lawyer to find out the outcome of the proceedings when she was told that the matter had been adjourned and that she would keep her posted about the hearing. Thereafter, states the appellant, she had been calling her lawyer on regular basis, but she was told that as and when her presence would be required before the Court, she would inform her in that regard.;
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