Decided on April 28,1992



- (1.)THERE exists a class of litigation where the role of the Judge requires to be redefined for it is expected of him in these situations to temper the approach to that of a father and not an impassioned adjudicator of law points alone. Matrimonial litigation has a ring of pathos about it, where relationships have soured, young people have been estranged and unfortunate children are being battled over. True it is that when such cases come before the Courts, the decision has to be governed by legal principles, but the approach of the Court must be a benevolent, understanding and helpful one, and if there is one field in which the time factor is crucial, this is it, We prefix our judgment with these observations because it has been the recurrent complaint in this and several other matters that if a more helpful attitude had been forthcoming from the presiding officer, the case could have been concluded at the trial Court in far less time.
(2.)THE appellant before us, the original petitioner before the Family Court in M. J. Petition No. 571 of 1983, has assailed the correctness of the judgment and order dated 27-9-1991 whereby the Family Court has dismissed her petition. The appellant had prayed for a decree of nullity of her marriage solemnized at Houstan, Texas, U. S. A. on 27-4-1987. Alternatively, She has prayed for a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty. The petition was originally filed before the City Civil Court at Bombay on 22-4-1988 under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which applied to the parties by virtue of the provisions of section 18 of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969. The learned trial Judge, in the first instance, dismissed the petition on the ground that the Court was not vested with the requisite jurisdiction. He also held that as far as the question of nullity was concerned that the petitioner had failed to make out any case. As far as the question of cruelty was concerned, strangely enough, the learned trial Judge held that even though several instances stood established that they were not of the requisite gravity that would entitle the petitioner to the reliefs asked for by her. It is this judgment that is assailed before us.
(3.)MR. Rebello, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant at the stage of admission of this appeal, advanced a strong plea to the Bench that since his client was a young lady who had undergone a lot of hardship and since according to him the order of the Family Court requires rectification on a point of law, that the appeal be taken up expeditiously. After hearing learning learned Counsel and being reasonably satisfied that this position was correct, we directed the appellant to serve the respondent forthwith and also satisfied us that the respondent has been duly served. From the record, we have reason to conclude that the respondent is not interested in any contest since the marriage has failed and the petitioner is not making any claims. It is relevant to record that even though the respondent at an initial stage before the trial Court filed a short written statement, that the M. J. Petition was pending and that if he did not take part in the proceedings that the Court would pass an ex parte order against him and in spite of this position, he just did not appear before that Court. It is under these circumstances that even though the respondent has chosen not to appear before us that we have heard the appeal on merits and are disposing it of.

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