Decided on October 30,2006



- (1.) The marriage between petitioner and first respondent was solemnized in 1995 and out of wedlock two children were born. In February, 2000 respondent filed an application for dissolution of marriage under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act (hereinafter called as "the Act") which was contested by parties till 21st January, 2004 when they filed a joint application under section 15 of the Act for divorce by mutual consent. On the same day on request of appearing counsel, learned trial Judge (Additional District Judge, Matrimonial/Cases, Jammu) referred the matter for settlement to Lok Adalal which was constituted on 27-1-2004. In acceptance of the joint request for divorce by mutual consent the Lok Adalat awarded a divorce decree while allowing custody of children to remain with respondent-father.
(2.) Aggrieved by award of Lok Adalat, the petitioner has instituted this writ petition to have the same quashed on the grounds that respondent threatened and coerced her into signing the petition for divorce by mutual consent and won over her Advocate to manage the impugned award from concerned Lok Adalat, which was bad for want of proper observance of the requirement of Section 15 of the Act, besides being incompetent for want of jurisdiction on part of Lok Adalat to take cognizance of the matter. It is also alleged that even the reference made by learned trial Judge to Lok Adalat was bad because with presentation of the allegedly consented application for divorce no dispute survived between the parties which could be referred for settlement. Materials appended with memo of petition are the copies of impugned order and statements of parties as recorded by Lok Adalat and other applications purporting to have been filed before the trial Court from time to time.
(3.) In his counter-affidavit the respondent while taking preliminary objection to maintainability of the writ petition has pleaded that the Lok Adalat is not amenable to writ jurisdiction of the High Court. Denying that respondent pressurized petitioner for filing the joint application for divorce by mutual consent he further pleaded that since their marriage had totally broken down with differences between them having aggravated to the point of no return the parties were locked in litigation, which persuaded both of them to opt for dissolution of marriage and accordingly they filed a petition for divorce by mutual consent before the trial Court, who rightly referred the matter to Lok Adalat which in exercise of its jurisdiction passed the impugned award in accordance with law. It is also alleged that petitioner has suppressed certain facts particularly the one relating to receipt of amount by her under the impugned award and had, therefore, not come to the Court with clean hands.;

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