The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned by two weeks a plea filed by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah against a Delhi High Courtorder which dismissed his challenge to the High Court circular mandating consent from both parties before a matter could be taken up for final hearing during the Court's restricted functioning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Omar had contended that his matrimonial appeal against a 2016 trial court order, which dismissed his divorce petition, has been listed for final hearing since February 2017. It was not taken up during the restricted functioning of the courts in view of COVID-19 pandemic as his estranged wife, Payal Abdullah, did not give consent to virtual proceedings.
In 2018, Abdullah had filed an application in the appeal saying that he wanted to re-marry and sought divorce on the ground that his marriage had irretrievably broken down.
Today, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the submission of Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abdullah, who stated that the other party was not giving consent for final hearing despite appearing in the Family Court physically in a related proceeding for maintenance.
Payal Abdullah's counsel had told the High Court that since the case has voluminous records, virtual hearing was not feasible.
"How can we coerce someone to give consent for physical hearing?", CJI asked Sibal.
"If he is appearing physically in another court, he cannot refuse consent", Sibal replied. He said that the respondent was trying to circumvent the HC circular.
After the brief hearing, the bench said that it will consider the matter after two weeks.