A city family court Mumbai has instructed a woman who has an 11-year-old son to pay Rs 50,000 after she filed a petition withdrawing the consent terms agreed upon before a judge in her divorce battle. Allowing the woman's plea to withdraw the terms, the judge, however, observed, "Repatriation from mediation settlement casually is nothing but wastage of time, skill and energy of all concerned and, therefore, warrants saddling of exemplary cost."
The wife and her husband have been estranged for a year. The order copy states that the couple was referred to a mediator with their own consent to fix the issues, and had even resolved some of their issues. The terms for divorce were agreed by the mutual consent, after individual and joint mediation sessions were held with the parties.
On 7th July, last year the husband and wife signed the consent forms which were agreed by the mutual consent and after holding the joint mediation sessions; the mediator judge informed the referral court. Both husband and wife had dealt with a number of issues that includes separate residence, lump sum alimony amount, permanent custody and access to their 11 years old son.
However, the problem arose when a month-and-a-half after signing the terms agreed by husband and wife, the woman filed a petition in court seeking to withdraw the consent terms. The husband, who had objected to this, said that the petition had been filed with the intention of forcing him to pay her more than the said amount.
After going through the consent terms, the judge, citing an instance, observed that the woman had agreed to pay for the repair of the house, if it is required. "But now, the petitioner (woman) wants to deviate and claim repair charges. This is nothing but stretching the matter in an unfair manner," the judge said.
The court further held that if the woman was not allowed to withdraw from the mediation settlement, the husband and wife would have to obtain the divorce by mutual consent, as agreed. "I do not want to force mutual consent divorce upon the petitioner and that is the only reason I am allowing her to withdraw from the consent terms," the court said.
The judge of family court said, "Mediation settlement must not be resiled casually... unless there is force or coercion. Mediation must not be taken for granted. It is an alternate dispute resolution mode recognized and executable by law."
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