Press Trust of india

SC agrees to hear Omar’s plea challenging DHC circular on consent of parties

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s plea challenging a Delhi High Court circular of April, last year mandating that both parties in a case have to agree for the final hearing to be taken up early via video conferencing mode.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to registrar general of Delhi High Court and sought the response.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abdullah said that other side in the matrimonial case is not giving consent for the final hearing to be taken up early via video conferencing.  He contended that the other side has been appearing in proceedings before the trial court.

The bench told Sibal, “Can we coerce someone to give consent?” It listed the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

On November 03, last year the Delhi High Court had dismissed Abdullah’s plea challenging the April 26, 2020 circular.

Omar had contended that his matrimonial appeal against a 2016 trial court order, which dismissed his divorce petition, has not 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.

Due to the lack of cooperation by his estranged wife the matter was getting delayed, Abdullah has contended.

The High Court, while declining the plea had refused to grant any relief saying lack of cooperation of his estranged wife was not a ground for challenging the high court’s April 26, last year’s office order.

The High Court had declined to entertain it saying that its Registrar General has already issued a circular stating that during the restricted functioning of courts due to COVID-19, a request for final hearing of pending matters will be entertained only if both the parties agree.

On August 30, 2016, the trial court had dismissed Omar’s plea seeking divorce from Payal saying he had failed to prove irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

In his plea, Omar had said they were married on September 1, 1994 but living separately since 2009.

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