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In India, marriage is considered to be a sanctimonious institution where two heterosexual or homosexual individuals are united in a sacred bond with each other for the purpose of procreation. Marriage in India is taken to be more that just a private affair, it includes  the families of the individuals involved in th marietal bond and thus, has societal repurcussions as well. Breakdown of marriages in the recent times is quite frequent due to the thin patience and uncompromising attitude of the individuals and thus, divorce is sought aftert by them for the same.Thus, if marriages breakdown intermittently without a proper valid reason, then the possiblity of the disruption of the familial relationships and breakdown of societal organisation becomes quite a possiblity.

For this purpose, the Indian legal system encourages the reconciliation of matrimonial disputes in the first place giving mediation a primary emphasis to provide the parties with an opportunity to save their marriages by re-establishing the lost equilibrium, if the nature and circumstances of the case so aides.This intent of the judiciary is adequately backed by legal statutes. After filing for a divorce, the parties are first referred to a mediator and if no agreement is reached between the parties, then they can move to the court.The mediator/counselor in this case is a neutral intermediary who tries to bring back the disputing spouses on the same terms and tries to move towards a mutually agreeable settlement. Mediators are generally appointed by the courts according to their qualifications required for a particular case and for this purpose, mediation centres are being setup who handle the cases in their own sweet ways.

Under section 23(2) and section 23(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act, keeping in mind the nature of the case and the circumstances governing the case, the court is directed to try for reconciliation between the parties. Under section 34(3)  and section 34(4) of the Special Marriage Act, reconciliation needs to be adopted by the courts where the nature and circumstances of the case so provides. 

Section 9 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 deals with the mandatory requirement of the family courts to try for the settlement of a case related to divorce, child custody, maintenance and other matrimionail disputes through mediation mediation, if the natutre and the circumstances of the case so assists. The section follows :

(1) The Family Court, keeping in mind the nature and circumstances governing the case, shall make an attempt in the first-instance to persuade the parties to arrive at a peaceful settlement and for this purpose, the court shall be subjected to any rules made by the High Court and follow such procedure as  the court may deem fit.

(2)The court may adjourn the proceedings of the case at any time and for any period as deems fit to it, when it appears to the court that grounds of a reasonable settement of the dispute between the parties exist, so as to allow for such settlement.

(3)The power onferred in section (2) shall be in addition and not in derogation of any other power of the Family Court to adjourn the proceedings.

Thus, matrimonial mediation is a step towards allowing the parties a chance to reconsider the dissolution of their marital union.

  • What is matrimonial mediation ?
  • Need for matrimonial mediation in India
  • Laws allowing for matrimonial mediation in India

BY : Mekhla Chakraborty

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