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HC Dismisses Omar Abdullah Plea Challenging Its Office Order on Final Hearing of Matters

File photo of Delhi High Court

File photo of Delhi High Court

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.

The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah's plea challenging its circular of April mandating that both parties in a case have to agree for the final hearing to be taken up early via video conferencing mode. 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. Due to the lack of cooperation by his estranged wife the matter was getting delayed, Abdullah contended.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, however, declined to grant any relief saying lack of cooperation of his estranged wife was not a ground for challenging the high court's April 26 office order. "Simply because the respondent 2 herein (Payal Abdullah) was not consenting to an early hearing, can hardly be a ground to assail the office order. The petition is dismissed as meritless," the bench said.

Omar had moved an application seeking early hearing of his appeal in July. 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.

"In view of the fact that this application is not accompanied by any consent from the other side (Payal) and nor is the counsel for the respondent present in the hearing, though we are informed that an advance copy of the application was served on him, we are not in a position to accede to the prayer made in the application," the high court had said and dismissed the application. 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.

The trial court had said that Omar could not prove his claims of "cruelty" or "desertion" which were the grounds alleged by him for grant of decree of divorce. "The petitioner (Omar) has not been able to explain a single circumstance to show that the supervening circumstances have erupted which has made it impossible for him to continue his relationship with the respondent (Payal).

"Rather, evidence shows that they were in continuous contact till the filing of the divorce petition," the trial court had said in its order, adding that "there is not an iota of evidence in regard to the circumstances which have prevailed to prompt the petitioner to file the divorce plea". It had further held that Omar "failed to prove his case for divorce on ground of cruelty".

In his plea seeking divorce, Omar had claimed before the trial court that his marriage had broken down irretrievably and he has not enjoyed a conjugal relationship since 2007 and that the couple, married on September 1, 1994, were living separately since 2009. The couple have two sons who are staying with their mother. The petition before the trial court had also alleged that Omar was subject to "unreasonable conduct" of Payal, causing pain and harassment to the politician.


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