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Omar Abdullah Moves SC to Expedite Divorce Case As Wife's Advocate Declines Virtual Hearing in Delhi HC

File photo of NC leader and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.

File photo of NC leader and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.

The Supreme Court to hear a plea of Omar Abdullah plea challenging a Delhi HC circular of April 2020, and a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to registrar general of HC and sought the response.

As former J&K CM Omar Abdullah’s matrimonial dispute still lingers in the Delhi High Court due to his wife’s advocate not consenting to video-conferencing proceedings, the NC leader has moved Supreme Court challenging the HC circular mandating that both parties need to agree for hearing via remote mode.

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea of Abdullah plea challenging a Delhi HC circular of April 2020, and 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.

However, the apex court refused the plea for early hearing and said that the matter would be taken up in due course.

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.

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

On November 3, 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.

first published:February 19, 2021, 09:02 IST