HC Declines To Entertain Omar's Plea For Early Hearing In Divorce Case

Omar Abdullah with his estranged wife Payal - File Pic

New Delhi- The Delhi High Court Thursday declined to entertain former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's plea seeking early hearing of his appeal against a 2016 trial court order, which dismissed his divorce petition, saying his estranged wife's consent was also required for advancing the date.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad said the high court's 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 Abdullah) 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 bench said.

"The application is dismissed," it added.

Omar's lawyer told the court that the "lack of cooperation" from the other side was the reason for filing 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 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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